RISE Winners Showcase: Celal-Mex, Tec De Monterrey

U21 RISE Awards 2023 - 'Most Impact' - Celal-Mex, Tec De Monterrey

What can you do with the waste products from a pineapple? While most of us may believe that they’re only fit for the kitchen bin, the enterprising trio behind Celal-Mex saw a very different use.

Oscar Martínez, Adolfo Vidal, and Eduardo Mendez from Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey are the bright young minds running Celal-Mez, a growing biotechnology start-up company that develops environmentally sustainable alternatives for use in the agricultural and industrial sectors.

With over 150,000 tonnes of waste created through growing pineapples a single year, the company turns a problem into a green solution, developing ways to eliminate the harmful effects and the costs of disposing of this food waste.

Celal-Mex is able to turn the by-products from pineapple growers into various compounds that can be used to form new materials, such as cellulose and starch, with many applications for other businesses, such as packaging and even auto parts.

They explain: “We work on solutions that take advantage of waste and also reuse water and chemicals to have a lower impact than traditional production while investigating new ways of development with zero waste impact.”

There are many areas the company hopes to expand its technology into, using different types of agricultural waste to create a range of sustainable bioproducts.

On being awarded ‘Most Impact’ in U21’s RISE showcase for 2023, Eduardo said: “The next steps for Celal-Mex are to continue looking for capital to build the industrial plant and bring this environmental and social impact to all of Mexico, then we will start with new sources of raw materials such as agave, banana, and papaya residues, to finally start testing the world markets and introduce these raw materials in more industries. We are grateful for the opportunity with this first capital and we will continue working to make all of this a reality.”

With the huge scope for application with their products, we look forward to seeing Celal-Mex go from strength to strength with their innovative sustainable products.

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U21’s RISE showcase introduces the brightest young student social entrepreneurs to a wider network of expertise, in order to help them grow their ideas into businesses with international impact. If you, or someone in your network, could pledge a little of your time, whether it's just five minutes or a whole day, to offer mentoring, advice, or even hands-on aid, your support can make all the difference. 

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