Ecologically friendly cleaning products made by Skolkovo resident BioMicroGel have gone on sale in Perekryostok supermarkets across Russia after the innovative startup signed a contract with X5 Retail Group, one of the country’s biggest retail chains.

BioMicroGel's products are made from natural products such as apple pulp and timber. Screenshot:

The Yekaterinburg-based company’s patented eco washing up liquids, floor cleaner and other household products are now on sale in 25 supermarkets in 11 regions of Russia, including Moscow, the Moscow region, and the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Khanty-Mansiisk regions.

“Our company discovered a way to use cheap raw materials to make substances that medics use to transport medicines inside an organism, which can be used remove oil and other impurities from clean water and hard surfaces,” said Andrei Elagin, CEO of BioMicroGel, a resident startup of the Skolkovo Foundation’s energy-efficient technologies cluster.

The biomicrogels are obtained from pectin, a heteropolysaccharide found in some fruit, including apples, and from cellulose, an organic polymer found in plants, he explained. Despite their natural origins, laboratory tests have shown that BioMicroGel’s products can be used as an effective replacement for more aggressive cleaning products, said Elagin.

The market for ecologically friendly cleaning products in Russia is estimated at about 9 billion rubles ($160 million).

Prior to the agreement with X5, BioMicroGel’s range was only available in regional retail chains, predominantly in the Urals.

Ruslan Agishev, a senior project manager within the Skolkovo Foundation’s energy-efficient technologies cluster, said he was pleased that the startup had used the instruments of support available to Skolkovo residents to create a ready product and launch it first on the regional market, and then on the national market.

“We hope our colleagues won’t stop here, but will continue to upscale their business, including on an international level,” said Agishev, noting that the company has won multiple prizes in both Russian and international competitions.

The market for ecologically friendly cleaning products in Russia is worth about 9 billion rubles ($160 million), according to the startup, and demand for such products already significantly outstrips supplies made by Russian producers.

BioMicroGel makes its products in its home city of Yekaterinburg. It is currently awaiting the construction of new manufacturing space at the Universitetsky Technopark, a regional partner of the Skolkovo Technopark, from where it plans to increase production.

Cleaning products are far from the only use for BioMicroGel’s innovative coagulants: they can also be used to clear up oil spills. They can transform oil products dissolved in water into a gel, preventing the spill from spreading, and allowing it to be removed from the contaminated water.

The company also provides turnkey water purification and treatment installations. BioMicroGel, which has a representative office in the U.K., has more than 20 patents in 19 countries, including the U.S., Canada, the EU, India and China.