Eight budding Scottish start-ups tackling the climate emergency have launched their bid for success with ECCI's EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator.
Eager to create a zero carbon future and take their markets by storm they are the brains behind innovations ranging from a waste-reducing reusable menstrual pad, to a unique solar thermal collector capable of converting solar radiation directly into heat and Scotland’s first seagrass restoration company - focused on revitalising Scotland’s rapidly reducing natural carbon sink.
The EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme offers early stage entrepreneurs access to up to €20,000 grant funding, business coaching with experienced professionals, a range of masterclasses and free workspace at ECCI’s vibrant Edinburgh hub.
Stage 1 of the programme helps companies find their market niche and figure out how to scale up and get investment-ready.
The eight new recruits join the 22 new cutting-edge Scottish businesses that have already benefitted from ECCI’s EIT Climate-KIC business support programmes. Since 2017 ECCI entrepreneurs bagged funding of over £1.75 million and scooped an impressive 54 awards.
The companies each got the chance to look around their new office, meet some of the experts who will be working with them and learn about the programme they will be embarking on.
CEO and founder of solar thermal collector SolarisKit, Dr Faisal Ghani said:
“We are delighted to be part of the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme at ECCI. As an early stage start-up working to decarbonise heat in the developing countries, the facilities, expertise, and networking made available to us will be invaluable.
We can’t wait to work on our venture with the ECCI as we shift towards the future low-carbon economy.”
Mate Ravasz, CEO of Algacraft, which uses algae to turn air pollution into fresh food, said:
We believe the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator at ECCI is the best place in Scotland to develop our project into a successful business."
ECCI Interim Executive Director Ed Craig said:
“It’s exciting to see a new cohort of Accelerator participants settle in to ECCI’s diverse low carbon network.
We’re looking forward to helping them on their start-up journey and building upon the impressive achievements of previous participants in our shared drive towards a vibrant zero carbon future.”
Meet our new EIT Climate-KIC start-ups
Tapping into the rapidly growing $1bn alga industry market Algacraft is focused on improving the automated production of microalgae for use in the agriculture sector and for carbon capture. Algae is used to grow food, animal feed, pharmaceuticals or in waste management but also reduces atmospheric CO2 more efficiently than any plant. Algacraft’s team of five experts has developed an innovative, automated, micro-scale bioreactor to improve on outdated, inefficient methods for bioproduction. CEO Mate Ravasz is a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Edinburgh.
Lilypads provides innovative solutions to problems in the feminine hygiene market. The average disposable pad in the UK contains 50g of plastic, and women use 300 annually. The start-up has developed a reusable sanitary pad to reduce waste and improve its performance and comfort by minimising thickness and refining the design. Lilypads also operates in Kenya, selling affordable sanitary pads and providing menstrual health education to ensure girls can remain in school.
Energy3 aims to combat energy and heat waste by providing large scale storage solutions to energy utilities, thermal power plants and energy intensive industries such as glass, steel and ceramic. Energy3’s 40-foot thermal energy storage devices can store up to 40MWh of thermal energy at very high temperatures, which can then be used on demand. COO James Young heads up the small team and has a mechanical engineering PhD from the University of Edinburgh.
Planet Heat’s products provide innovative low-carbon heating and cooling solutions, such as their new compact, easy-to-deploy, thermal energy collector for use in contaminated fluids such as streams and rivers. Founder Russell Gibb, based in Houston, Renfrewshire, has been working with heat pumps and renewable energy for a long time, starting off as an electrical engineer in the military world after graduating from tech college in 1987. Planet Heat represented Scotland in the Global Grand Final of ClimateLaunchpad - the world’s largest green ideas competition – hosted in Scotland for the first time last year by ECCI.
Seagrass Restoration Scotland
Seagrass Restoration Scotland aims to be the first company in the world to focus on restoring and establishing new areas of Seagrass in Scotland - a vital habitat which also acts as an excellent carbon sink, absorbing carbon 35 times more efficiently than rainforest, and storing it over thousands of years. Initial projects will focus on Scotland – where the waters provide the perfect habitat for seagrass and 20%of North West Europe’s seagrass coverage is found - with potential to expand globally. CEO Calum MacDonald is currently studying for a Marine Systems and Policies MSc at the University of Edinburgh.
Seawater Solutions works with farmers around Scotland and Vietnam to develop innovative sustainable farming techniques using seawater to grow salt-tolerant crops. Focusing on redeveloped coastal farmland, the start-up is on a mission to tackle climate change, loss of biodiversity, and food insecurity. Seawater farms in Ayrshire are already off to a flying start, with projects in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam growing crops that negate the need for harmful chemicals in wastewater treatment. Glasgow based Yanik Adam Nyberg - founder & CEO - has an MSc in Environmental Entrepreneurship from the University of Strathclyde.
The SolarisKit collector is a unique solar thermal collector capable of converting solar radiation directly into heat. Its design is characterised by its unorthodox geometry, low cost, and ability to be assembled on site by someone unskilled. The flat pack kit reduces both manufacturing and shipping costs and is ideal for use in developing countries in the global solar belt, such as India and Bangladesh, Mexico and Brazil. CEO & founder Dr Faisal Ghani is a Research Associate of Engineering & Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University.
Getting wastewater from remote areas to sewage plants comes at a cost and impacts on the environment. Waterwhelm’s patent-pending solution is a unique, self-powered process for wastewater treatment and desalination, ideal for use in small and remote communities. The developed process can turn wastewater into freshwater simultaneously generating renewable energy and fertiliser playing an important role in a circular economy to extract maximum value from waste resources. Founding Director Alireza Abbassi Monjezi was previously a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh.