Arthur Kay, the British founder of green start-up bio-bean has won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2014. The jury, chaired by Dame Ellen MacArthur, awarded the start-up €500,000 (£400,000) today at the entrepreneurial competition final in Amsterdam to realise his green business plan.
bio-bean uses a patented process to upcycle waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuel products, namely biodiesel and biomass pellets, used for powering buildings and transport systems. bio-bean acts in response to the need for producing clean, cheap, local energy and helps with responsible waste collection and disposal.
Speaking from the event, Arthur Kay, co-founder and CEO of bio-bean, said, “This is fantastic! With this prize money we can scale up production to other locations throughout the UK. We also want to expand internationally to Northern Europe and the US. The cash prize would enable us to develop new technologies and products, securing bio-bean's market position.”
At 23 years old, Arthur Kay has been one of the youngest winners in the history of the competition and was presented his award by Dame Ellen MacArthur, the former professional solo-sailor and founder of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “I'm impressed with the business plans I have seen today,” she said. "Reaffirming that business innovation is a major force for positive change. Like never before,entrepreneurshave an incredible opportunity to rethink the future and I cansee brightprospectsfor these start-ups".
bio-bean went up against four other start-ups: Dutch start-ups Bluerise and One Nights Tent, Turbosail from France and Fargreen from Vietnam. The runner-up prize of €200,000 was awarded to Vietnamese entrant Trang Tran, founder of Fargreen. Her company works with local rice farmers to divert the straw from burning. Fargreen's technology uses the straw as a substrate to produce mushrooms. In doing so, Fargreen stops the release of greenhouse gasses and helps farmers escape poverty, increasing their income by 50%.
This is the latest in a string of achievements for bio-bean who have already raised significant financing from private investors and secured partnerships with a number of high profile UK coffee companies. bio-bean have previously been funded and endorsed by a number of prestigious institutions, including the UKTI, Shell, University College London, and most prominently the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who said: “This level of green innovation is brilliant to see - we are 100% behind bio-bean, which is absolutely full of beans”.
For the eighth year, the Dutch Postcode Lottery has issued a worldwide call for inventions that reduce carbon emissions. The international competition aims to help green start-ups bring their innovative, sustainable products and services to market. This year, the jury received 324 sustainable business plans from 57 different countries. Funding for Green Challenge was awarded from United Postcode Lotteries, which the People's Postcode Lottery is a part of. At the end of last year, United Postcode Lotteries were named the second biggest private charity donor in the world by London economic newspaper, City AM.
Following the news of bio-bean securing the top prize, a demonstration of the product will feature in an exhibit at London Science Museum, which opens on Tuesday.