Funding for Bristol Uni spin-out behind carbon-saving coating for commercial greenhouses

June 9, 2023

A University of Bristol spin-out developing an innovative temperature-responsive coating for greenhouses has secured a £1.6m investment.

By using advanced polymer chemistry, Albotherm has created a heat-sensitive material with the potential to boost food productivity in commercial greenhouses by up to 34%. 

The firm’s innovative coating automatically adjusts how much light it lets through in response to changes in the temperature.

This means commercial greenhouses can maintain optimal growing conditions without the need for active cooling systems.

The idea for the coating emerged from cutting-edge PhD research into temperature-responsive materials by Dr Sian Fussell at the University of Bristol.

Dr Fussell, Albotherm’s CTO, pictured, right with CEO Molly Allington, said: “As Albotherm continues to push the boundaries of low carbon cooling, we are thrilled to announce our recent investment.

“As an all-female founding team in the sustainable technology sector, we are inspired by the growing recognition and support for diverse voices and perspectives and we are thrilled to have found investors that are leading the way for this cause. 

“Our dedication to sustainability has resonated with investors, and this funding will enable us to further refine and scale our temperature-responsive materials.”

The funding will enable Albotherm to develop its technology, scale up manufacturing capabilities, and complete largescale commercial pilots, with a view to bringing the first products to market within the next two years.

Albotherm CEO Molly Allington said the firm was delighted to have secured the funding, which came from a number of investors and business angels.

“Albotherm empowers farmers to create optimal growing conditions for crops, resulting in improved yields and increased profitability, contributing to a more sustainable and resilient food system,” she added.

The £1.6m seed round was led by the Green Angels syndicate and supported by prominent investors including Oxford Innovation Finance through its OION angel platform, Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC), Cambridge Angels, Cambridge Agritech, and Science Angels Syndicate (SAS).

The funding is made up of £1.1m equity finance plus £500,000 grant funding from Innovate UK.

Green Angel Ventures President Nick Lyth said: “We have been greatly impressed by Albotherm.  The ability, dedication and determination of its two remarkable founders is both a testament to the commercial potential of the company, and an inspiration for those who care about diversity in climatetech.  Their work will help make the world a better and safer place.”

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