New process to preserve flowers

NL: € 300,000 start-up capital for Longbloom

Longbloom received an investment of € 300,000 from the UNIIQ fund of InnovationQuarter to scale up their innovative technology for the production of long-lasting (preserved) flowers to industrial level. The investment was announced by Deputy Adri Bom-Lemstra of the Provincial Executive of South Holland during the international food & agri conference ERIAFF in The Hague.


From left: Deputy Adri Bom-Lemstra of the Provincial Executive of South Holland, Adriaan Meewisse (Longbloom)

Years of pleasure from flowers
Long-lasting flowers, also known as preserved flowers, are fresh flowers that, by special treatment, remain of good quality for a minimum of a few months up to as long as a few years. Globally the market for these flowers is growing strongly. Preserved flowers are no longer sold only to companies (such as flower arrangements in hotels, for shop windows of department stores or for conference rooms), but increasingly to consumers, especially in countries where fresh cut flowers are expensive.

The current production of preserved flowers is done in a very inefficient way, which is also very harmful to the environment. The current method is also not suitable for the preservation of delicate flowers. The focus is therefore on the preservation of roses, that have a strong structure.

Longbloom has developed a patented process to preserve flowers in a more efficient and cleaner manner than with the existing techniques. This process will be carried out at Longbloom's location in Bleiswijk, The Netherlands, to preserve locally procured flowers and selling them to flower traders.

Preservation of the flowers is done in two steps. The first step is the withdrawal of water from the cells of the flower. The second step is the insertion of wax into the cells, which replaces the water, so that the flower is not lost. The most important innovation of Longbloom is the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) as a solvent for the wax. By using this solvent, the wax is put into the flower in a few hours. This is many times more efficient than current techniques, where flowers are placed in baths with wax for one to two weeks. Longbloom uses 'waste' CO2 that is released from the port of Rotterdam. Its usage contributes to the environmentally friendly nature of the company.

With its innovative process, Longbloom is even able to preserve all sorts of delicate flowers, such as gerberas, orchids and peonies. The market is excited for new kinds of preserved flowers. The availability of these flowers will give a strong impulse to the market.



Future market leader
Adriaan Meewisse, director of Longbloom: "Research in collaboration with the University of Groningen and TU Delft has shown that the technology is working in a laboratory. Now we have to upgrade to market production. This is where we are going to use UNIIQ's investment for.

The infrastructure in South Holland is ideal for preserving flowers with our technology. The diversity of flowers cultivated here is unique in the world. The largest trading companies come from this region and have access to all markets worldwide, which enables us to sell our preserved flowers through these channels. In addition, the quality of these flowers is also the absolute best. This makes them the perfect base for our process.

“Rabobank Zuid-Holland Midden also supports us through a contribution from their innovation fund. Our goal is to become a world leader in this market by delivering the best quality of all kinds of preserved flowers, of course at competitive prices."

"The financing of UNIIQ enables the company to take the next step towards their ambition to become a market leader," according to Liduina Hammer, Fund Manager UNIIQ. "This company is a great addition in a region that is strongly positioned around the flower sector."


Source: innovationquarter.nl

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