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AMT receives £87,000 from Innovate UK to expand its portfolio

Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) has received an £87,000 grant from Innovate UK to expand its portfolio of green technology for post-processing 3D printed parts. Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation competition was created to help all sectors of the UK recover, grow, and create new opportunities from the aftermath of the global health pandemic.

AMT was awarded £87,000 to fast-track its research and development program to introduce a new generation of green, bio-renewable chemistries designed specifically for post-processing elastomer materials – commonly used for 3D printed PPE and other Covid-19 related respiratory items.

This next-generation consumable is dedicated to TPU, and other elastomer materials, and will be used in AMT’s patented PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing process in addition to AMT’s current organic consumable offering.

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AMT’s patented PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing technology allows manufacturers to seamlessly surface finish thermoplastic 3D printed parts for performance-enhanced end-use products. Benefits of the PostPro chemical vapor smoothing process include creating sealed surfaces for highly regulated applications, such as medical, improved mechanical properties for high-performance applications, and improved aesthetics for consumer parts. PostPro technology is compatible with all industry-leading 3D printing technologies and over 100 thermoplastic materials.

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“Developing sustainable solutions that further the industrialization of additive manufacturing is our primary focus at AMT, and we’ve already proven that with our PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing technology. By utilizing the Innovate UK Sustainability funding to develop this new consumable for elastomers, we’re furthering the capabilities of our technology in an even more sustainable way for our customers” said Dr. Konstantin Rybalcenko, Global Head of R&D at AMT. “We look forward to working with OEM industrial partners to implement this next-generation consumable into 3D printing factories across the globe”.

AMT is currently using next-generation consumables for prototyping. The final product will be globally available in Q2 2021 for companies to innovate and potentially export.

By Andrea Gambini

Source: 3D Printing Media Network

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Leading female entrepreneurs win national award for new projects in the tech world

Leading female entrepreneurs have won a national award for their new projects in the tech world.

Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation awards recognised 12 women from London who have exciting ideas and business plans, recognising the challenges and subconscious bias that exists in the start-up tech sphere.

Among the London winners, Dr Lucy Grundlingh, 34, from Clapham was awarded for her work as co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at SFR Medical, a social impact ‘MedTech’ company.

Dr Grundlingh connects UK police forces with medical institutions to quicken the process of collecting medical evidence with victims of violent crime.

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The technology used at SFR Medical creates 3D graphical reconstructions of wounds which helps NHS administrative staff when collecting medical records, and police officers and jurors when making decisions about suspects.

Sarah Henley, 37, from Old Kent Road in Southwark also won the grant for developing NextUp Comedy which brought a digital, live-streamed comedy festival into people’s homes during the pandemic.

Ms Henley’s tech helps create vital additional revenue streams for venues and performers during Covid-19 whilst making comedy shows more accessible for the public.

Bella Trang Ngo, 25, from East Croydon was celebrated for revolutionising bra fitting services with her AI technology company, Brarista.

Ms Ngo says she is hoping to disrupt the £14 billion bra market by combining her own professional experience as a trained bra fitter with AI-enabled visual software.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway MP said: “As we build back better, it’s a priority of mine that we continue equipping our brightest female innovators with the tools they need to succeed.

“I am delighted we are supporting 40 of our most trailblazing female entrepreneurs, helping them to turn their ideas and aspirations into a reality.

“Creating the products and services will help improve all our lives, while powering up the UK’s economic recovery.”

Women in Innovation Awards is funded by the government and is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which seeks to boost the number of female entrepreneurs, and could subsequently deliver £180 billion to the economy.

Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Innovate UK said: “With 2020 proving to be an incredibly difficult year for everyone, and particularly women, continuing to support female entrepreneurs has been a real priority.

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“We have had an enormous response and we can see some positives from the pandemic, with some of our shortlist inspired to start up a business in response to some of the challenges it has brought.

