Mathieu Flamini has revealed he’s spent the last seven years setting up a company in Italy, GF Biomedical, that is the first in the world to mass produce Levulinic Acid; a substance that can apparently replace oil in all its forms.
The 31-year-old began investing in the business with his pal Pasquale Granata when he left Arsenal for Milan in 2008 and had, until recently, kept the entire venture under wraps, not telling Arsene Wenger, his teammates or his family.
Claiming his side project has been a release from the highs and lows of professional football, Flamini told The Sun he’s proud that it provides employment to over 400 people and that he’s helping to fund ground-breaking research that could help the environment.
“GF stands for Granata-Flamini. At the start we wanted the name of the company to be Green Futures.
“For seven years I haven’t mentioned it to anyone. When I moved to Milan in 2008 I met Pasquale, who became a close friend and we always had in mind to do something together.
“I was always close to nature and concerned about environmental issues, climate change and global warming. He 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.”
“I invested a lot of money in this,” he continued. “It was a big risk. But to be successful you take risks. It was a challenge.
“We employ around 80 people in the plant and we give work in total to about 400 people. Which at a time of crisis in Italy makes me even prouder.
“There is the plant in Caserta in Italy, we have a lab there, an office in Milan with another in Holland, and we’re planning to open an office in the US soon.”
“We have researchers, chemists and other scientists, from France, Italy, Russia, Holland, Germany and Egypt. And we work closely with the famous University of Pisa — one of the most prestigious universities in Italy.
“We are pioneers. We are opening a new market. And it’s a market potentially worth £20bn. Many people tried and failed to find a way to produce LA on a break-even basis.
“Obviously, when you start something like that and you spend so much money, and where there is risk there is stress.
“To me, it was an escape. A football career is made of ups and downs. It cleared my mind and helped me to think about something different. And it was something intellectually challenging too.”
Flamini also revealed that had the project not taken off he’d have lost a significant chunk of the cash he’s earned playing football. There’s plenty more from him in the original interview here.
It’s all very impressive stuff…Arseblog News particularly like the idea of Flamini sporting a hard hat in the middle of a power plant and just screaming and pointing at people to press buttons. All the while blowing kisses at Mesut Ozil.
We’re not sure though that he’s kept the venture quite as secret as suggested. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joked in an Arsenal player video recently that Flamini, “has got a definite hold on nuclear power. I think he does deals daily…gas, eco-friendly stuff…he’s got the world on smash.”
Who knows, with a £20 billion market to take advantage of the Flamster will be very well placed to buy out Stan Kroenke in the coming years. Before that though you suspect Dick Law will be licking his lips at the chance to suggest a pay cut.