Prebona – The 3’rd generation of Silica Technology
Fundamental for the story of Prebona’s game changing technology is Professor Dr. Jan-Erik Otterstedt. He is the inventor of Prebona CompoTech™ and his experience and research on silica cover several decades and continents.
After several years in the US, Professor Otterstedt was hired in 1975 by the Swedish company EKA Nobel (previously AkzoNobel / now Nouryon) as Technical Director. New environmental legislation for the paper industry was emerging. EKA’s product portfolio for the Swedish paper industry relied on a few base chemicals, mainly lye and chlorine. Professor Otterstedt’s mission was to rejuvenate the company’s product portfolio with more environmentally friendly products and to position the company as an innovative chemical supplier to the paper industry. Based on EKA’s raw material base for silicates and Professor Otterstedt’s knowledge of silica, the development work started. The company decided to focus on silica sols for production of paper and catalysis. The result was Compozil, a silica sol for retention of pulp fiber in the process of making paper. Patent was granted in more than 20 countries and Compozil quickly became a commercial success. Nouryon is today the largest silica sol producer in the world and a reliable supplier of silica sols to Prebona.
In 1981, Professor Otterstedt was appointed Professor in Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. At Chalmers, he continued the research on the chemistry of silica and the potential of developing durable products with new and superior properties based on this unique material. His research has resulted in more than 65 scientific publications and findings can be further studied in his book Small Particles Technology (ISBN10 0306459353). Professor Otterstedt developed solutions to reinforce paints and lacquers with silica and a new process for making pigments, which was awarded Skapa innovation price in memory of Alfred Nobel.
In 2009 Professor Otterstedt started to develop the idea of functionalizing silica particles in a new way. By modifying silica sols, only a fraction of natural but often expensive atoms needed to be attached to the silica particles in order to deliver unique and superior properties in the formulations. Prebona CompoTech™ was born. The technology was patented and Prebona AB was founded in 2011 as a start-up at Ideon Science Park in Lund, which is a global hub for nano technology. After years of research Prebona was acquired by Christian Östberg who in 2015 turned it into a listed company on the Swedish Spotlight Stock Exchange which is a starting point for many innvoative companies with the potential of having a game-changing technology. The first serious sales activities started in Sweden in 2018 and the international launch in the second half of 2019. It was also in late 2019 that the new strategy/positioning as an ’ingredient brand’was introduced to companies and partners outside Sweden.