COP26: Clean-tech innovators at the forefront of climate change crisis

Innovation has been placed at the heart of the COP26 summit, with new green technologies playing an essential part in each country’s strategy to stay on track to reach net zero by 2050 to achieve the summit’s aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

In this article, we have provided an overview of six Mathys & Squire clients in the clean-tech and sustainability space, whose ground-breaking innovations are helping to combat climate change.

Enapter

Enapter has developed leading anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyser technology to turn renewable electricity into emission-free green hydrogen gas that can fuel cars and planes, as well as heat homes. Its technology is already being used by customers in more than 40 countries, in sectors ranging from mobility to industry, power-to-gas, electricity storage, and heating and cooling.

Enapter recently won the ‘Fix Our Climate’ category of The Earthshot Prize, an initiative launched by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Sir David Attenborough, with an aim of rewarding organisations dedicated to climate action through project funding.  The £1 million prize will enable Enapter to mass produce their technology, expand their team, and invest more in research and development, in a bid to provide 10% of world’s hydrogen generation by 2050. The company, which has a presence in Italy, Germany, Thailand, and Russia, has also recently broken ground on the construction of its new mass production site in Saerbeck, Germany.

The Mathys & Squire and Mathys & Squire Consulting teams have worked very closely with Enapter for a number of years, filing and prosecuting numerous patent applications in the UK and internationally, while supporting them in the growth and valuation of their intellectual property (IP) portfolio.

Biophilica

Biophilica is a designer and manufacturer of specialist plant-based leather alternatives and other biomass-derived materials, with an aim of transforming the fashion and leather industries through providing a leather substitute that is not only cruelty-free, but also non-toxic and environmentally friendly (free from petrochemical derived polymers, such as polyurethane and PVC). Biophilica’s flagship product, TreekindTM, is a biodegradable leather-like material manufactured from green waste which uses less than 1% of the water consumed in leather production, all while exhibiting comparable performance characteristics with conventional leathers.

Biophilica received the first Queen Mary Social Venture Fund and Manufacturing Futures 2021: Fashion District Innovation Challenge Prize and has also recently been announced as a semi-finalist for the Conservation X Labs (CXL) Microfiber Innovation Challenge.

Mathys & Squire has advised Biophilica through implementing a robust IP protection strategy for their innovations, directed to a plant-based leather alternative. A UK priority patent application has been filed and the portfolio is set to be expanded internationally in due course.

Colorifix

Colorifix is the first company to apply biological dyeing to the commercial dyeing of fabrics, including polyamide-based jersey, polyester and cotton, as well as other natural and synthetic fabrics.  Instead of using toxic and non-renewable petrochemicals, Colorifix uses synthetic biology methods to create a range of colours which are produced naturally.  By engineering microorganisms to produce naturallyoccurring pigments, Colorifix converts agricultural by-products such as sugar molasses into colorants suitable for textile dyeing.  Importantly, the engineered microorganisms also transfer the colour directly onto a fabric or garment, resulting in additional water and energy savings, providing a solution that uses 10 times less water than traditional dyeing processes and zero heavy metals, organic solvents or acids while still achieving excellent results in independently certified quality tests.

Colorifix carried out its first promotional brand launch with H&M in April of this year and will be launching its first commercial collection with another brand in mid-November. The company is currently embarking on a Series B fundraise of £17 million and its existing investors include Cambridge Enterprise, H&M, Mills Fabrica, Primera Impact and Sagana.

Mathys & Squire works closely with the Colorifix team and has secured patent protection for Colorfix’s processes for dyeing fabric using microorganisms in a significant number of territories worldwide.

OXTO Energy

OXTO Energy has developed a new generation of flywheel mechanical batteries that store kinetic energy in the form of a rotating mass.  These flywheel batteries stabilise the supply of electricity from intermittent renewable sources such as solar and wind power, which only produce electricity when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.    

OXTO Energy’s batteries will foster renewable energy integration for industries such as manufacturing, transportation, real estate and others. In railway transportation systems, these flywheel batteries can be used to provide trackside storage of energy recovered from a train’s regenerative braking system; this energy can then be used by an adjacent train station, for example to lower energy consumption or to power electric vehicle charging points. 

Mathys & Squire has advised OXTO Energy with its patent strategy and has filed and prosecuted a number of patent applications for their flywheel technology in the UK, the US, Europe and further afield. 

Bitrez

Bitrez is a designer and manufacturer of specialist polymers, synthetic resins, catalysts and curing agents. With a focus on developing and implementing alternatives to conventional epoxy resin-based chemistries, Bitrez’s products are used in the preparation of adhesives and coatings used in a plethora of industries, including aerospace, defense, automotive, and construction. These innovations are set to revolutionise the green credentials of the resin and coatings industry, which supplies numerous other industries, meaning that there are far reaching benefits, amounting to a substantial impact on meeting evermore ambitious environmental targets.

Bitrez received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise (innovation category) as well an IChemE Global Award (food and drink category) for its innovations in BPA-free phenolic resin, useful in food packaging.  Lead inventor and managing director of Bitrez, Paul Jones, has also received the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year – 2021 for his globally recognised work in innovating speciality polymers employing green chemistry principles.

Mathys & Squire has filed a number of patent applications for Bitrez, as part of its growing IP portfolio, directed to green curative agents / hardeners and high bio-content cured epoxy systems obtainable therefrom. These cases are being accelerated through prosecution before the UKIPO by virtue of the Office’s Green Channel and international applications have also been filed in order to extend protection globally.

Abundia Financial

Abundia Financial (Abundia) is an asset investment company with a focus on circular solutions and sustainability, including sustainable fuels, power, chemical technologies, and traditional commodity endeavours. As part of its green technology projects, Abundia has helped to develop a process that enables the conversion of biomass to important hydrocarbons such as jet fuel, diesel, LPG, naptha and gasoline. Unlike many of the current technologies available, Abundia’s niche process does not rely upon crop biomass such as corn or sugar cane and thus does not adversely affect food availability.

Mathys & Squire supports Abunida in relation to its IP strategy, in filing a number of new patent applications to protect the core technology, and in due diligence advice to ensure that this exciting technology makes it to the commercial marketplace.

Mathys & Squire is proud to work with numerous clean-tech clients on their green technology and sustainable solutions. Inventors and innovative businesses such as those highlighted above are working to tackle the impact of climate change and we are excited to see their future developments and to work alongside them in supporting many of the goals outlined by COP26.    

Key contacts

Oliver Parish
Associate
Dani Kramer
Partner
Posy Drywood
Partner
Craig Titmus
Partner
Max Thoma
Managing Associate
Anthony Coleman
Business Consultant