Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who has hardly featured for the Gunners this season, is leading the charge to bring an end to the use of fossil fuel. The French midfielder’s company, GF Biochemicals, announced this week that it had found a way to mass-produce levulinic acid, an organic compound that can replace oil in all of its many forms.
The 31-year-old had started the company secretly with his economist friend Pasquale Granata during his unsuccessful stint with AC Milan in Italy. Flamini invested millions of dollars in GF Biochemicals (GF stands for Granata-Flamini) and it now employs over 400 workers.
“For seven years, I haven’t mentioned it to anyone,” he told The Sun in an interview. “I was always close to nature and concerned about environmental issues, climate change and global warming. [Granata] was on the same wavelength. We were looking how we could make a contribution to the problem. After a while, we found out about levulinic acid. It’s a molecule identified by the US Department of Energy as one of the 12 molecules with the potential to replace petrol in all its forms.”
GF Biochemicals financed the research by the Milan Polytechnic and came up with the knowledge to produce levulinic acid in a cost-effective manner and on an industrial scale, and patented it.
Flamini, however, never informed his team-mates about his venture. “My Milan team-mates probably found out in our launch this week, and my Arsenal team-mates will probably find out reading this,” he said. “I don’t think [Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger knows. I never spoke to him about it. I wanted it to be all in place first, up and running and announce it when I was ready.”
In theory, GF Biochemicals’ discovery could mean an end to the use of gasoline, other biofuels and plastics. The discovery also puts the Frenchman in the lead to an industry which is valued upwards of USD30 billion.
“We are pioneers. We are opening a new market. And it’s a market potentially worth £20bn,” Flamini said.
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