Case Studies

BEACON: helping companies innovate.

Aber Instruments

Aber Instruments

Founded in 1988, Aber Instruments (AI) was developed around the research activities of Aberystwyth University and the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), based in Machynlleth. AI devised and patented a radio-frequency impedance method to assess live biomass in fermentations through the measurement of the inherent capacitance of living cells (dielectric spectroscopy). In a matter of only three years, systems were sold to major biopharma and brewing companies. AI are currently the global leader in online biomass measurement.

Agroceutical Products

Agroceutical Products

Agroceutical Products Limited (APL) was established in 2012 to commercialise over 8 years of research by Professor Trevor Walker and colleagues whose aims were to develop a cost-effective and scalable method of producing Galanthamine from daffodils. Galanthamine has been found to be effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and has currently been approved in several countries for the symptomatic treatment of senile dementia. However a natural source of Galanthamine is not readily available on the market.

Axium Process

Axium Process

Axium Process specialises in the design, fabrication, testing and commissioning of customised manual and automatic membrane filtration systems. The company is also a specialist in the supply of custom built processing equipment, components, tube and pipe fittings that meet their customers individual requirements. Axium is committed to providing the best possible value for money in terms of design, fabrication, product quality and consistency, delivery and traceability.

Clifford Jones Timber Group

Clifford Jones Timber Group

Clifford Jones Timber Group (CJ Timber) is the UK’s largest manufacturer of timber fence posts. Established in 1948, CJ Timber is a Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified company based at its eco-friendly 13 acre headquarters site in Ruthin, North Wales. They provide their customers with innovative, high quality timber products sourced from local sustainable forests, for an increasingly wide range of end uses. These include fence posts, laminated timber for the construction and leisure industries, bedding for horses, cat litter, and a range of wood fuels - from dried logs and wood briquettes to wood pellets for biomass boilers.

Compton Group

Compton Group

Compton Group is the trading name of various companies under the control of the Swansea based Ballard Family. Starting as a house builder in the mid 1950’s the Group’s entrepreneurial business is based mainly around property development together with investment in renewable energy. Compton Group has also for a number of years invested in biotech research carried out at Welsh Universities. Here they aim to commercialise the output of successful research in the commercial exploitation of IP, typically through licence agreements after a patent application has been filed.

DTR Medical

DTR Medical

Launched in 2005, DTR Medical is a successful medical device manufacturer, providing medical professionals with single-use sterile surgical instruments that deliver patient and clinical value. The company has operated for eight years and currently has more than 600 UK and international customers. The DTR Medical range includes many new sterile single-use surgical instruments for specialities including ENT, gynaecological, orthopaedic, vascular and general surgery and neurosurgical procedures. It also supplies a range of products for sterile services including sterile pre-cut silicone tubing. DTR Medical continually expands its product range to meet new market demands.

Farmaceutical Innovations

Farmaceutical Innovations

Farmaceutical Innovations is a new business venture business based in Caergybi, Anglesey. A limited company formed in August 2011, they target three areas of the phytochemical sector including: process development, supply, and toll extraction. Farmaceutical Innovations have undertaken studies in economic optimization and process improvements to enhance the environmental impact and overall economic performance of their business. They aim to provide their clients with the skills and resources required to rapidly improve their production line, adding value to the entire process.

Fruiting Bodies

Fruiting Bodies

Fruiting Bodies based in Bethlehem, Llandeilo is part of the Red Pig Farm group. Red Pig Farm have thirty hectares of land located on the western fringes of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Since 2004 the land has been developed to accommodate a unique cluster of rural businesses that would demonstrate the value of native broad leaved woodland in the UK. Fruiting Bodies has been developing simple mushroom extracts for over ten years. They grow a variety of mushrooms on hardwood logs and sawdust, which are then dried for harvest. The dried mushrooms are then slowly s immered in filtered w ater. The resulting broth is concentrated and added to organic grain alcohol. The final product is a tincture, which is used as a food supplement.

MDF Recovery

MDF Recovery

MDF Recovery is a technology developer, which is focused on developing a novel and proprietary process to recover fibre from waste Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF). Over 200,000 tons of MDF waste is generated in the UK alone, with it being incinerated or sent to landfill after a single user life. MDF Recovery aims to solve this problem through establishing the UK’s first commercial scale MDF recycling facility alongside the licensing of its technology worldwide. The fibres recovered from their novel process can then be re-integrated back into MDF production, or used as feedstock for a variety of high value industrial applications. MDF Recovery offer a better ecological solution for the disposal of MDF which generates a new source of raw materials for the wood and natural fibre industry, in turn reducing the demand on virgin fibre produced from standing forests.

