1. What is e2e Materials?e2e Materials
is a clean technology company in Ithaca, NY that produces petroleum-free, biodegradable composites that are stronger, lighter and cheaper than the composites filling landfills today. e2e’s proprietary composite material platform can be tuned to achieve a range of strength properties reaching into midrange steels delivering tremendous strength-to-weight ratios. These biodegradable materials are made from annually renewable resources, including soy proteins and natural fibers, such as jute, flax and kenaf. The composites contain no formaldehyde, petrochemicals or toxins and are inherently flame retardant.
Its primary market focus is safe, sustainable composites for the built environment, including furniture, cabinets, shelving, doors, wall panel systems and subflooring (all serving as a replacement for particleboard or MDF). e2e’s biocomposites are safe, sustainable, higher performing and lower weight. They contain lower embodied energy, requiring only 1/3 of the energy to produce. e2e has also developed a method to convert existing particleboard/MDF factories to its technology. Doing so in the United States would create over 15,000 green collar jobs and save over 1.6M tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, e2e worked with Comet Skateboards to demonstrate the capability of its technology by replacing epoxy, fiberglass and carbon fiber in its skateboard decks.
2. How was e2e Materials created? What relationships, university affiliations and/or collaborative efforts were involved in bringing the technology to the marketplace?
e2e Materials is a spin-out company from Cornell University, and our technology is based on the discoveries of the Netravali Research Group. It was formed within the Cornell Center for Materials Research Industrial Partnerships program – a NYSTAR-funded effort. The company maintains its strong relationship with Cornell by funding research and lecturing on sustainability at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. The company has expanded its collaboration and university involvement beyond Cornell to Syracuse University, Ithaca College, RIT, RPI, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Corning Community College, and Alfred State University.
In addition to leveraging the regional assets, several relationships were instrumental in applying the technology for commercialization.
a) e2e worked with Comet Skateboards (then of San Francisco, CA) to develop the first high-performance, green skateboard. Comet subsequently relocated to Ithaca, NY and has created a dedicated core of 4 employees and countless young members of the local community who intern and learn sustainable business philosophies.
b) The Syracuse Center of Excellence – e2e’s first LEED Platinum building installation September 2009
c) Office Furniture: e2e has worked with, and continues to work with, a top office furniture manufacturer who has collaborated on testing e2e’s composites to establish their superiority to particleboard/ MDF and is currently integrating the technology into its product line.
3. Would you briefly describe your company’s business plan?
e2e leverages its proprietary biocomposite technology to create safe, sustainable solutions for the built environment. The company has collaborated with industry and academic leaders to maximize the value of its product development while also developing high-volume processes that enable it to be cost-neutral compared to today’s toxic particleboard and MDF.
While its products define sustainability, its regionally integrated manufacturing model promises significant economic impact beyond its walls. Regionalizing the supply chain components, both of which are agricultural co-products, creates agricultural and manufacturing jobs. For example, soy protein is a co-product of soy oil processing for biodiesel or food-grade oils, which creates the opportunity for a soy processor to supply e2e its protein and sell its oil. The same holds true for our annually renewable fiber source, which also produces animal feed and biomass. Overall, the strategy dramatically reduces the miles (and related cost) that all of the components travel before being converted into products.
By balancing the regional fiber and soy supply to regional demand for e2e’s biocomposites, its regional impact model is not only a solution for upstate New York and the Northeast region but also around the country and the world. With e2e’s expertise in identifying and developing regional protein and fiber sources, its business model can enable viable solutions for growing economies, such as India and China. e2e’s ability to empower people to make products that are consumed by the communities around them is much more sustainable than exporting and transporting products that are typically beyond their economical means.
4. What is the current status of e2e Materials? In what publicly disclosed research and development efforts has e2e Materials recently been engaged?
e2e recently started shipping its biocomposite panels into select applications in the furniture, cabinetry and tradeshow booth industries. The company is working with state and local government organizations to identify and realize a high-volume production facility and the related economic impact of its green jobs.
5. Who is on the e2e Materials team?
Patrick Govang, CEO and co-Founder
Prof. Anil Netravali, CSO and co-Founder
Jason Salfi, President of Comet Skateboards
James B. Macon, Executive Vice President
6. How was e2e Materials named?
e2e stands for ‘Earth-to-Earth’, and the lower-case ‘e’s are symbolic of the minimal impact that our technology has on the planet. When we are asked what e2e means, we jokingly reply ‘compromise’. Our original name, Earth 2 Earth Materials, reminded some early investors of the phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” and they suggested we may not want to name the company something that would remind people of death – we compromised, and e2e Materials was born.