From electric vehicle charging to turning coffee beans into fuel, here are some of the most innovative and successful green tech companies in the UK
Over the last few years, green technology has emerged as one of the most innovative and important areas in the tech industry. Companies are actively creating technologies and software capable of making the world a greener and more ethical place to live.
And British businesses are pioneering this area of technology. All across the UK startups like food sharing platform Olio and solar glass maker Polysolar are using technology to make a difference in the world and flying the flag for Britain. Here are a few of the best.
In 2009, when electric cars were relatively new, 38-year-old social entrepreneur Erik Fairbairn launched charging company Pod Point. As an engineer familiar with the car industry, he believed electric vehicles (EVs) were going to be big and wanted to encourage people to invest in them. There are now over 75,000 EVs driving on British roads, and his company provides charging points right around the world so that they always have power. This year, PodPoint raised £1.5 million on crowdfunding website Crowdcube.
Globally, humans waste a third of food that’s produced, and in the UK, consumers bin more than £12 billion worth of edible food annually. That can cost up to £700 to the average family. Tech startup Olio wants to change this by getting you to recycle your food through an app. With the platform, you can list food you don’t need and get it collected by members of the community. The app was founded by Tessa Cook, who became increasingly annoyed with good food going to waste when there are people starving. So far, more than 3,000 volunteers have engaged with the app, and it’s helped save over 100,000 items of food this year alone.
Founded in 2007, Polysolar is a London-based developer and manufacturer of green architectural glazing. The company produces transparent, thin photovoltaic glass for use in building facades, roofing and windows. Since day one, Polysolar’s aim has been to make buildings more energy efficient and has been working on projects for the likes of Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. Its most recent work is the creation of a smart bus shelter in Canary Wharf. It’s about to launch another investment campaign to extend its work.
Repairing roads costs billions in taxpayer money annually, but a Scottish start-up has found a cheaper solution. MacRebur has invented a patented method to create new roads out of waste plastic, a process it says creates longer lasting, more sustainable road surfaces. It was founded by three dads Toby McCartney, Gordon Reid and Nick Burnett after Toby worked as a plastic picker in Mumbai. He wanted to find a way to reuse the millions of plastic wasted every year. They recently pitched in front of business tycoon Richard Branson in the final of Virgin Media Business’ VOOM 2016 entrepreneurial competition and won £50,000 to grow the business.
Cleantech company Bio-Bean also reached the final of the competition and bagged £50,000 in investment from Virgin. It turns waste coffee grounds from your morning cup of coffee into sustainable biofuels. Founded by Arthur Kay after identifying an opportunity to use coffee wastage to power the world’s cities, buildings and cars, it’s now operating the first ever coffee waste recycling factory. There, it processes 50,000 tonnes of waste annually and is now working on a new project called Coffee Logs. The latter is a consumer-friendly carbon neutral product that replaces coal and wood.
Electricity bills can easily escalate, but one tech company is on a mission to help consumers save money. Pavegen has developed a smart flooring solution that converts footsteps into electricity. The latest model, V3, generates 200 more power than the model launched in 2009. The firm has raised over £2 million through crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, with the initial target of £750,000 reached within 59 hours. It’s using the funds to work on new technologies and to grow its presence globally.