Carbon capture innovator wins UK's Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Aug 01, 2016
Tom Robinson of Adaptavate has scooped £25,000 (US $35,400) in start-up funding for his innovative bio-based building material Breathaboard which locks carbon into the fabric of buildings, helping to mitigate CO2 driven climate change.
Having already won £5,000 (US $7,000) through Shell LiveWIRE's Smarter Future Programme, Tom has now secured a total of £30,000 (US $42,500) through Shell LiveWIRE to take his business to the next level.
Whilst initially working as a builder, Tom saw large quantities of hazardous plasterboard waste going to landfill. He also saw the problem in many houses of condensation leading to mouldy walls and ceilings. His solution, devised later while studying for an MSc, was the development of Breathaboard, which is made of 75% plant matter, and is a high-performing, bio-composite alternative to conventional plasterboard. It is called Breathaboard because it effectively 'breathes' with the people in the building and therefore passively regulates the internal environment – reducing the risk of condensation and mould growth – helping to create healthy people in healthy buildings. It has twice the thermal performance of plasterboard, and locks down carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in the fabric of the building. Also, the material is designed to be energy-efficient in-use and is a source of nutrients, not pollutants at the end of its life.
Commenting on his latest Shell LiveWIRE award, Tom said, "Winning the Shell LiveWIRE title is a fantastic endorsement of our business. We are looking forward to getting our high performing bio-composite materials off the ground, and the award gives us the financial support and credibility boost to make these plans a reality.”
A special award of £5,000 voted for by Shell staff, and called the 'Shell Staff Inspiration Award', went to Solveiga Pakštaitė, the founder of Design By Sol, who has created a bio-reactive food expiry label, called Bump Mark, which is designed to indicate the freshness of food inside its packaging. Using gelatine to model the decay process of food, Bump Mark is able to indicate how fresh the food inside the package actually is, simply by running one's finger over the label. Bump Mark's cost-effective food waste-reducing technology is a novel and standard-defining solution.
Operational since 1982, Shell LiveWIRE is one of two Enterprise Development programmes run by Shell to support a flourishing culture of UK enterprise and to inspire entrepreneurs to innovate and provide real solutions to today's energy and resource challenges. While Shell LiveWIRE is aimed at young entrepreneurs looking to translate their ideas into a start-up business, Shell Springboard helps SMEs with commercially-proven business models that reduce carbon emissions to take their businesses to the next level.
The Shell Enterprise Development Awards brought together the national finalists from both Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard programmes. C-Capture was named the Shell Springboard National Winner and received an award of £150,000 (US $212,000) for its clean energy technology which captures CO2 emissions.
Shell UK Chairman, Erik Bonino said, "Many congratulations to our Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard winners! The Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner, Tom Robinson of Adaptavate, and Shell Springboard National Winner, C-Capture, are inspiring examples of how combining bright ideas with an entrepreneurial approach can help us meet the UK's low carbon challenge, without compromising our economic prosperity."
I hope that the financial awards, marketing support and access to some of the key players in the low carbon and investment communities they will have access to through Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard will go a long way in helping our winners - and other UK innovators - to start-up and scale-up their businesses.”
The judges of the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, comprising leading experts in the sustainability and enterprise sectors, were: Jane Pritchard, Enterprise Director, Business in the Community; Prof Erkko Autio, Chair in Technology Venturing and Entrepreneurship, Imperial College London Business School; Daniel Murray, 2014 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Founder of Grabble; and, Alex Sleigh, Investment Director, London Business Angels.
The other finalists in the 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards were:
Filamentive: a sustainable 3D printing material brand converting plastic waste into 3D printing filament.
Entomics: pioneering the transformation of food waste into sustainable sources of fuel for plants, animals and vehicles with the help of insects.
Universal Resource Trading: a profit share scheme to help universities dispose of unwanted equipment in a sustainable way.
Edible Bug Farm: produces edible insects as an alternative solution to the global food security problem.