The founders of UltraCell Insulation LLC started the Company in January 2013 with a determination to produce the very best cellulose insulation the industry has ever seen. Now, after important breakthroughs in material science, and after two rounds of pilot production, the product is nearly ready for introduction in 2017. The UltraCell team is currently focused on standing up its 3M-bag-per-year manufacturing facility in Buffalo, NY, on final refinement and tuning of its manufacturing process, and on final negotiations with the Company’s distribution partners, before launching UltraCell with the fanfare it deserves.
With early funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2014, and with research grants from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the National Science Foundation in 2015, the Company went on to attract venture funding in 2015 from investors who are active in the “clean tech” sector. The company received investments from the Boston Harbor Angels, Rochester Angels, Walnut Venture Associates and is backed by the Clean Energy Venture Group.
The Company engaged leading EPCM firm, KSH-DEI, for plant engineering, procurement and construction management. The Company also brought in Great Lakes Environmental Services Inc. as environmental and permitting consultant. UltraCell partnered with the Greenpac Mill in Niagara Falls, NY to obtain clean fiber to feed its manufacturing process. UltraCell blends fiber from pulped recycled cardboard with fiber from other clean paper feedstocks. Greenpac is North America’s largest and cleanest pulper of recycled cardboard, and also gives UltraCell the benefit of its enormous buying power in paper commodity markets.
The Company’s founders believe this is a good time to enter the insulation business. Driven by a rebound in construction, and by new building codes that promote green energy efficiency, the market for thermal building insulation is growing rapidly. The fastest growing segment is cellulose insulation, growing at 15% per year. But a looming crisis faces the cellulose insulation industry. The industry currently relies on recycled newspaper as its primary feedstock, and good-quality supplies of newspaper feedstocks are declining rapidly as more and more people get their news on line. By turning to pulped recycled cardboard as its primary feedstock, and with application of its patented “wet” manufacturing process, UltraCell can produce a better product than traditional vendors, and with no feedstock supply constraints.