Private equity hesitancy contrasted with prompt public funding of green innovation

Listen to a tale that seems to turn current criticism of government intervention on its head. Investing “where (business) angels fear to tread” nimbly accomplished by that much-maligned bastion of supposed public sector quango unnecessariness, a Regional Development Agency.

Enval has found a way to recycle that which was previously un-recyclable.

Co-founder Dr. Carlos Ludlow-Palafox:

“We wanted to develop the technology further without having to have further dilution in the company.

The procedure for applying for a grant from EEDA [the East of England Development Agency] was in many ways much simpler than applying for money from private investors.

Even though EEDA put some effort into looking into the value of our project, the time that this took was definitely shorter than the time that it takes to complete a round of funding from venture capital or business angels.

Since then we have managed to secure another round of funding thanks mainly to the results that were achieved during the grant.”

Here is a news story about Enval’s new plant in the UK:

Enval opens new facility in Luton

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Value from Waste

Enval cuts the ribbon on a new engineering facility dedicated to showcasing its revolutionary technology

Enval, a leading provider of recycling and environmental technology solutions, today announced it has opened a new engineering site in Luton.

The new site will allow Enval to expand operations from its Headquarters in Cambridge and continue development of its patented material recovery process.

Enval is a modern environmental services company, focused on providing specialist solutions across industrial, commercial and municipal sectors to deliver value from waste to its customers.

Natural resources are becoming scarcer and existing sources of fuels and minerals will not be sufficient to satisfy global needs for much longer.

With manufacturers concentrating on reducing waste volumes, bulky rigid packaging is being replaced by lighter and in some cases more complex flexible packaging.

Flexible laminate packaging has excellent material performance and environmental qualities, but represents a new challenge for the recycling industry, requiring new technologies and processes to be able to deal with it.

Enval’s patented technology will make a significant contribution by offering a genuine recycling route for flexible laminate packaging materials thereby reducing the quantity of waste, which is currently being sent to landfill or incinerated.

“Enval is looking forward to showcasing its process to potential customers,” said David Boorman, Business Development Manager at Enval.

“Enval’s new technology separates the aluminium from laminates, which means that this valuable commodity can be recycled using a process that can scale to suit the need, generate profit and make a true environmental difference.

Customers will be able to visit our new engineering facility and see the fully operational Pilot-Plant.

Enval will be able to test their customer’s own waste to demonstrate the process’s commercial viability.”

Tests with the Pilot-Plant that Enval has carried out in Cambridge over the last 12 months have shown that the process can be used to address the challenges presented by laminate materials.

The Enval Process now allows packaging systems based on these materials, such as aseptic drink cartons, food pouches and toothpaste tubes, to be completely recycled in a sustainable and economically viable way.

“Flexible packaging systems based on plastic/aluminium laminates are widely used because of their many positive attributes but the absence of a viable recycling process for them is a major drawback and is creating an increasing landfill problem.

Now though, thanks to Enval, a solution is at hand and the opening of Enval’s engineering site in Luton is a clear demonstration of the commercial appetite that exists for the enabling technologies and services that we can offer” said Martin Lamb, Enval’s Chairman.

“This additional facility will allow Enval to rapidly scale its operations and will be used to demonstrate the ability of the Enval Pilot-Plant to operate continuously on significant volumes of waste.”

About Enval

Enval, originally formed as a spin-out from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, is a privately funded company.

In parallel to the technical development and commercialisation of its proprietary processes, Enval provides environmental technology consultancy, with particular emphasis on the pyrolytic recycling of complex flexible packaging materials.

More information on Enval is available at

Jan. 25, 2010