Organofuel Sweden

Incubator: BizMaker


Introducing Italo Sanhueza, the Chemical Engineer, chemistry doctor and CEO of Organofuel using chemistry as a toolbox to create opportunities where others see problems.

“The incubator has been a valuable partner and mentor for us.”

Organofuel Sweden is deeptech of the week and one of the 12 winners of the 2017 ÅForsk Entrepreneurial Scholarship.

Entrepreneur: Italo Sanhueza

Company: Organofuel Sweden

Incubator: Bizmaker

Business idea:

Developing a green technology platform that allows the valorization of sustainable biomass to biofuel, biochemicals and biomaterials.


Chemistry as a toolbox

– I would say that my interdisciplinary background in chemistry and chemical engineering combined a range of international experiences makes me into to an entrepreneur with a big toolbox that helps me tackle business opportunities and challenges from many different angles. As an entrepreneur, I would also say that I like using facts as the basis of my decisions and to use solid data instead of nice words to attract clients and partners, Italo Sanhueza begins.

Italo’s source of inspiration is found in family and friends:

– It has showed me that if you work hard anything is possible regardless of your economical background.

Organofuel Sweden has developed an eco-friendly process which is highly cost efficient and flexible, enabling end-users to decide which biomaterial product they desire without negatively effecting the environment.

– The company consists of a highly motivated and internationally experienced team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs with a passion for entrepreneurship and using chemistry as a toolbox to create opportunities where others see problems and challenges. We combine over 20 years of knowledge and experience from Harvard Medical School, Yale University, ETH Zurich as well as Stockholm University, Uppsala University, KTH and Mid Sweden University.

“The chemistry of life”

The technology platform of Organofuel Sweden is based on innovations developed by Prof. Cordova and Dr. Afewerki (co-founders of Organofuel Sweden) at Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall. As scientists at Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall, an area surrounded by forest, it was natural for them to explore and investigate how this vast environmentally friendly resource could be used to develop new innovative products, Italo explains.

– In this context, while the forest industry has found good processes to transform cellulose in wood into products, lignin, which is approx. 20-30% of wood has generally been considered waste with little use other than for heat or electricity production. Given the interesting composition of lignin, Prof. Armando Córdova and Dr. Afewerki saw a great potential in using their background in green catalytic chemistry to transform lignin into high value products.

Lignin is however not a simple material to work with because of its highly complex polymeric structure.

– But, by using “the chemistry of life” as a source of inspiration, they managed to develop innovative catalytic processes that can selectively transform lignin-waste into high value products such as biofuel, biomaterial and bio-chemicals. This technology platform today represents the core of Organofuel Sweden.

Bizmaker’s making

Powered by Sundsvall based incubator Bizmaker, the team’s biggest challenges so far has been finding a good financial strategy to economically secure the patent fees of their technology, says Italo.

– The incubator has been a valuable partner and mentor for us, supporting our company in business related questions as well as educating our team in entrepreneurship.

Thanks to Bizmaker, Italo and his unique business idea got nominated to the 2017 ÅForsk Entreprenurial Scholarship, and ultimately, became one of the 12 winners.

–As a small startup company we believe that this award will help us in attracting new partners and clients and help us show the world the uniqueness of our innovations. In addition, we consider the scholarship to be a great economical support for Organofuel Sweden and will be used to boost our company’s capacity in product development, sales and patent fee management. It is a great honor to receive this prestigious Scholarship.