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Universities paint a major breakthrough for the environment

Date 20 Sep 2007
Author bdaily.info
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Experts from Durham and Manchester Universities have developed a new material set to revolutionise the paint and coatings industries. The new material, HESS, is a component of water-based coatings and solves one of the major problems faced by the industry in seeking to reduce the environmental impact and health risks of certain types of paint.

HESS was developed by Professor Peter Lovell, Dr David Berrisford and Dr Andrew Whiting and has been supported by The University of Manchester's Intellectual Property commercialisation company (UMIP) to secure a European and US patent. The developers also secured funding of £90K from NorthStar Equity Investors (NSEI), through its Proof of Concept Fund.

The NSEI funding will enable work to be carried out at Durham University to scale up the synthesis of HESS to quantities suitable for industry trials.

Richard Price, Business development manager at UMIP, said: "Paint manufacturers have been searching for the answer to the question of how to produce high-performance paints that are environmentally sound for a very long time and HESS is that solution - it's groundbreaking and, as you can imagine, is attracting a lot of interest from the industry. HESS has been in development since 1998 so it's very exciting to be on the verge of a breakthrough in terms of turning it into a commercial reality - the NorthStar funding will be instrumental in achieving this."

Michelle Cooper, investment manager at NSEI, said: "This is a major breakthrough for paint technology, combining environmental and health benefits with improved performance. "It's good to see the expertise of two leading universities being pooled to develop new technology with such exciting market potential. It's exactly the type of early stage business we look to invest in to turn innovative ideas into commercial success."

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