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Carbon capture technology wins Innovate '09

Innovate '09, a competition run by resident LEC company, Stopford Projects Ltd, offered entrants the chance to win up to £10,000 of consultancy support to help commercialise a new environmental technology.

L-R: Josef Tapper, the runners up and the dragons.

The competition, sponsored by Envirolink Northwest, provided the winner with access to a team of dedicated consultants with experience in feasibility studies, technology development, sample analysis, process engineering, technology optimisation and market assessment.

The final included, Kevin Betts of Econoclean Systems Ltd who presented his unique wheel cleaning technology, Solartherm's Andy Ive demonstrating a low cost solar water heating devise, Simon Webb from Tidy Planet Ltd showcasing a novel waterless food macerator and Josef Tapper from Statix Industries Ltd delivering a pitch on a novel carbon capture technology. The final 4 presented in a Dragon's-Den style pitch to a judging panel consisting of Nick Storer from Envirolink Northwest, Dr Ben Herbert and Debnath Pal of Stopford Projects and Dr Mark Bacon from the Lancaster Environment Centre. "I continue to be amazed by the way in which I see innovative blue sky research turning into real business opportunity for a range of companies", explains Dr Mark Bacon, "I was particularly impressed with the winning entry which promises an extremely interesting approach to linking crop production in the UK with novel carbon capture technology".

After declaring themselves "out" to 3 of the competitors, the judges finally decided to invest with Josef Tapper of Statix Industries. Statix Industries has developed a patented method of heat generation which absorbs carbon dioxide. "The generated heat can be used to drive a steam turbine to produce electricity", explains Josef Tapper, "The process uses a liquid or solid fuel and produces a solid non toxic waste which is more valuable than the original fuel and is a renewable source". The process relies on the ability of plants to convert carbon dioxide into sugar; the Statix process dehydrates this sugar to create heat, water and carbon black. The market value for carbon black combined with the revenue from the electricity generation makes this process the first potentially profitable carbon capture technology.

The £10,000 consultancy support will be delivered by both Stopford and Envirolink Northwest through the provision of technology development services including process engineering support, grant identification, grant writing and market studies. "Winning this competition will give us a substantial boost in the engineering experience that we're currently lacking" said Josef Tapper.

"Stopford are currently conducting an independent review of the Statix technology, providing process engineering support to the project and assisting in the development of a proof of concept test plant" explained Dr Ben Herbert of Stopford Projects.

It is envisaged that the expert consultancy provided to Statix by both Stopford and Envirolink Northwest will help accelerate the technology development process and in doing so will reduce the lead time for this process to become a commercial reality.

After a highly competitive morning the competition ended in high spirits, Dr Mark Bacon said "It was a really fun day and I enjoyed pretending to be Deborah Meaden, one of my heroes and a chance to say "sorry I'm out" was too much to resist".

Innovate '10 will be launched in April 2010 and to find out more about the competition please visit www.stopford.co.uk/innovate or contact Ellyse.Maddocks@stopford.co.uk

Fri 04 December 2009