San Diego Loves Green | By Roy L Hales | Saturday, April 20, 2013
After six years of development, San Diego based Noble Environmental Technologies (NET)seems on the verge of taking off. Robert Noble, founder and CEO of NET collaborated with the Forest Products Laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture to create ECOR®. They have reached over to Europe, where Noble Environmental Europe AG (NEEU), a subsidiary company, was recently launched in Zug, Switzerland, and a plant in Serbia is expected to go into production later this year. They have been talking to Ikea, where, Rene Haüsler NEEU CEO was CEO for more than 30 years, and have big hopes for future co-operation. There are also talks with potential business partners in Brazil, China and Korea.
This is one of the many ECOR® signs produced for Whole Foods by Noble Environmental Technologies.
“This is such an exciting time of growth and discovery for us,” the lady who answered the phone said. “I hope you are able to catch a little of our buzz.” She passed me over to Darlene Cossio, who handles press inquiries.
Ms. Cossio said, “I am excited about what we are doing for the environment. We are recycling cellulose waste into almost any commodity. This is something everyone should be looking at.”
The COO, James Torti, was more explicit. Cellulose is one of the most widely found compounds in the plant kingdom. It is found in corn, cotton, residual agricultural fibers, green plants, algae, paper, wood, cardboard and even cow pies!
ECOR used on the set of “Raising Hope”
The company produces ECOR® in 2′ x 8’ panels that have three times the strength to weight ratio of commonly used building materials like particleboard, plywood and MDF. Anything you would use with traditional wood or other panel products works well with ECOR®. In fact, all kinds of textured finishes, plasters, fiberglass, stains, printing, films and all colors and types of paints bind extremely well with ECOR®.
It has been used for the set of 20th Century Fox’s “Raising Hope”, a lightweight portable stage for Microsoft (top of page) and internal partitions for Google’s San Jose office. ECOR® was even used to makemade eyeglasses for David Davis of KUSI usi TV’s “Good Morning San Diego.”
“There are literally thousands of possible applications,” Torti said. “When we meet with potential partners, they bring the expertise from their particular fields and we bring our technology.”
He spoke quickly, his voice full of passion and ideas. It did not matter that it was past 11 p.m. in Michigan, where Torti was on a business trip.
“We have a disruptive technology,” he said. “We have the opportunity to change the way people do things.”
Torti admitted there are still limitations. Though they are developing higher strength, more durable products, ECOR® is currently an interior product used for non-structural applications.
ECOR® is currently an interior product used for non-structural applications. ECOR® can be coated to be waterproof and also has a Class 1/A Fire Rating. The company is researching & developing new versions of ECOR®, which utilize water soluble, non-toxic fireproof coatings. Similarly, they have worked with the Department of Defense to produce a resin-impregnated, 100% waterproof (submergible) prototype that is even 4X stronger than standard ECOR®.
ECOR® is Nature’s composite and may be the principal building material of the future.
They are building the infrastructure to produce ECOR® on a massive scale. For the time being at least, more conventional building materials are safe and ECOR® remains a specialty item.
But what about five years from now?