Investor Showcase at Materials Research Exchange 2022
The MRE Investor Showcase event offers a gateway to some of the UK’s leading innovators who are bringing ground-breaking ideas to fruition, directly into the advanced materials sector. Participating in this year’s Investor Showcase were 23 exciting companies across the materials value chain, including metamaterials, materials for space, graphene, bio-based materials, energy and construction materials.
From the climate crisis to the race to net zero, the COVID-19 pandemic and worries about the stability of democracies around the globe – the world needs innovation now more than ever. The companies had the opportunity to showcase their materials innovation, the value proposition for the materials sector, traction to date and milestones they want to achieve.
To kickstart the emerging technologies session, Sajad Haq, Chief Scientist at QinetiQ, shared his insights into why we should be investing in metamaterials. These advanced materials, engineered with properties that go beyond what is found in nature, represent an opportunity to invest in highly multi-functional materials that have the potential to disrupt numerous industries such as communications, healthcare, energy, mobility, electronics and space.
Heralded as the wonder material of the 21st century, James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, reminded us that graphene is only 18 years young and though we can now buy graphene by the tonne, the real value is in its application. Graphene can be integrated into lots of sectors to create new disruptive products and capabilities, for applications such as anti-corrosion coatings, flexible displays, energy storage, sports equipment, concrete and even DNA sequencing.
For the bio-based and sustainable materials session, Paul Gilligan, CEO of The Magical Mushroom Company, shared their investment journey so far, which has grown from a start-up to an ambitious scaling business producing hundreds of thousands of pieces of packaging for a huge range of companies across the UK and Europe. The Magical Mushroom Company puts agricultural waste to work by combining it with mycelium – the root structure of a mushroom – and raised £3m in seed funding earlier this year to scale its eco-friendly packaging solution.
Lastly in the Materials for Net Zero session, Marcus Clover, Co-founder and Principal at Energy Revolution Ventures, set the scene for why private investment is required across the spectrum of technologies in the energy industry. We’re already in the midst of an industrial revolution so we need change how we produce, distribute and consume energy in our society. Marcus gently reminded us that we have just 27 years and 2 months to go until we reach 2050! So investing into electrochemical innovations and advanced materials is critical for enabling our next energy transition; all the way from battery chemistries, electrolysers, and synthetic fuels to large scale solar, hydrogen and carbon capture technologies.
The Investor Showcase event offers not only an opportunity to network in the founder marketplace but also offers the chance to dive into the explosive opportunities emerging from the UK’s leading universities and businesses. Materials Research Exchange provides is the ideal platform to absorb current trends and take a glimpse of future innovations. We need entrepreneurs working alongside policymakers, investors, industry and academics to find scalable, durable & long-term solutions – we’ll see you at MRE 2024!
Full list of presenting companies
A list of the presenting companies is here, with a short description of their innovation(s):
Metamaterials, Space & Graphene
Metasonixx – technology allows transformation of common materials into acoustic metamaterials, which are modular and easy to scale up.
Pinpoint Medical – nanoporous filter technology combined with metamaterial sensors to provide a decontamination and continuous air monitoring solution against airborne viruses and bacteria.
Space DOTS – developing a novel pico-payload with proprietary active testing systems and an end-to-end logistics portal to accelerate on-orbit qualification of advanced materials.
Gravitilab – provide space and microgravity as a service for research and testing.
Arkenlight – develop and manufacture diamond based radiovoltaics.
Nanoloom – produces biodegradable and recyclable fibres and fabrics for apparel from a novel graphene-based polymer.
SpaceBlue Habitation – developing space habitat materials using graphene and other 2D materials.
SmartIR – developing a disruptive patented thermal management solution for satellites and other multispectral solutions enabling protection of high value assets in Defence applications.
Grafmarine – developing an innovative renewable energy tile that can make any flat surface an energy generation and storage solution.
Metalchemy – fighting the food waste crisis through bio-nanotechnology
Sustainable & Bio-based Materials
The Magical Mushroom Company – combine agricultural waste with mycelium – the root structure of a mushroom – to create a material that is biodegradable, durable and comparable in price to traditional packaging polystyrene
Deakin Bio-hybrid Materials – developed an innovative technology platform, termed BioSintering, that is capable of producing ceramic-like bio-composite materials without the need for high-temperature firing.
KCC Limited – Riji is a container formed with a waste by-product of sugar cane, coated with an aqueous barrier material.
Cashew Shell Bio Refinery – specialises in cashew nut-shell derived intermediates for the industry.
Algreen – developing the world’s first entirely bio-based polyurethane that is both recyclable and biodegradable.
Cambond – developed a next-generation resin, made entirely of biowaste from food and agriculture.
AgrifoodX – innovation is based on the exploitation of agri-food by-products (AFBPs) which can be compounded with either oil-based or non-oil-based polymers to formulate composite materials
Materials for Net Zero
Global Nano Network – developed a high-power current collector, as well as greener, solvent-free electrode manufacturing and low cost battery recycling equipment and processes.
TISICS Metal Composites – develops greener and cheaper aircraft and spacecraft components using advanced materials and is the world’s only integrated ceramic fibre and metal composite manufacturer.
RFC Power Ltd – developing a unique low cost, long duration energy storage technology to enable the transition to a zero-carbon energy system.
Mimicrete – developing and commercialising innovative self-healing concrete technology.
Concrete4Change – developing an award-winning, patented technology that takes CO2 and permanently locks it into concrete as the safest method for CCUS.
Vector Homes – developing sustainable and affordable flat-pack houses from globally available recycled materials. The company is enhancing these materials with graphene and other additives to improve the fire retardancy, mechanical properties, thermal performance and to enable the circular economy by enhancing the future recyclability.
Adaptavate – innovating and designing low-carbon construction products, such as carbon absorbing plasterboard, for healthy buildings and inhabitants.
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