Improving resource and energy efficiency in foundation industries

Workers talking in steel forge

15 innovative new projects announced today to improve resource and energy efficiency in UK’s foundation industry companies and supply chains.

These projects have secured funding of £1.2 million from the transforming foundation industries challenge.

They will focus on resource or energy efficiency in the foundation industries or their immediate supply chains. This will help companies to adapt and prosper in response to their customer’s increasing demands for more sustainable products.

Competition delivery

The competition, delivered by Innovate UK, ran in two strands with the aim to improve the competitiveness of the foundation industry sector by helping it to become more environmentally sustainable.

Strand one of the competition aimed at smaller companies who had realised that they needed to develop new technology, but who may not have previously considered applying for Innovate UK support.

In this category, 12 companies have been awarded grants for projects of up to £75,000.

In addition, three applicants to strand two have been awarded grants for projects of up to £250,000 to undertake larger collaborative cross-sector innovation projects.

Some of the projects being funded are exploring incremental improvements in product or process design. However, others could just be the beginning of something bigger, innovative or that challenges the status quo.

Support from the knowledge transfer network (KTN)

Jafar Daji, Technical Manager, Parkinson-Spencer Refractories Ltd said:

Parkinson-Spencer’s Refractories production is energy intensive so faces many challenges that are common across the foundation industries.

As part of our business strategy, we see the need to support the decarbonisation of the industry, which is why we welcome the support of Innovate UK for companies like ours.

We found the support of the KTN in giving feedback on this our first application, extremely helpful.

They not only asked the right questions to make sure that we fully addressed the questions on the application form, but also shared their experience in creating a realistic research plan.

Ambitious innovative solutions

Bruce Adderley, Challenge Director, transforming foundation industries said:

Unless our foundation industries can continue their drive to sustainably produce the materials upon which our economy is built then we will not be able to deliver the resilient supply chains needed to address climate change.

The sheer ambition and variety of innovative solutions that are encompassed by these projects clearly demonstrates that this is achievable, and I look forward to seeing all these developments come to fruition.

For further information on how the transforming foundation industries challenge can help your company to prosper through addressing the opportunities of the UK’s 2050 zero net carbon target, please contact the KTN.

Further information

About the transforming foundation industries challenge

The transforming foundation industries programme is supported by UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and delivered by Innovate UK. It will help energy-intensive businesses to share expertise and come up with radical new innovations to help reduce their carbon footprint.

The programme will inject significant new public and industry innovation funding into the foundation industries, helping us deliver against our vision of a cutting edge, innovative and sustainable industrial sector. £66 million will be provided by the government and £83 million will come from industry.

ISCF brings together the UK’s world-leading research base with our best businesses to transform how we live, work and move around. It will put the UK in the best position to take advantage of future market opportunities.

Additional information on competition winners

Development of a chipboard substitute made from seaweed and paper waste

Lead: Algreen Ltd

Location: London

Project duration: 10 months

The manufacture of low cement concrete from steel sector slag

Lead: Material Evolution Ltd

Location: Middlesbrough

£47,850 grant, £68,357 project cost.

Project duration: six months

Non-cement based concrete for pre-cast conrete products

Lead: ARC Marine Ltd

Location: Brixham

£52,300 grant, £74,715 project cost.

Project duration: six months

Oxidative Ionothermal synthesis for the low energy valorisation of metal wastes

Lead: Nanomox Ltd

Location: London

£48,856 grant, £69,794 project cost.

Project duration: 12 months

Lightweighting kiln furniture to reduce parasitic heating loss

Lead: Almath Crucibles Ltd

Location: Newmarket

£56,829 grant, £74,765 project cost.

Project duration: 12 months

Development of non-contact sensors for the detection of temperature and chemical composition of molten materials

Lead: Pyroptik Instruments Ltd

Location: Sheffield

£59,212 grant, £74,962 project cost.

Project duration: nine months

Enzymes for the creation of chemical feedstock from waste plastics

Lead: Scindo Ltd

Location: London

£52,241 grant, £74,630 project cost.

Project duration: 12 months

Power generation using a turbine to reduce the pressure of an industrial gas supply

Lead: C2 Technology UK Ltd

Location: London

£48,488 grant, £69,269 project cost.

Project duration: nine months

Remote monitoring of concrete condition

Lead: Lateral Logic Limited

Location: Lincoln

£57,826 grant, £74,903 project cost.

Project duration: nine months

Two layer coatings for compostable repulpable paper

Lead: Scitech Adhesive Systems Limited

Location: Flint

£59,250 grant, £75,000 project cost.

Project duration: six months

The use of induction heating for lower energy diffusion coating

Lead: Diffusion Alloys (UK) Limited

Location: Middlesbrough

£51,503 grant, £73,576 project cost.

Project duration: eight months

Energy efficient, low carbon dioxide refractories for the foundation industries

Lead: Parkinson-Spencer Refractories Limited

Location: Halifax

£53,663 grant, £74,687 project cost.

Project duration: 12 months

Innovative 3D printing of silicon carbide parts

Lead: Photocentric Limited

Location: Peterborough

£175,908 grant, £246,661 project cost.

Project duration: 10 months

Development of low carbon innovative composite material for the construction industry

Lead: Kenoteq Ltd

Location: Edinburgh

£197,450 grant, £249,951 project cost.

Project duration: 12 months

Using graphene to increase the strength of concrete

Lead: First Graphene (UK) Limited

Location: Manchester

£190,034 grant, £240,865 project cost.

Project duration: 12 months

Top image:  Credit: Leon Harris, Image Source via Getty Images

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