AN innovative North East company has won more than £670,000 investment to roll out production of a green building material it has developed which it hopes will revolutionise the construction industry.
C2M (UK) had previously confined itself to helping entrepreneurs to develop their ideas but decided it would follow through its idea to create building material from glass and plastics destined for landfill.
It has developed and tested the resulting product, RGH – Recycled Glass Hybrid – and has moved from its Gateshead Quayside offices into a purpose-built 12,000sq ft, purpose-built manufacturing facility in Spenny- moor, County Durham, using the EU Eco Innovation funding.
C2M managing director Gary Thompson said that manufacture of the material, which will be made in the region using material set for North East landfill, will create around 50 jobs in the next three years.
He is now confident that “it shouldn’t be long” before the remaining £1.17m is raised from other investors, which is needed to bring the product to market.
“We are delighted to receive the [European] funding, it will allow us to build the first pre-production site and we’re expecting the first RGH products to be manufactured before the end of 2012,” he said.
“Due to the limitations of regional funding, we had to look further afield for grant support that would enable such an important project to become reality for C2M (UK) Ltd and enable the business to grow over the next five years. It was at the time when the new Government came in and One North East was told ‘you are being wound up’, so all the funding just stopped.
“The Jeremie Fund [now called the Finance For Business North East programme] has turned out to be a damp squib ... only a few people have gained access to it.
“We went to regional investors and they just said it’s at too early a stage, even though we had proved it. We looked at the Eco Innovation Fund from Brussels and we went over to see them last year.
“We are the only ones North of Birmingham to get any support. They thought we were from a university, they didn’t realise we are an SME.”
The new factory, which C2M moved into earlier this month, will take between four and 10 months to commission. It will be used to manufacture materials ranging from plaster boards to floor tiles and kitchen workshops.
Thompson said: “We can make anything out of this. It looks like granite, but it’s as strong as concrete and it’s made out of landfill. We’ve calculated it will take out 10% of UK landfill in 10 years.
“We’ve developed basically a flat pack house made from it and there is a team developing the solar voltaics.”
The material will be produced in the North East and is currently being tested in France and Germany.
Thompson is keen to highlight its green credentials and says research shows that because RDF is completely made from recycled waste, it is 40% greener than comparable material.