Innovative low carbon approaches to road construction and maintenance will receive funding and business support
Seven companies have been selected to join a carbon reduction competition organised by National Highways and Connected Places Catapult.
Innovative ideas put forward to proceed to the second phase of the National Highways Accelerating Low Carbon Innovation Programme include a climbing robot that carries out structural inspections, ‘smart fibre’ plastic bridge beams that monitor structural performance and low carbon fencing materials.
Each shortlisted company will receive between £15,000 and £30,000 to develop their proposals in collaboration with National Highways and several Tier 1 suppliers. Connected Places Catapult will provide coaching, help with marketing strategy and investment support.
The seven companies and their ideas making it through to the next stage of the competition are:
Asset International Structures (Cwmbran) – Developing smart fibre reinforced plastic bridge beams that incorporate optical fibre, enabling structural performance monitoring in real time.
Circular11 (Ferndown) – Providing durable, low carbon fencing and acoustic insulation products; turning mixed low-grade plastic waste into composite material.
HausBots (Birmingham) – Delivering a series of structural inspections using a unique climbing and crawling robot fitted with inspection sensors.
Loopcycle (London) – Creation of a whole life carbon measurement and circular economy tool for use across highway estate assets.
Low Carbon Materials (Seaham) – Delivering a carbon negative aggregate for use in carbon neutral asphalt.
PRG (Scotland) (Hamilton) – Turning waste tyres into useful materials such as a bitumen-like substance for use in road construction and repairs.
Xeroc (London) – Recycling old concrete into new concrete, returning each component to its original form with as little contamination as possible.
Alex Weedon, Executive Director, Connected Places Catapult, SME Development and Academic Engagement said: “National Highways’ goal of achieving net zero emissions involves finding innovative solutions to support decarbonisation, particularly in the maintenance and construction of the strategic road network.
“Connected Places Catapult is proud to have been chosen as a delivery partner for this accelerator project. We look forward to supporting the SMEs in the development of their solutions, and turning bright ideas into commercial products and services.”
Alex Weedon, Executive Director, Connected Places Catapult, SME Development and Academic Engagement.
National Highways aims for its maintenance and road construction activities to generate net zero emissions by 2040.
The competition set four challenges for innovative companies to address with their new ideas: alternative materials; decision making enablers for asset management and the whole life value of assets; enablers for the circular economy; and an open challenge.
“We want to speed up innovation within our sector and adopt new solutions. The innovation accelerator will help take potential solutions and drive them through the research and testing phases.”
Dr Joanna White, National Highways Roads Development Director