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December 2018 Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme Shortlist Announced!

Wed, 09 January 2019

These five young entrepreneurs have been shortlisted for the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme for the month of December!
The Smarter Future Programme provides £5,000 in start-up funding to one winner per month to help young entrepreneurs with the most innovative business ideas to tackle the biggest energy and resource challenges we face.
 
The five shortlisted businesses for the month of December are:
 
Thomas Farrugia (Beta Bugs)
Beta Bugs is an insect breeding company that creates high performance breeds for the rapidly-growing ‘insects-as-protein’ sector. The protein-dense insects are used in livestock and aquaculture feed, reducing the need for environmentally damaging soymeal and fishmeal. Compared to these traditional protein resources, insects grow quickly and require minimal land and water. Beta Bugs is utilising the short lifespan and increased generational turnover of insects to test new breeding biotechniques to accelerate desired characteristics. Beta Bugs’ first product is a faster growing strain of insect which they can sell on to commercial insect farms. 
 
Paige Fashoni (FLUX Undies)
FLUX Undies is innovative underwear designed for a more environmentally-friendly period. FLUX underwear can be worn alone for 12 hours, removing the need for plastic-heavy sanitary products.  With traditional sanitary products estimated to contain the same amount of plastic as four carrier bags, a year’s worth of a typical feminine hygiene product leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3kg CO2 equivalents. One pair of FLUX underwear can replace approximately 450 disposables, as one pair could last up to three years.
 
Max Grell (BlakBear)
BlakBear’s sensing equipment and software offer novel technology to agriculture markets. Synthetic nitrogen fertilisers are the backbone of modern agriculture, with a 700% usage increase over 50 years. Excessive use, however, damages plants, soil and the environment with nitrogen fertiliser production releasing 575 megatons of CO2. Overuse can be reduced by measuring requirements of the soil; BlakBear will use new sensors to measure soil nitrogen in-field, allowing farmers to reduce fertiliser usage and increase yield. BlakBear also offers a predictive modelling service to forecast future nitrogen levels and suggest a fertilisation plan for land.
 
Harrison Hall (OneCup)
OneCup aims to reverse the habit of single-use disposable containers by replacing them with quality reusables at the point of need, starting with coffee cups. They provide cafes with reusable coffee cups for free and advertise the cafes’ location on the linked app as well as providing branded sleeves. OneCup members can locate the cafes and borrow a cup by scanning the QR code displayed at the till, then return the cups to another OneCup cafe or a ‘smart collector’. OneCup encourages the UK’s coffee-buying public to reduce the waste associated with take-out coffee, without the hassle of carrying a reusable cup around all day.
 
Luke Young (Agrisea)
Agrisea is an ocean agriculture company which alleviates pressure on arable farmland by transferring staple crop production from the land to the sea. Current agricultural practices use 70% of the world’s freshwater supply but by focusing on a specific set of salt tolerance genes, Agrisea creates a novel system for growing salt-resistant crops in seawater. A dense Agrisea ocean farm could absorb an amount of carbon dioxide three times that of a rainforest of the same area. Agrisea’s first product will be rice crops and the minimum input design model means crops flourish with minimal human contact.

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