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Alchemie Technology to showcase how it can deactivate Covid-19 on face masks, seat covers and clothing

A Combined Authority grant is helping Cambridge-based Alchemie Technology showcase how its advanced manufacturing innovations can help combat the coronavirus.

The company’s coatings and dyeing technology can be used on products such as face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to deactivate the Covid-19 virus, making it incapable of infecting.

Dr Simon Kew, CEO of Alchemie Technology
Dr Simon Kew, CEO of Alchemie Technology

The technology could also be used on seat coverings for public transport and on clothing.

Now a £120,000 grant from the Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will help Alchemie take its technology to new markets around the world, and create new jobs at its Oyster Row home.

The money, from the Covid-19 Capital Grant Scheme, is part of £4.48million the authority has distributed to 106 businesses as of last week.

Dr Simon Kew, managing director of Alchemie Technology, said: “We had a fully booked May and June of visits from manufacturers across the globe, including Asia and Central America, to view our technologies.

“This grant funding from the Combined Authority will allow us to continue to invest in our ability to demonstrate those groundbreaking technologies, while reducing some of the risk which the coronavirus has brought our business. We have already had success by demonstrating what we do virtually.”

Alchemie has been hit, like most businesses, by a drop in demand for its digital materials science expertise, which is typically used in textiles, construction materials, electronics, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

But the pandemic has also brought fresh opportunities for its Endeavour dyeing technology and Novara coatings technology, which also help manufacturers reduce their environmental impact.

“There are clear opportunities for our technologies in the battle against the coronavirus. We have been working hard to ready these quickly to support the worldwide effort to beat this virus,” said Dr Kew.

“That includes global markets but it also includes national manufacturers of products like facemasks, where we are seeing a clear focus on greater domestic production of critical PPE.

“This grant will support our plans for growth, which in turn will create new employment opportunities. The investment is part of laying the groundwork for future opportunities, particularly when greater global confidence returns to areas like textile manufacturing.”

Alchemie's Endeavour technology
Alchemie's Endeavour technology

The total pot for the Covid-19 Capital Grant Scheme is £5.4million - and it is oversubscribed, so applications have been paused - but mayor James Palmer is seeking further funding sources to top it up.

Mr Palmer said: “We worked quickly to find as much cash as we could to load this fund to help local business.

“These are real cash grants, not loans, to directly support the capital investments businesses need to survive and adapt to a tectonic shock to the local, national and global economy which the coronavirus has brought.

“We’ve made it simple for businesses to access this money, using a common-sense approach in how we award these grants, because time is of the essence for so many employers.”

The authority forecasts that the money awarded so far will protect 479 jobs and create a further 238.

“This is about easing the crisis but it is also about recovery, and adding some muscle to our local businesses so our economy can bounce back from the coronavirus as quickly as possible,” said Mr Palmer.

An additional pot of £500,000 was also created by the authority to support the smallest, non-limited companies with grants of between £2,000 and £5,000 to help them survive and adapt.

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