- Press Release
BFH spin-off NaturLoop launches Cocoboard®
22.03.2021 Producing inexpensive and sustainable furniture and construction materials from coconut fibres. This was the goal of a research project launched in 2014 at the Institute for Materials and Wood Technology IWH at Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH. Six years and countless successes later, former students have founded the BFH spin-off NaturLoop and are launching their first product, called Cocoboard®.
Domestic furniture and construction materials are difficult to find in the Philippines. However, fibres from coconut husks are available in large quantities as a residual product of the coconut industry. The recently founded BFH spin-off NaturLoop is seeking to manufacture eco-friendly construction boards from the harvest residues of coconut production.
From master’s student to company founder
‘Cocoboard® provides a sustainable, inexpensive and local alternative to conventional furniture and construction materials’, explained Michail Kyriazopoulos, NaturLoop CTO and co-founder. Since 2014, the former BFH master’s student in Wood Technology has been working as part of a research project to develop eco-friendly technology for manufacturing coconut boards. Prof. Dr Frédéric Pichelin, Head of the Institute for Materials and Wood Technology IWH, is delighted that the findings obtained are now being taken to the next stage as part of a BFH spin-off by a former student and research associate. ‘We actively encourage and support students to found spin-offs and to achieve their visions and goals’, indicated Pichelin.
The BFH spin-off has already enjoyed much success in its brief history. The former research project was supported by the BRIDGE Proof of Concept funding programme and also received start-up coaching from Innosuisse. In addition, NaturLoop won Venture Kick financial and entrepreneurial support in summer 2020 while also receiving funding from Switzerland Innovation Tech4Impact in the same year.
The interdependency of nature and humans
The next step is the opening of a production plant in the Philippines for the manufacture of Cocoboard® on an industrial scale. ‘As a technology service provider, we want complete solutions for the development of sustainable, natural bio-composites made from agricultural by-products’, remarked Daniel Dinizo, CEO and co-founder of NaturLoop. This should make the Philippines less dependent on imported wood-based panels in future and well positioned to manufacture its own materials independently, locally and sustainably. The sale of harvest residues will also increase the prosperity of local coconut farmers. ‘Sustainability means taking account of the interdependency of nature and humans’, said Daniel Dinizo. ‘At NaturLoop we see a future where both are in harmony.’