Circa Sustainable Chemicals UK – a subsidiary of Australian biotechnology company Circa Group – has won an Innovate UK grant, which will be used to develop new applications for bio-based solvents. Circa will focus on two biosolvent application areas: polymer dispersions and coatings removal for paint or graffiti.
Aiming to encourage disruptive ideas, grant candidates had to demonstrate new, highly innovative processes, products or services, as well as show significant return on investment. Thanks to the grant, Circa will be identifying current coatings removal and polymer dispersion applications which rely upon a polar aprotic solvent.
After initial studies, a theoretical framework will be developed to predict future solvent performance and identify commercially relevant polymer systems where biosolvent Cyrene® can be applied. Produced by Circa, Cyrene® is a bio-based alternative to polar aprotic solvents which are under regulatory pressure worldwide due to their toxicity. Cyrene® has a unique property set, including viscosity, surface tension and polarities.
Circa will work with the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) at the University of York, who also helped develop Cyrene®. The work should be completed by June 2018.
By providing funding for small companies, Innovate UK wants to help overcome innovation barriers and speed up delivery of new products. As winners, Circa demonstrated that its work will lead to successful commercialisation and show significant and sustainable growth.
Jeff Eaves, General Manager at Circa Sustainable Chemicals UK, said, “We are thrilled to win this Innovate UK grant, which will increase application opportunities for biosolvents. We were particularly glad that bio-based solutions won an open call competition, confirming the bioeconomy’s potential and helping to boost biomaterials’ share in markets dominated by petro-based products.”