Heriot-Watt spinouts win big at the Made in Scotland Awards

courtesy of zero waste scotland

Two companies pushing the boundaries of innovation and creativity have been honoured at the prestigious Made in Scotland Awards, organised by Business Insider Magazine.

Heriot-Watt academic and founder of SolarisKit, Dr Faisal Ghani was named Inventor of the Year for his ground-breaking and affordable clean energy invention. Dr Ghani, who spent two years at the Edinburgh Business School Incubator as part of the company’s startup journey, developed the world’s first flat-packable solar thermal collector.

After realising that carbon emissions from the developing and emerging economies exceeded those produced by industrialised nations, Dr Ghani set out to tackle the climate emergency by inventing his own simple and practical clean energy solutions. His solutions have had a massive impact on the environment but will potentially improve the lives of millions of people around the world, including those living in poverty. Last month, SolarisKit announced the start of trials to provide cheaper access to hot water in Rwanda.

Clean-tech spinout Kenoteq won the special Recognition Category awarded to the best entry from last year’s event which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Kenoteq, which was founded by Professor Gabriela Medero and Dr Sam Chapman from Heriot-Watt University, created the K-Briq™ which is made from over 90% recycled demolition and construction waste materials. It produces a tenth of the CO2 emissions of a traditional fired brick and requires less than a tenth of the energy in its manufacture.

By re-using valuable recycled materials from construction and demolition waste, Kenoteq has achieved an exemplar approach and will lead the delivery of a circular economy revolution for the construction sector. The award follows last month’s announcement that Kenoteq has been awarded £1 million in funding by Zero Waste Scotland to commercialise production of its revolutionary brick.

Ultrafast laser manufacturing spinout Chromacity was also shortlisted for Innovator of the Year recognising the company’s use of innovation in the production process which has had a measurable effect on its bottom line over the past year.

Commenting on the awards success, Dr Gill Murray, Deputy Principal of Business and Enterprise at Heriot-Watt University, said: “We are enormously proud of the success of our spinouts and congratulate them on these prestigious awards. The impressive shortlist reinforces the fact that Scotland remains firmly at the cutting edge of innovation in business. Universities like ours have a key role to play in nurturing and accelerating the ambitions of pioneering young companies like these. As a global institution, rooted in Scottish heritage, our reach into international markets means we are uniquely positioned to support creative ideas through our approach to enterprise. Both SolarisKit and Kenoteq embody Heriot-Watt’s ethos of finding solutions to global challenges and we look forward to their continued success.”

In 2021, Heriot-Watt University celebrates the 200th anniversary of its founding in Scotland. From its beginnings as the world’s first mechanics institute in the heart of Edinburgh, two centuries of innovation have led to what is today a unique international institution with campuses in the UK, Dubai and Malaysia.

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Annie Pugh