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Incredible Cambridge winners of Trinity Bradfield Prize unveiled





The final of the 2023 Trinity Bradfield Prize was held at The Bradfield Centre this week, with Sir Gregory Winter announcing the winners.

From left at the Bradfield Centre are James Parton, managing director of the Bradfield Centre; Mark Carrington of Oxonium Energy; Sir Gregory Winter, head of Trinity College; Trinity Bradfield Prize 2023 winner, Daniel Buhl; Kerry Baldwin, co-founder of IQ Capital; Abiel Ma, Dr Anthony Ma of Vuala; and investor Maximilian Ge. Picture: Keith Heppell
From left at the Bradfield Centre are James Parton, managing director of the Bradfield Centre; Mark Carrington of Oxonium Energy; Sir Gregory Winter, head of Trinity College; Trinity Bradfield Prize 2023 winner, Daniel Buhl; Kerry Baldwin, co-founder of IQ Capital; Abiel Ma, Dr Anthony Ma of Vuala; and investor Maximilian Ge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Established in 2018, more than 300 teams have applied to the competition, with winners awarded non-dilutive cash prizes, a mentoring program, membership at The Bradfield Centre, and marketing support.

The judges commented on the incredibly high standard of this year’s finalists, finally deciding on the three cash prize winners for 2023.

The first prize – and £10,000 – went to Daniel Buhl, a PhD researcher at Cambridge Vet School who has developed a rapid method to detect bacteria in milk samples from the cow directly during the milking process.

“Taking part in the Trinity Bradfield Prize competition was a great experience,” said Daniel. “I have only ever worked in academia before and this has actually been the first time I have done a pitch. Our team is in the early stages of translating our research into a commercial product, and we were the only one of the finalists without a name for their company.”

Daniel added: “Current methods to detect bacterial infections in cows take multiple days, which means the farmer has to isolate the cow for longer, loses out on milk production and does not know which antibiotic will be effective for treatment.

Sir Gregory Winter congratulates Daniel Buhl, winner of the Trinity Bradfield Prize 2023 first prize. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sir Gregory Winter congratulates Daniel Buhl, winner of the Trinity Bradfield Prize 2023 first prize. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Our solution can be coupled to existing infrastructure on the farm and gives the farmer a real-time diagnosis, all within the time the animal spends in the milking robot anyway. Apart from detecting bacteria, we hope to develop this further into a general health monitor for farm animals, with the potential to also open up the technology to human diagnostics.

“The prize money will enable us to develop our prototype in the lab to a real product, and I am extremely excited about the mentoring and support scheme the Bradfield Centre offers.”

The second prize – with £5,000 attached – was collected by Mark Carrington of Oxonium Energy. A world-first breakthrough, Mark’s battery technology impressed the judges with its potential to impact grid-scale energy storage, and even capture carbon.

Mark is working on high-voltage, high energy-density, and air-stable aqueous redox flow batteries for grid-scale energy storage.

Sir Gregory Winter and Mark Carrington, of Oxonium Energy, winner of the Trinity Bradfield Prize 2023 second Prize. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sir Gregory Winter and Mark Carrington, of Oxonium Energy, winner of the Trinity Bradfield Prize 2023 second Prize. Picture: Keith Heppell

Mark is a third year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry working under the supervision of Prof Dame Clare Grey. Prof Grey is co-founder of Nyobolt, whose technology is about cutting recharging times to a very few minutes.

“We are currently working on a new air-stable, high voltage battery technology for long duration energy storage – LDES, ie grid-scale energy storage,” says Mark. “The technology has the potential to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy integration into the electricity grid, helping the UK to achieve its net zero targets.

“At full scale, the technology also has the potential to remove over 550 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year at a fraction of the cost of other industrial battery incumbents such as lithium ion batteries and vanadium flow batteries.”

Sir Gregory Winter at the Bradfield Centre with Abiel Ma and Anthony Ma, winners of the Hellings Prize. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sir Gregory Winter at the Bradfield Centre with Abiel Ma and Anthony Ma, winners of the Hellings Prize. Picture: Keith Heppell

Mark adds: “Oxonium is a project name not a company just yet – we’re at an early stage – and it is not related to Nyobolt.”

Additionally, the Geoffrey Hellings Prize, in memory of the Trinity student in the 1920s, offers £5,000 and mentoring for a current Cambridge student. This year it went to Abiel Ma of Vuala, whose solution automatically separates and liquifies food waste from other wastes, turning them into raw material for biogas and animal feed production within hours on site.

Judges Sir Gregory Winter and Kerry Baldwin, co-founder of IQ Capital, during the final of the Trinity Bradfield Prize. Picture: Keith Heppell
Judges Sir Gregory Winter and Kerry Baldwin, co-founder of IQ Capital, during the final of the Trinity Bradfield Prize. Picture: Keith Heppell

The judges were impressed with their approach, progress, and the potential impact of the technology. Vuala is part of Accelerate Cambridge and has received a grant from Homerton College.

“It was such a wonderful opportunity, credits must be given to James Parton, Maximilian Ge and the Bradfield team for organising such a wonderful event,” said Abiel.

“In terms of our next steps, we will be doing a pilot trial at Homerton College, expand our team and focus on raising our pre-seed.”

Soraya Jones, director of engagement & operations, Homerton Changemakers, added: “We at Homerton College are very proud of Abiel and his team and his company Vuala, who were one of the our winners at the Homerton Changemaker Seed Fund.

“It has been great seeing Vuala grow from strength to strength.”



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