Valais-based start-up UHCS is developing modular housing made from recycled plastic waste. The first functional house prototype has been built, and the creation of a pilot plant is planned.
Based at the Energypolis Campus in Sion (canton of Valais), start-up UHCS (for Ustinov Hoffmann Construction System) has been working for several months on the housing of the future. According to its co-founder Alexandre Micheloud, “UHCS exists for two main reasons: the lack of safe and affordable housing as well as the plastic waste crisis, many tons of which end up in the oceans.”
The start-up is developing a composite material, made from HDPE-type plastics. This plastic comes from used bottles and flasks. UHCS buys recycled shreds, cold washes them and filters them. These shreds are then mixed with some additives and shaped into Lego-style bricks.
“The final material is highly fire resistant and has a structural capacity in accordance with SIA standards.” It is extruded and assembled in order to make custom homes and buildings, which can be up to 50 square meters in size. This innovative idea should provide affordable housing while reducing the plastic crisis. “Our idea is to license this product in countries where the plastic crisis is the most severe. This will allow us to create jobs locally, as close as possible to the pollution”, explains Alexandre Micheloud.
A first round of financing and a manufacturing plant to follow
The first plastic house prototype has already been assembled. UHCS offers a skeleton structure, which is then customized according to the customer’s needs. “The goal is to create individual houses, but also schools or other administrative buildings, as needed.”
The start-up is currently in the technical and strategic consolidation phase. “In the long term, we are aiming to raise our first funds and to set up a pilot plant. This will allow us to build test houses in Europe, even if the main potential of our product lies in the so-called emerging countries.”