Pennotec

Pennotec

Pennotec, a new venture established under Pennog Ltd, are industrial bio-technologists who aim to advise and provide technology to assist businesses and operators in the conversion of manufacturing waste into marketable resources. Waste biomass typically accumulates as a result of numerous manufacturing activities from a variety of industries including: agriculture; food & beverage; chemicals & pharmaceuticals; and fuels & biofuels. Establishing new markets as an alternative to landfill and incineration disposal methods is a priority for Pennotec. Currently, Managing Director Dr Jonathan Hughes is focussing on the waste streams associated with crustacean meat processing.

PhytoQuest

PhytoQuest

PhytoQuest traces its history back to 1999 when Professor Robert Nash founded Molecular Nature Limited (MNL) a spin-off from the UK’s Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER). In 2006, MNL was bought by Summit Plc., and in 2009 a MBO (Management Buyout) allowed for the formation of PhytoQuest Ltd. PhytoQuest has since developed scientific research to identify natural ingredients and compounds targeting high margin healthy living products emerging from the food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics sectors.

Plant Fibre Technology

Plant Fibre Technology

Plant Fibre Technology (PFT), established in 2005 by company director Gary Newman, was launched with the aim to make natural insulation “the norm and not the exception”. PFT play a central and pioneering role in the development of new commercial opportunities and products made from plant fibres. PFT develops and market a range of construction products made from biomass. These include fibre based insulation, strawboard-chipboard and hemp particle board.

Spencer ECA

Spencer ECA

Established in 1991, initially trading as Spencer Environmental Care and Construction, Spencer ECA has evolved over the years to become one of the most respected operators in land maintenance and ground works sectors, building itself a reputation which has seen them working with many multinational companies. Spencer ECA currently operates from three strategically based locations within Wales: Llandysul, Newtown, and Swansea. Spencer ECA undertake a wide range of services including all aspects of construction industry support and environmental management, ranging from site clearance in advance building projects, to pipe and cable installations. Spencer ECA adopts rigid health and safety and environmental policies, minimising the risk to personnel and the effect of its ecological footprint.
Consequently, they use sustainable resources wherever possible.

Blue Sky Botanics

Blue Sky Botanics

Blue Sky Botanics is a leading UK manufacturer of botanical extracts. The company sources fresh, frozen and dried plant material from all over the world, and also grows a wide range of herbs on its 200 acre organic farm. Blue Sky Botanics places a strong emphasis on the origin and ethical standard of the botanicals used. The compounds are extracted on site using a variety of solvents and techniques. The on-site facility operates to a very high technical and hygiene standard, enabling Blue Sky Botanics to sell its extracts to a variety of global brands for incorporation into cosmetics, drinks and herbal supplement products.

Boss Brewing

Boss Brewing

Boss Brewing was established in 2014 in Swansea Enterprise Park. They have since moved into larger premises and expanded to eight staff, and after initially supplying beer and  lager within the Swansea area, now sell to Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and Wetherspoons nationwide. The brewery have won numerous awards, including Champion Beer of Wales awards in 2016 and 2017, Great Taste award in 2017, and SIBA gold award and overall trophy winner in 2018. Co-founder Sarah John also won Young Business Person of the Year at Swansea Bay Business Awards in 2017.

Branston

Branston

Branston are one of Britain’s largest developers, growers and processors of potatoes, handling around 350,000 tonnes of potatoes a year. They supply fresh and ready prepared potatoes to retail, wholesale and food manufacturing customers throughout the UK. Through a joint collaboration with Phytoquest, a project with BEACON was initiated to look at the potential for the valorisation of the rejected potatoes from the Branston packing process. At that time the overall rejection rate was approximately 10%. Through the use of the equipment and capabilities available at BEACON a complete plug-and-play process scenario was demonstrated at pilot scale with the aim of isolating two target compounds identified as being of high value to Branston.

Eco-Sphere

Eco-Sphere

Eco-Sphere Worldwide is a Bridgend-based company with interests and activities in the environmental, educational and socio-economic sectors. Eco-Sphere are particularly interested in reducing waste to landfill through a  variety of approaches and in the valorisation of different waste streams. Through close collaboration with BEACON, Eco-Sphere aims to deliver             significant environmental, social and economic benefits to the Welsh economy by securing Intellectual Property (IP) and through the development of new products and processes.

Fiberight

Fiberight

Fiberight are a Pontypool-based company operating in both the UK and the US, who have developed a novel recovery process to generate added value from mixed residual waste. At         present the by-products are biomethane gas and an engineered fuel product. Fiberight worked with BEACON’s Life Cycle Assessment analyst to update and better understand the carbon footprint of their novel waste recovery process. Working with the company’s proposed process flow and mass and energy balance calculations, the LCA analyst was able to calculate carbon emissions associated with two potential product pathways: one prioritising biogas production (produced from organic matter within the waste stream) and the other modelling a combined biogas and sugar product stream.

