The equity-free funding will help MiAlgae to develop its product which uses circular economy principles to produce microalgae rich in omega-3 oils from industrial waste water from the whisky industry in Scotland. This reduces the environmental impact of the distilleries, while simultaneously producing valuable nutrients, and a source of sustainable feedstock for the fish farming industry, at affordable prices.
Having already won a £5,000 (US $6,700) Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award, Douglas Martin welcomes the total £30,000 (US $40,600) funding boost from Shell LiveWIRE and the impact it will have on his business, saying, “Being named as the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year is such an exciting moment for MiAlgae. The £30,000 comes at a crucial moment and will allow us to further develop our technology and reach our goal of getting MiAlgae to commercial scale.”
The Shell Enterprise Development Awards brought together the national finalists from both Shell LiveWIRE UK and the Shell Springboard programmes. Shell Springboard helps SMEs with commercially-proven business models that reduce carbon emissions to take their businesses to the next level. Seawater Greenhouse was named the Shell Springboard National Winner and received a total of £150,000 (US $203,000) to support the commercialisation of its ‘cool house’ technology that evaporates sea water to create a cool and humid microclimate in which to grow crops in arid coastal environments around the world.
Speaking at the awards, at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, Sinead Lynch, Chair of Shell UK said, “Seawater Greenhouse and MiAlgae are two of Britain’s brightest, most promising innovations to support a more sustainable, low-carbon world.
“Around 90% of all businesses in the UK’s low-carbon sector are SMEs and providing equity-free funding through Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard can be the difference between make or break for some of these companies.”
Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the Springboard judging panel said, “Seawater Greenhouse and MiAlgae are incredibly impressive businesses, and I have no doubt of their potential to thrive and make a significant contribution to the energy transition.”
Five other finalists for the young entrepreneur prize included: Josh Burton of DSR firm Metronome Energy; Adam Dixon of farm tech firm Phytoponics; Henrik Hagemann of wastewater cleaning innovator CustoMem; Karina Sudenyte, of waste fruit drink manufacturer Wonky Drinks; and Hugo Tilmouth from exchangeable power charger start-up ChargedUp.
The judges for the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year were: Jane Pritchard, Enterprise and Culture Director, BITC and Chair of the judges; Ana Avaliani, Head of Enterprise, Royal Academy of Engineering; Carlton Cummins, Co-founder of Aceleron; and, Vicky Boiten-Lee, General Manager Fuels Marketing and Pricing, Shell.
Since winning the Shell LiveWIRE UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year title in May, MiAlgae has secured additional funding worth £600,000 which will be used to grow staff numbers from two to five, expand its production capacity 30-fold and to build a pilot plant for its technology at a whisky distillery.