A University of Leeds spin-out company aiming to reduce the UK's carbon dioxide emissions has received seed capital totalling £160,500.
The investment in C-Capture, from The Finance for Business North East Technology Fund and IP Group plc, will make the North East a leader in carbon capture technology.
C-Capture, which is a spin out from the University of Leeds School of Chemistry, has developed a low cost, energy efficient and safe technology which aims to capture CO2 from the flue gas streams of coal-fired power stations and other power generation sites, making coal a more environmentally acceptable energy source.
The company is using the investment to locate its engineering operations at The Wilton Centre in Redcar, where it will build and operate a pre-pilot scale solvent demonstrator rig, which has dedicated facilities for this type of operation. It will also retain a research base in the chemistry department at the University of Leeds.
The development comes at an important time, with both the Stern Review and UK Energy Review highlighting the immediate need to tackle harmful greenhouse gas emissions as part of necessary global change initiatives.
In 2009 The Northern Way produced a report identifying the compelling economic drivers for the investment and deployment of carbon capture and storage in the North East region and at least two businesses within the region are already bidding for government funding to allow them to secure such technology for their own power plants.
Christopher Rayner, a Director of C-Capture, said: "This investment has come at a crucial time - both in terms of our development and the political landscape. Without exception, power generators that use coal-fired power generation are getting ready to implement carbon emission reduction technology as soon as feasible, because there is a real recognition that the government will act promptly and firmly to protect our environment - and the UK should be looking to position itself as a technology leader in this field.
"Working with IP Group has enabled us to access the funding we need to make C-Capture a commercial and sustainable reality and utilise the significant expertise available within the firm. To secure the investment from the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund we had to move into the region, but this has been hugely worthwhile in terms of the existing engineering and manufacturing base and the well-established business networks we have been able to tap into."
Duncan Lowery, senior investment manager at IP Group, commented: "C-Capture is a fantastic business that is absolutely of its time and which could put the North East on the map in terms of this emerging green technology. It is a good example of the type of clean technology we are seeking to back, that is, it makes sense in today's economy as well as having significant future potential.
"We have real confidence in the C-Capture team and believe the specialists there are well placed to make a vital difference at a time when expertise in this field is still limited. We certainly anticipate there will be a further funding round if all goes to plan."
Finance for Business has been made possible by a collaboration between the European Investment Bank, European Regional Development Fund and regional development agency One North East. The EIB has provided funding of £62.5m with ERDF and ONE supplying the remaining £62m.
For more information
Managing Director, Sarah Hall Consulting
T: +44 (0) 7702 162 704
Senior Investment Manager, IP Group plc
T: +44 (0) 845 519 4112
Press Office, University of Leeds
T: +44 (0) 113 343 4031