The MagLib fast-charging battery solution from UCL has won the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2021 for the Energy & Environment category.
Pioneered by Thomas Heenan of UCL, MagLib is said to use bespoke magnetic fields to enhance the performance of lithium-ion batteries for applications from smart-watches and mobile phones towards electric vehicles. Testing has demonstrated charging time reductions of up to 67 per cent.
The ninth edition of the competition’s final witnessed 24 finalists pitching to judges from companies and organisations including AstraZeneca, PepsiCo and Unilever. Each winner is awarded £20,000 prize money, plus 12 months’ one-on-one support from a specially assigned Royal Society of Chemistry mentor, and a further £20,000 as an unconditional business acceleration grant.
“This win will accelerate our transition out of the university environment into industry, and the funds will enable us to embark on partner projects including prototypes and pilot lines,” Heenan said in a statement. “The recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry will be a key enabler in attracting additional funding and getting up and running with the partnerships that we want to establish.”
The Enabling Technologies category was won by Bio-Sep Limited, which has developed technology to convert lignocellulosic biomasses into cellulose, sugars and lignin for use as platform chemicals in industrial and domestic applications.
Food & Drink was awarded to Sphera Encapsulation whose water soluble encapsulates can be consumed without the addition of flavours or aromas, an advance that overcomes challenges related to the intake of bioactive lipophilic ingredients, such as oils.
Somnus Scientific came top in Health for advanced biosensor technology that is being used to develop point-of-care intermittent and continuous sedation and anaesthesia monitoring devices, making propofol-based sedation and anaesthesia safer for patients and more cost effective for healthcare.
Jo Reynolds, director of Science & Communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “This year’s final event was an outstanding showcase of cutting-edge science, and huge credit to our winners – and all of the competing finalists – for wowing our judges with an array of innovative and very well-considered ideas for chemistry to tackle societal challenges.
“All of the presentations have given us great confidence in the ability of the next generation of early-stage start-ups, spin outs and innovators to deliver ground-breaking solutions to major challenges through novel chemistry.”