Start Up enters the next round

Kofo scientist raises 1.26 million euros in funding

March 27, 2024

Dr. Özgül Agbaba is on the road to success with her start-up "MechSyn". The business idea is to implement mechanochemistry in industrial processes. Özgül Agbaba recently raised more than 1.26 million euros in funding for her young company. The team is now entering the next exciting phase. 

Dr. Özgül Agbaba and her start-up company, which she launched together with colleagues from the MPI für Kohlenforschung, have successfully raised more than 1.26 million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Economics' Exist research transfer program. The next exciting phase is now beginning for the young "MechSyn" team.

"MechSyn" deals with mechanochemistry, for instance performing chemical reactions in ball mills. Solid starting materials are filled into a mill, which then begins to rotate or shake. Additional reagents can then be added to the container in gaseous form. Then something special happens with the help of the balls: Reactions that normally require high temperatures and high pressure take place at room temperature and normal pressure. This approach is scientifically exciting and interesting for economic reasons. Lower temperatures mean lower costs and the elimination of fossil raw materials. Additionally, the solid-state synthesis methods we offer do not require any solvent usage, ensuring environmentally clean synthesis procedures.

"We have continued our studies on scale-up in the laboratory, tested various machines for this purpose and networked at various trade fairs and workshops," explains the young scientist Özgül Agbaba. The team is now working on expanding the material portfolio to the quantities relevant for industry and finding applications and customers for these materials. "We want to tackle the current very energy-intensive processes and transform them into more sustainable and environmentally friendly ones," says Agbaba.

Featured in the media

Since applying for the funding, MechSyn has already been featured in newspapers and social media. Agbaba reports that several people have already come forward who are interested in the project. "The approach we want to use is mechanochemistry, and it has already attracted the interest of many scientific groups." She is convinced that with MechSyn "interest will also increase in industry".

During the period of the funding, the team will be operating at the MPI KOFO. "However, we will soon be looking for a campus to set up the production facility, preferably near a university or institute where we can use analysis and characterization equipment and collaborate on various projects," explains Agbaba. Alternatively, the company is also interested in renting an abandoned factory in order to bring new life into this location. In addition, the team is looking for a new colleague with experience in mechanochemistry.

For Özgül Agbaba personally, this is an exciting time: "I am personally driven by the desire to make the greatest possible contribution to society, and I believe that founding a spin-off company could offer me a platform to do just that.” She has thought for a long time about founding a company in which the voice of all contributors is heard and respected. "I will do my best to encourage the founding team to embrace the concept of democracy in the workplace, where we empower our employees to actively participate in decision-making processes."

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