“We can’t wait to see what else these inspiring women achieve and how they can be an example to inspire the next generation and to encourage more women-led businesses in this country as we rebuild and recover.”

Winners are given a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

By Lizzie May

Source: London News Online

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Innovate UK funding for more sustainable lithium ion battery recycling

The surge in electric vehicles has created a need for effective lithium ion battery recycling in the UK. A solution is a step closer, as Fenix Battery Recycling, Ever Resource and the University of Birmingham have received £955K in Innovate UK funding to develop an innovative technology to make lithium ion battery recycling cleaner and more sustainable.

The funding from the Government’s Innovate UK Smart Grants programme, is for the development of separation technologies for end-of-life lithium ion batteries. The £25 million Innovate UK Smart Grants programme provides funding to organisations delivering game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.

Emma Kendrick, Professor of Energy Materials at the University of Birmingham and her research group, including Dr Rob Somerville have invented a process which physically separates, without any chemical processing, anode-arisings and cathode-arisings in shredded end-of-life lithium batteries. This technology has significant potential to make all types of downstream recycling processes cleaner and more sustainable and the researchers believe the technology can be extended to other battery types.

Working with Ever Resource Ltd and Fenix Battery Recycling, the Innovate UK funding will allow the technology to be scaled up, so that it can be used in commercial battery recycling.

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Ever Resource Ltd is a circular economy innovator, turning waste into feed-stock and producing value-added products from end-of-life materials. Fenix Battery Recycling is developing a facility to offer on-site recycling for multiple battery types including lithium ion from its shredding and recycling plant in Willenhall, West Midlands and its latest site in Kilwinning, Scotland.

“Lithium ion is at the forefront of the electric transport and energy storage revolution. The market for these batteries is currently growing at a compound annual growth rate of 18% – but there is no cradle-to-grave solution for all of the technology metals and minerals used to manufacture these batteries,” says Dr Athan Fox, Chief Executive Officer of Ever Resource and Director of Technology for Fenix Battery Recycling.

He added: “To support global recycling initiatives in this space, we are developing an innovative system which physically separates with more than 99% efficiency anode-arisings and cathode-arisings in shredded end-of-life lithium batteries. By separating these component streams before downstream chemical or metallurgical processing, we are making recycling cleaner, greener and more economically sensible.”

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Fenix Battery Recycling’s Willenhall plant has been ready to recycle alkaline batteries since October 2020. It will become fully operational once it receives its permit from the Environment Agency – a process which has been delayed by Covid-19.

“Our Willenhall plant has been ready to open its doors since October 2020, so we look forward to receiving the permit very soon,” explains Damian Lambkin, Commercial and Business Development Director at Fenix Battery Recycling. “We are also accepting lithium ion batteries now, which we will store at our fully licensed and permitted site in Kilwinning, Scotland, ready for recycling when our lithium ion shredding operation kicks off in the next 6-12 months. We are in a position to be storing and discharging already and will be able to start this as part of the treatment process as we receive the materials.”

The project, which is funded by Innovate UK’s SMART framework, is supported by Formula E (the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship), a single-seater motorsport championship that uses only electric cars.

Source: MHW Magazine

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App backed by Innovate UK to begin Wakefield trial

Wakefield-based Not Usual Ltd, the company behind engagement app Bleisure Rewards, has announced its new ‘Eat Out Round About’ app will launch with a trial in its home city backed by Innovate UK.

Backed by the government’s Innovate UK fund, the ‘Eat Out Round About’ scheme has been designed to support hospitality by providing customers with vouchers for meal discounts.

Ahead of a national roll out, the app will launch with a Wakefield trial from 22nd March and will focus on takeaway food only in line with restrictions.

It said the scheme could inject up to £30,000 into hospitality businesses in the city.

Local businesses purchase Eat Out Round About vouchers for their employees and customers who can use the app at local restaurants.

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Once given a code, customers can download the free app and redeem their voucher for up to £10 off at a participating restaurant.

