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Using pulsed light, that is to say a chemically clean process, to decontaminate surfaces : this is the ambition of the Sterixene start-up. The company has just moved into La Station, a business incubator.
The Sterixene start-up, created in May 2018 by Christophe Puisnel (President) and Janyce Franc (Managing Director) took up residence in June at La Station, accompanied by the BIC Innov'up.
The process is not new. Although the technology is into the public domain in 2004, it is rarely used, according to Janyce Franc, 'because the implementation of this technology requires multiple skills in microbiology, electronic, hydraulic, optic.'
The two founders have complementary backgrounds, both in industry and as head of business for him, in optical and pulsed light research at the CNRS for her, coupled with R&D experience.
“I realized that this technology could have interest for other markets,” says Janyce Franc. This process offers an interesting alternative to chemical decontamination: it allows to reach the same level of decontamination but using light. This can decontaminate viruses, moulds or bacteria.”
An economic, efficient and eco-friendly technology
This technology is an alternative to toxic solutions for different sectors of activity. In the agri-food sector, ANSES (Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail) has already validated the pulsed light process for the decontamination of bread (now decontaminated by chemical mists), eggs and whitening water for vegetables.
"Our process is more environmentally friendly because it uses light", says Janyce Franc. This technology is more economical, very compact and respects industrial cadences. There is no danger from exposure to chemicals, no storage problem, and no need to use water to rinse, which helps save natural resources.”
Another area of interest is the medical sector, where pulsed light technology could equip tunnels for decontamination from a contaminated room to a sterile room in hospitals or pharmaceutical companies.
“We have also received calls from the cosmetic sector for powders that cannot be chemically decontaminated” says the researcher.
“There are many possible applications.You can imagine treating water or air as well. This is a very promising technology in a world where chemistry does not look good,” adds Christophe Puisnel.
Two patents already submitted
The start-up has already designed the three required modules, "cooling, electronic and optical", for the integration of the decontamination process in industrial machines or the manufacture of specific machines.
"We worked on the innovation of each module, on faster maintenance, on power, on compactness and on limiting the need for natural resources, especially water for cooling, says Janyce Franc. We have submitted two patents.”
The two founders hope to launch their activity in early 2019, and thus respond to three projects for which they have already been asked.