Plastic Energy’s Loughborough-based R&D team with Andrew Lake, Principal Scientist, and David McNamara, Chief Technology Officer (far right)

Plastic Energy’s Loughborough-based R&D team with Andrew Lake, Principal Scientist, and David McNamara, Chief Technology Officer (far right)

Seven nominations for University partnerships in Insider Made in the Midlands Awards

Four companies with strong links to Loughborough University’s research and innovation portfolio have been nominated across three categories in the Insider Made in the Midlands Awards 2023.

The four finalists - which include three businesses with R&D bases at Loughborough University’s Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP) and a collaboration with a leading food machinery manufacturer - have received a total of seven nominations for the Awards, which celebrate and showcase success from across the local engineering and manufacturing landscape. 

The companies delivering innovative product and business developments over the last 12 months are: 

Manufacturing Innovation Award 

Plastic Energy
Plastic Energy is transforming the global landscape of plastic waste by converting previously difficult to recycle plastic into a recycled oil – called TACOIL™ – that replaces fossil oils in the production of new plastics. The global company has partnered with Loughborough University’s Chemistry researchers led by Steve Christie for 10 years to accelerate this innovative recycling process. LUSEP is home to Plastic Energy’s R&D hub which is at the heart of realising the goal where plastics are re-used repeatedly, for good.

Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering spinout Zayndu founded in 2019 by Felipe Iza, helps global growers increase agricultural yield using unique cold plasma equipment that vitalises seeds, speeding up germination and encouraging growth. Seeds grow stronger and between 15-25% bigger without the need for agrochemicals or pesticides. The subscription-based technology provides a timely and affordable solution for growers as many of the chemicals the industry relies on are becoming banned internationally. 

Intelligent Energy
Underpinned by automotive engineering and chemistry research, the sustainable technology developed by independent fuel cell specialists Intelligent Energy has been successfully deployed to power airborne and road vehicles, and has applications across the logistics, construction and communication sectors. Their fuel cells provide reliable power solutions that do not produce CO2 or other greenhouse gases and avoid other pollutants such as nitrous oxides, only emitting water vapour.

Food and Drink Award

Millitec Food Systems
Derbyshire-based high-tech food machinery manufacturers Millitec Food Systems has partnered with a team of Loughborough University computer scientists led by Baihua Li and Mohamad Saada to create a unique sandwich-making robot featuring the latest embedded artificial intelligence technology. Since launching in one of the UK’s largest sandwich-making factories – which produces an astounding 750,000 sandwiches a day – Millitec now have a strategic advantage in the marketplace. 

Zayndu (see Manufacturing Innovation Award)

Digital Engineering / Technology Award

Zayndu (see Manufacturing Innovation Award)

Intelligent Energy (see Manufacturing Innovation Award)

Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation at Loughborough, commented: “For the University’s extensive innovation and research portfolio to be once again so well recognised in the Insider Made in the Midlands Awards is testament to the impressive variety of our activities and their level of excellence. Many congratulations to all finalists and good luck for the finals.” 

The winners of the Made In the Midlands Awards will be announced at a black-tie Awards celebration on 4 May at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham.