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New startup from Amorim Cork Ventures applies cork in refrigeration equipment


Innovation is based on the development of an insulated chassis for commercial refrigeration equipment using expanded cork agglomerate coated with sheet metal

Grõwancork, run by entrepreneur, Filipe Guimarães - the new startup from Amorim Cork Ventures’ business incubator – aims to revolutionise the commercial refrigeration industry with an innovative cork solution. The EIC - Easy Insulation Cork solution – is based on a chassis made of expanded cork agglomerate coated with sheet metal that can be applied in refrigeration equipment, as an ecological alternative to injected polyurethane.

Due to its composition, EIC offers many advantages over standard products, especially in environmental terms, since the type of cork used is rigorously 100% natural, recyclable, doesn’t require refrigeration equipment producers to invest in moulds (necessary for injection procedures), and maintains the same technical and dimensional characteristics over several decades - contrary to standard insulation solutions used. The latter characteristic means that Gröwancork’s solutions offer energy gains in comparison with traditional insulation solutions, which will become more relevant year after year.

In addition, the product uses an industrial process that involves low energy consumption, thereby significantly reducing ancillary costs associated to this process.

Filipe Guimarães, Gröwancork’s Managing Director says that: "After extensive market research, cork was found to be the best material to apply in this type of commercial refrigeration chassis. It simplifies the production process, which has hitherto been too complex, thereby delivering associated savings, and also meets this industry’s technical requirements, with the added value of being ecological. "

The refrigeration market now has a definitive insulation solution, since it is 100% ecological and infinitely recyclable, and its application does not require any legislative change, since it meets the most stringent environmental sustainability criteria.

Although this startup was only launched recently, the EIC solution has already been incorporated in the refrigeration equipment of leading organizations such as: Galeries Lafayette, Akiko, E.Leclerc, Carrefour, Airbus, among others. Choice of the solution was decisively influenced by Gröwancork's ability to provide a chassis solution that is ready to be used in production of the equipment, thereby eliminating this process from the industry in question or greatly reducing it.

Amorim Cork Ventures has joined forces with Filipe Guimarães, Domingos Silva and Pedro Rodrigues - the entrepreneurs responsible for the project - who have several decades of experience in the design and production of refrigeration equipment, providing them with a privileged perception of this market and the requirements of Gröwancork's existing customers.

Nuno Barroca, Corticeira Amorim’s director, points out that: “This is the third startup from Amorim Cork Ventures to begin trading in the market. Once again, this is a completely disruptive business venture. In the wake of ASPORTUGUESAS and the SUGO CORK RUGS collection, we’re now presenting a technical solution for industrial refrigeration chassis. All these startups share in common the use of cork as a differentiating element, in order to build a business that has major export potential.” He adds that “In our opinion Grõwancork combines all the attributes of a business activity with major future potential, since it makes a commitment to natural materials, is produced with low energy costs, and offers excellent technical performance in its field of ​​operation.”

The Grõwancork range aims to cover the entire commercial refrigeration industry, i.e. large-scale manufacturers of heated and refrigerated display cases, murals and semi-murals, refrigerated and heated display cabinets, refrigeration and ventilation plants, especially in the HORECA channel, and large-scale and medium-scale food distribution outlets.

The company currently aims to increase its presence in the Portuguese market, while also targeting the priority markets of Spain, France, Italy and Germany.

Gröwancork already complies with the new EU Regulation (EU No. 517/2014), which aims to protect the environment by reducing emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases, according to which all foams containing HFCs with a GWP of 150 or greater shall be prohibited from January 1, 2023 onwards.

The company was incorporated at the end of July 2016, after submitting a proposal to Amorim Cork Ventures. The project went through an incubation period, followed by an investment in the company's industrial facilities in Guimarães, and also obtained funding from the Portugal 2020 programme.