CuanTec is a circular economy business based in Scotland.

The business will convert shellfish waste into chitin, a natural, 100% compostable biopolymer. Today, shellfish waste creates serious environmental damage; it is either sent to landfills or incinerated. As a result, this otherwise unused waste stream emits tonnes of damaging CO2 into the environment.

CuanTec uses a novel, unique, and scientifically proven method to process this shellfish waste in an environmentally friendly way. The product is high-quality, ultra-pure chitin. CuanTec’s chitin extraction process uses 66% less electricity than traditional chitin extraction.

Chitin has a wide range of applications in the medicine, cosmetic and food industries, and can be further processed to chitosan which has slightly different properties and, as a result, different additional applications.

CuanTec’s products can also be converted into films and coatings to act as alternatives to fossil-fuel based plastics that are 100% biodegradable and have significantly reduced impacts on the planet. CuanTec’s packaging alternatives are not only superior due to their green credentials, but also have natural antimicrobial properties. This antimicrobial activity helps to prevent and stop unwanted bacterial and fungal growth and can therefore help extend the shelf-life of food.

In early 2022, Hive acquired majority shares in CuanTec.

CuanTec is one of our Hive Ventures circular economy investments. These investments also allow us to make a measurable carbon-negative difference. Likewise, by investing in sustainable businesses, we support our mission to drive positive change. The outcome of our investments is green products to replace fossil-fuel alternatives. So this partnership is an important step forward for Hive and the green energy sector to reduce the impact of climate change.

CuanTec are currently well on their way to commence production of chitin and chitosan in Q2 2024, working in partnership with Hive but also closely alongside their other partners and investors, including the University of Strathclyde and Scottish Enterprise. Their plans for the future include scaling globally to utilise more of the vast amounts of shellfish and crustacean waste produced, as well as continuing to make use of their scientific expertise for product development activities.

Nafici Environmental Reseach


DBG Bioenergy