Rolled out across three periods, each launching as hospitality reopens, the trial is backed by Wakefield Council and key local organisations including Theatre Royal Wakefield and the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Local businesses including The Quarry at Horbury, Marmalade on the square, Horse & Jockey, Corarima and Tet are already signed up to the scheme.

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Created by Wakefield based entrepreneur Ali Gordon, Eat Out Round About is the result of years of work on a previous project ‘Bleisure Rewards’ that was repurposed as the pandemic took hold in 2020.

Denise Jeffery of Wakefield Council said: “We are delighted to have been involved in the research, design and roll out of the trials when hospitality re-opens and shape the platform to help local economies to thrive.”

By Alistair Hardaker

Source: Prolific North

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£40m released by UK government to help clean up polluting businesses

A £40m government investment has been announced to help polluting industries – including steel, pharmaceuticals and food and drink manufacturers – to find new ways to reduce their carbon emissions.

Proposed solutions include using heat-recovery technology to generate electricity, and replacing gas with hydrogen fuel, potentially helping businesses to cut energy costs, protect jobs, and improve air quality across the UK.

The funding, announced today, supports the government’s mission to build back greener and eliminate the UK’s contribution to carbon emissions by 2050.

Businesses in energy-intensive sectors, including pharmaceuticals, steel, paper and food and drink, will be able to apply for grants worth up to £14m through the government’s Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, totalling £289m in funding up until 2024.

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In this second competition window, the minimum grant has been lowered to £100,000 for deployment projects, offering more flexibility for small businesses to receive funding so they can speed up getting their ideas to market.

With potential projects taking place across the East and West Midlands, North East, North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as in Wales and Northern Ireland, the government grants will enable businesses to use new technology to improve the efficiency of industrial processes and reduce energy demand.

The grants are intended to drive businesses towards a cleaner, more sustainable future as part of the government’s green industrial revolution by 2030 and the mission to eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.

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This includes factories installing electric motors and heat pumps to replace their natural gas-fired boilers and steam turbines; manufacturers using heat-recovery technology to recycle waste heat and generate renewable electricity, and industries such as the food and drink sector carrying out studies to replace natural gas with hydrogen as their primary fuel.

The plans could create and support thousands of British jobs, cut carbon emissions and ultimately lead to cleaner air for the UK’s population.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, energy minister, said, “We can only achieve our ambitious plans to tackle climate change if everyone plays their part, including businesses large and small.

“That’s why our £40m investment will not only help some of the highest-polluting industries like steel, paper and pharmaceuticals build back greener by finding innovative ways to reduce their carbon emissions, but will also create more opportunities for growth and jobs by levelling up and making industry fit for the future.”

The fund supports the UK government’s mission to build back greener and level up the country’s industrial heartlands by allowing them to lay the path for economic growth.

The government’s Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) is worth £289 million, with funding available across England, Wales and Northern Ireland up until 2024. The fund supports heavy industry as the UK transitions to a low-carbon economy.

An initial launch of the scheme in June 2020 saw 39 applications approved for funding in the first window, totalling £31m in grant money.

It is calculated that as a result of these projects carbon emissions will be reduced by 2.6 million tonnes over their lifespan, which is equivalent to taking 38,000 fossil-fuelled cars off the road over a 30-year period.

The IETF window opens for applications on Monday 8 March and closes on Wednesday 14 July.

In November 2020, the government unveiled its 10-point plan for the UK’s ‘green industrial revolution’.

Since that time, it has loosened the purse strings to fund a variety of future-facing projects, ranging from a drive to establish the first net-zero emissions industrial zone by 2040 to the planting of 800,000 trees across the UK as part of the Green Recovery Challenge.

E&T recently examined Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution in more detail to see how achievable the individual aims are and what more might be needed to kickstart the new green economy.

Despite the government’s largesse in funding new green projects, experts have warned that, post-Brexit, the UK is at risk of falling behind in key areas of technology, including the space industry and R&D.

Source: E&T

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