UK Business Spotlight 27th November

Business Spotlight 27th November

As part of our ongoing mission to support UK businesses with innovation and funding, our business spotlight section contains news and resources which your company may find useful.

Ecosia funds new fintech initiative: TreeCard

Ecosia's TreeCard

The popular eco-friendly search engine, Ecosia, has just announced their funding for a new innovative product: TreeCard. The wooden debit card will mirror Ecosia’s mission of donating 80% of profits to planting trees. 

Ecosia, which was founded in Berlin in 2009, channels their profits into nonprofit organisations focused on reforestation. Currently, over 100 million trees have been planted as a result of Ecosia users. The search tool generates profits through advertisements on their search results page. 

Ecosia’s end goal is 1 billion trees planted. As users continue to increase daily, this goal seems more than attainable.

Last month, Ecosia announced their 20% stake in the new company TreeCard. Despite TreeCard being a separate organisation from Ecosia, the latter platform has been utilised to boost awareness for the new debit card. 

The financial technology innovation will donate their interchange (the fee paid by merchants to accept card payments) to these reforestation projects. 

The projects, through reforestation, focus on creating and conserving habitats, replanting native trees, and growing produce to provide income and food for those in need. In the long term, by increasing tree species, TreeCard will be contributing to a range of wider environmental impacts. The storage of carbon, the restarting of water cycles, the protection of endangered species, and aiding recovery of deforestation and wildfires will all be results of increased reforestation.

This innovation has revolutionised everyday spending. The overwhelming issues of climate change and environmental biodiversity loss has left many wanting to do their bit, but with little knowledge or budget on how to do so. Incorporating environmental sustainability into everyday activities in an ingenious way for people to help rebuild our depleting forests.

The card itself is made out of wood, contributing to the growing plastic-free movement. The card comes with an application where you can track spending, split bills, and monitor the number of trees you’ve planted. The card is compatible with apple pay, android pay, and samsung pay. 

TreeCard’s hope to gain 100,000 interested people on their waitlist has already been achieved, as the numbers hit close to 150,000 waiting to get their hands on this new payment method. 

Ecosia has already planted over 100 million trees.Their contribution to diversifying our global ecosystem is impressive. Their aim is to plant 1 billion trees. 

Join the waitlist here.

The cleantech startup, SunSwap, receive two Innovate UK grants to develop zero-emission transport refrigeration technology

SunSwap has recently been awarded two Innovate UK funding grants from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). In partnership with the Clean Energy Processes Laboratory at Imperial College London, and Cenex, SunSwap will be using the funding to develop their zero emission transport refrigeration technology. The funding works out at £376,000 for the research and development of this new product. 

CleanTech startup SunSwap is dedicated to creating completely zero emission transportation refrigeration units (TRU) for the cold chain, using solar power and adaptive battery capacity. 

Their ambition to decarbonise the cold chain is highly innovative. TRUs are used by all supermarkets across the UK. These large transportation devices require a second diesel engine just to keep the unit cool. This double engine is a major air pollution issue.

SunSwap launched their first TRU model earlier this year. This funding will go towards developing a second model, with an even lower carbon impact. 

The startup’s collaboration with Imperial College London will allow them to focus on reducing the products Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant. The collaboration predicts to reduce CO2 output per TRU from 12 tonnes (industry standard), to 600kg. The Imperial College partnership will also strive to develop an electric battery for the TRU, which will result in significant reductions in cost and environmental impact, as well as an increase in efficiency. 

The second partnership is with Cenex. Cenex is the largest UK nonprofit platform working in low carbon vehicle promotion. The research organisation will be helping SunSwap as part of their Zero Emission Refrigeration Operations project. The partnership will bring in four UK supermarkets, discussing their TRU requirements, to channel back into SunSwap’s new design. The findings will also be shared to the government. 

The project will be unveiled and released to the UK roads in 2021.

zero-emission transport refrigeration technology

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