Antofénol – a team committed to a greener tomorrow
26 January 2023
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Antofénol – a team committed to a greener tomorrow
At Antofénol, we have a profound respect for the environment and innovation built into our DNA. As the creators of eco-extraction, we are now taking the next step and industrialising our chemical-solvent-free process on a large scale. We are about to begin construction of a new building. We are continuing our commitment to ecological transition in the town of Le Thor in the Vaucluse region. Come with us to our new zero-waste factory, where we will continue our mission of procuring the best that nature has to offer.
The Saint-Joseph Ecopark in Le Thor is the installation site for Antofénol’s new eco-extraction tanks. And the site wasn’t chosen at random. With the support of Vaucluse Provence Attractivité, our company was able to find the ideal location for industrialising our eco-extraction process. The two plots of approximately 4,500 m² each will accommodate our new factory of over 6,000 m² which will be used exclusively for our unique technology. But why did we decide to set up in this area? Even if it was the view of Mont Ventoux that finally won over our CEO, Fanny Rolet, she also recognised that this location offered considerable advantages for Antofénol’s future development.
Investing in a wine region was the primary criterion when looking for a location. There is no shortage of wineries in the Vaucluse region and this concentration of winegrowers ensures a sustainable and ecological supply of the raw material for one of our flagship eco-extraction products, antoferine. The cuttings generated by pruning the vines represent 86,000 tonnes of potential raw material, only a short distance from the factory, forming a planet-friendly supply chain.
The Vaucluse region has a thriving plant processing ecosystem. Located in the heart of a major production area for aromatic plants, the region provides a dynamic and supportive environment for our laboratories’ activities. In addition, it offers specialised training in biotechnology, which will create a pool of potential applicants for future recruitment drives. Antofénol will thus benefit from Southern France’s considerable appeal in order to expand its workforce.
Construction is expected to start during the second quarter of 2023, with completion scheduled for the second half of 2024.
Driven by our commitment to the planet and our passion for conserving resources, we wanted to make our factory as environmentally-friendly as possible. And we have achieved our goal. The Antofénol factory in Le Thor will be a shining example of environmentally-friendly production on an industrial scale.
We have designed the production factory based primarily on a circular economy model. We will use the residues from the eco-extraction process to generate energy that will be directly reinvested into powering production. This will enable us to recycle up to 97% of the eco-extraction waste, with the aim of achieving zero waste in the future.
Using new materials and drawing on natural resources for construction? This is neither the philosophy nor the intention of Antofénol. Therefore, we will use recycled concrete to build our new building in the Vaucluse region. Once again, waste will be minimised, resulting in a decidedly green and low-carbon factory.
We could not imagine using fossil fuels to heat our factory. So we have invested €1 million to ensure that our clean and environmentally-friendly factory is equipped with a biomass boiler, which emits very little CO². This involves organic materials, most often from forest exploitation (sawdust, shavings, etc.) or agriculture (straw, etc.). It will enable us to exploit the co-products from the farms, in perfect alignment with our activities.
We have planned and designed our factory in Le Thor to be a true example of industrial production that is committed to CSR and to a circular economy that is compatible with a profound respect for nature and its resources.
We wanted the equipment and staff to be in line with what drives us on a daily basis: drawing the most precious elements from nature, without disturbing it. Our unique and innovative eco-extraction process enables us to extract useful compounds that will become the functional ingredients of our customers’ products in less than an hour. By combining three actions (microwaves, agitation and vacuum) in the same machine, we are able to release the useful substances once the plant cell fibre has been broken down. We then isolate and classify them before they yield their full benefits in the final products. This process allows us to work closely with the agricultural, cosmetic and food sectors.
To run our factory and achieve our production and zero-waste goals, our 16 m high buildings will house a vigorous research and development department. It will consist of:
In order to produce up to 2 tons of eco-extraction products per day, the factory will initially operate 4 eco-extraction tanks of 3700 L each, rising to 8 in the future, and an atomiser with a capacity of 150 L/h. Between 12,000 and 14,000 tonnes of plant co-products will be able to be processed there each year. We have designed our facilities to easily cope with doubling the production.
Staff recruitment will enable the business to be launched in 2024 with 24 new employees. Eventually, no fewer than 50 to 80 employees will work at the factory, organising the production of our eco-extraction formulations.
In order to finance the construction of our new factory, we have teamed up with partners and investors who are just as committed as we are to the great project of ecological transition. Initially, it was beyond France’s borders that Fanny Rolet, our founder, was able to convince people about her ambitious and innovative project. As a 2019 recipient of the EIC Accelerator Pilot, this European programme enabled her to secure a €2 million grant.
In 2021, we managed to raise €7.3 million from the French Deposit and Consignment Office (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation or CDC), the European Commission’s EIC and EIT programme and industrial partners.
Antofénol was then successful in the national call for proposals for the “Plan de Relance pour l’industrie – secteurs stratégiques” (Recovery plan for Industry – Strategic Sectors). With the support of the Vaucluse prefecture and the French government’s economic services, as well as that of the South Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and local partners, we have received €6.8 million in aid, which represents more than 15% of the total investment and is the largest amount granted to date.
In 2022, we also welcomed Demeter IM into our capital, via its VitiRev Innovation Fund, enabling the original Business Angels to make a positive departure.
Our CEO, Fanny Rolet, explains:
Demeter IM is the first VC fund to join the Antofénol adventure. Their experience in investing in young companies with industrial ambitions will enable Antofénol to consolidate the next stages of its development. The nature of the VitiRev Innovation Fund, involving pioneering wineries, shows the desire of the agricultural world to adapt to the societal and environmental issues of tomorrow. As a major stakeholder in private equity for the ecological transition, Demeter IM is rooting Antofénol’s approach into a tangible reality for other stakeholders in society who wish to offer a sustainable agricultural future by developing biocontrol products.
In order to complete our budget, a new fundraising drive for €20-25 million is currently being put in place.
Assisted and supported in our ambitions, it will be our turn in the future to support the agricultural, cosmetics and food sectors on an industrial scale. Being able to offer potent, effective and natural functional ingredients to our customers, while at the same time being profoundly respectful of nature, will be a key milestone in our mission.
26 January 2023
23 November 2022