Nanotech company Melodea of Rehovot, Israel, won the Nanotechnology Innovation of the Year Award at the recent NanoIsrael 2016 conference in Tel Aviv.

Featured last year by ISRAEL21c, Melodea developed a cost-effective proprietary technology to extract nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC) from side streams of the paper industry and wood pulp.

Considered a green and safe alternative to fossil oil-based materials, NCC is an abundant, renewable product made from paper industry waste. In Europe alone, 11 million tons of such waste is produced annually.

Melodea develops unique technologies for producing NCC-based materials such as high oxygen barrier films for packaging, additives for packaging materials, water-based adhesives, paints and eco-friendly foams for composites, transportation and construction.

Future uses of NCC are expected to include high-performance reinforcing materials, biodegradable plastic bags and textiles; electrically conductive paper; new drug-delivery technologies; and transparent flexible displays.

Melodea was founded by Prof. Oded Shoseyov and Dr. Shaul Lapidot of the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem together with Tord Gustafsson, a Swedish industrialist and expert in the composites industry, as a spin-off of Yissum, the university’s technology-transfer company.

Melodea has a strategic collaboration with Holmen, a leading Swedish manufacturer in the forest sector. The launch of Europe’s first NCC pilot facility, located in Sweden and based on the Melodea’s technology, is expected by the end of 2016.