Eco-innovators are taking the engineering world by storm

June 22, 2022

A new program launched in collaboration with Lancaster University gives women-led engineering companies the opportunity to create innovative low-carbon products.

Autentica Parts, based in Liverpool, is a platform that allows engineers to share designs of parts and components that can be 3D printed by customers all over the world.

It was the brainchild of Irma Gilbert who developed the concept through the Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory (LCEI), a business support program co-offered by Lancaster University that gives small businesses a Free access to world-class academic expertise and cutting-edge resources through funded research and development projects, ranging from one month to 12 months.

Irma’s R&D was accelerated with a fully funded intern who helped create a prototype for the platform which now has customers in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America in a variety of sectors including automotive, electronics, consumer goods, medical services, heavy machinery. and energy.

The innovative platform decarbonizes the manufacturing supply chain, reduces customer transport and logistics costs by 70%, lead times from three months to 24 hours, and CO2 emissions by up to 40%.

Irma attributes the company’s success to the collaboration with Lancaster University. She now has a team of four and forecasts a turnover of £6million by 2025.

“As a woman at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, I needed someone to believe in my ambition,” she said. “I saw a transformational opportunity to create a marketplace where engineers could share their designs for parts and components, which could then be uploaded to a platform, licensed, and downloaded by customers anywhere in the world for manufacturing. additive.

“We are truly indebted to the support offered by LCEI and the expertise of Lancaster University which boosted my ideas to create a platform transforming supply chains, reducing carbon emissions and building a sustainable future.”

Lisa Furlong, general manager of construction-based civil engineers, Wirral-based Mole Group Utilities, also benefited from the LCEI.

Having previously pioneered her unique Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) technologies to dig underground pathways for cables, pipes and network links, Lisa used a funded internship to develop a marketing and communications plan that demonstrated its environmental credentials and unique methods.

LCEi is delivered by the Center for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University, led by Jess Davies, Professor of Sustainability.

Jess, an engineer and environmental scientist, said: “Engineers bring problem-solving skills, which are really important for developing sustainable practices, products or services in many areas, including traditional areas like energy, transport and wastewater, but also they have a lot to offer to other challenges such as supporting biodiversity.

“One of the main challenges for women starting out in engineering is seeing it as a profession for them – having great female role models is hugely important. And while there have been great strides, events like International Women’s Engineering Day help celebrate them.

“Irma and Lisa are great examples of what women can accomplish in engineering and we are delighted to hear that the kind of access to opportunities, resources and support we have provided through our program contributed to their development as leaders in eco-innovation.

“As a program, we want to encourage SMEs to play a leading role in addressing climate and environmental emergencies. But it’s also important that we champion the diversity of these innovators to help overcome barriers and change traditional culture and norms. We can contribute to change by diversifying networks.

“We need diverse perspectives and lived experiences to better understand the many dimensions of the problem and we’re going to need all the creativity that comes with diversity to help us find good solutions to the major environmental problems of our time.”

The LCEI is a business R&D consortium, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and led by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) alongside its partners Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool.

Since its launch in 2015, Eco-Innovant Bas Carbone has supported 350 companies on projects that have saved 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

For more information click here or contact Philippa Chapman via email [email protected]

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