A NEW business which specialises in chemical producing technology for the pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industry is developing its prototypes in partnership with the Biorenewables Development Centre in York.

British Algoil, which is launching in Dunnington, working on an innovative new piece of equipment, a patented PhotoBioreactor, that combines solar-powered LED lights and specialised reactors for rapid growth of algae.

Once the equipment is fine-tuned it is expected to offer a significant commercial opportunity in the production of sustainable chemicals for use in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and biofuels, in a market estimated to be worth USD 1.3 billion by 2020.

The business has now employed new members of staff and is rapidly progressing its technology by working with University of York spin-out, the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC), at York Science Park.

Dr Fiona Taylor, senior technologist at the BDC said: "Our work with British Algoil will explore optimal growing conditions for a specific variety of algae.

"One of the areas we are investigating are the LED lighting conditions so that the algae can reach its optimum growth rate – where it can double in 5-8 hours."

British Algoil won a capital grant to develop its proto-type through the BDC’s ERDF-funded capital grants scheme which has enabled the business to focus on technology rather than sourcing investors.

Working with the BDC has also allowed the start-up to house its proto-type in one of the BDC facilities, de-risking the innovation process.

David Hawkins, chief executive at British Algoil said: "Algae technology has a recognised potential to revolutionise the production of everyday products.

"Our technology is unique by combining solar, wind and energy storage, which allows us to operate the plant cost-effectively 24x7.

"Working with the BDC is a fantastic opportunity for us and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for our technology."

British Algoil has employed a year in industry student, Lydia Buckley from the University of York, to work closely with the specialists at the BDC.

Incorporated in June this year, British Algoil was formed by Solar Europa, market leaders in bespoke renewable energy solutions, and Simon Carves Engineering, a technology-led engineering consultancy.