GreenSeas Resources

GreenSeas Resources

GreenSeas Resources is a newly-established company within the marine aquaculture sector. Based in Pembroke Dock on the Milford Haven waterway, they are concerned about the increasingly large volumes of ‘opportunistic’ green seaweeds growing there. Partially due to increased nitrogen run-off from farming intensification, these mats of floating ‘weed’ detrimentally impact important recreational amenities such as boating, swimming and fishing within the estuary. GreenSeas Resources are investigating the business potential of removing the seaweed from the estuary, and using it to generate saleable products, whilst simultaneously improving the water quality.

Hybu Cig Cymru—Meat Promotion Wales

Hybu Cig Cymru—Meat Promotion Wales

Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is the industry-led organisation responsible for the development, promotion and marketing of Welsh red meat. HCC undertakes research and development, shares information and supports training relevant to each part of the supply chain, to ensure the Welsh red meat industry is in a position to improve quality, increase cost-effectiveness and add value to Welsh red meat products across the whole of the industry. HCC approached BEACON with the aim of bringing together academia and industry in order to address the problem of waste streams from abattoirs.

International Gums and Oils Ltd

International Gums and Oils Ltd

International Gums and Oils Ltd (IGO) is a plant product company that supplies raw material to the nutraceutical, fragrance and cosmetics industries. The company currently imports premium botanical compounds, including frankincense, myrrh and henna from Asia and the “Horn of Africa”, principally Somalia, Ethiopia and Oman. It is well known that certain plants contain naturally occurring biochemical compounds with anti-retroviral, anti-malarial and anti-inflammatory properties. BEACON is working with IGO to identify high value compounds for the health and beauty industry.

Moleculomics

Moleculomics

Moleculomics is a spin-out company from the Institute of Life Science (ILS) at Swansea University. They have developed powerful computer techniques to produce structural models of proteins and the changes that occur when they interact with molecules. This allows them to use computer models to predict the activity of a potential new drug with its target protein, and  critically also to predict whether or not a drug will interact with other proteins, which might lead to toxicity or other unwanted effects. Given that there are several million potential interactions, undertaking this work using computers significantly reduces the time taken for R&D, in addition to helping reduce the use of animals in experiments and allowing companies to predict any adverse effects of potential new drugs.

NappiCycle

NappiCycle

NappiCycle is a trading division of Natural UK, the largest independent washroom services and clinical waste collection company in Wales, dealing in hygiene and sanitary waste (e.g. nappies and incontinence pads from nursing and residential homes). BEACON initially contacted the Ammanford-based company to learn more about their unique and innovative process and discuss potential opportunities for new markets and applications for the company’s cellulose fibre waste stream. The safe disposal of offensive municipal waste is a widespread problem, with much of it currently being sent to landfill.  However NappiCycle uses a novel hydro-recovery process to recover the plastics and cellulose material from the sanitary waste that would previously have been sent to landfill.

Pennotec

Pennotec

Pennotec, the trading name of Pennog Ltd, is a leading industrial biotech innovator in the UK, based in Pwllheli in North Wales. The company aims to extract maximum value from biomass resources, especially waste streams, through the development of innovative, low carbon processes and technologies, and close collaboration with university scientists. Waste biomass typically accumulates as a result of numerous manufacturing activities from a variety of industries including agriculture, food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, fuels and biofuels. Pennotec aims to convert manufacturing by-products into added value functional products whilst reducing waste to landfill cost and benefiting the environment. Pennotec have successfully delivered a number of innovative collaborative projects that address significant challenges in the bioeconomy, through successful funding, and access to scientific support and pilot scale equipment.

STARS (Sustainable Rye Grass Products)

STARS (Sustainable Rye Grass Products)

Welsh Government's Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) Programme

Innoture Ltd

Innoture Ltd

Knowledge Transfer Partnership (short)

iCRAB (integrated Chitin Ryegrass Acid Biorefinery)

iCRAB (integrated Chitin Ryegrass Acid Biorefinery)

Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK)

ADMIT Bio-SuccInnovate

ADMIT Bio-SuccInnovate

Climate KIC

BioGas2Market (Business Opportunities for Sustainable BioGas Production)

BioGas2Market (Business Opportunities for Sustainable BioGas Production)

Climate KIC

Deep Dock (Novel Functional Ingredients from Seaweed)

Deep Dock (Novel Functional Ingredients from Seaweed)

Welsh Government's Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) Programme

US/UK Biorefining Collaboration

US/UK Biorefining Collaboration

BBSRC

HiPLExSon (High Performance Liquid Extraction & Sonobioprocessing)

HiPLExSon (High Performance Liquid Extraction & Sonobioprocessing)

Welsh Government's Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) Programme

LCEE-Innovation (Low Carbon Energy and Environment)

LCEE-Innovation (Low Carbon Energy and Environment)

Welsh Government's Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) Programme