Climate tech firm Pirta is receiving a package of support from the UK’s national innovation agency to accelerate the development of its revolutionary cooling paint.
Yorkshire-based Pirta is on a mission to combat climate change through the development of passive cooling technology. Founders Howard and Rob Atkin have created a radically innovative solar cooling paint which reflects more than 93% of total solar energy while averaging 99% reflectance in the visible spectrum.
The technology holds immense commercial potential across many sectors — including construction, shipping, logistics, agriculture and energy industries — looking to slash emissions from energy dependent cooling systems.
Following rigorous testing at the University of Leeds and Mahatma Gandhi University in India – involving more than 1,000 samples – Pirta is now ramping up activity with backing from Innovate UK EDGE, a key part of the UK innovation agency’s deep investment in pioneering businesses.
Pirta R&D director Rob Atkin said Innovate UK EDGE is playing an instrumental role opening up a global innovation ecosystem, and supporting it with finance mechanisms, strategic planning and internationalisation.
“We’ve received terrific support from Innovate UK EDGE for the last 18 months,” said Mr Atkin. “The collaboration enabled one of our major breakthroughs, after being introduced to the renowned CPI (Centre for Process Innovation) in Redcar.
“The CPI was set up by the UK Government to reposition the Northeast UK on the world stage for Research and Development. Essentially, it helps companies develop, prove, prototype and scale-up new products and processes by providing access to facilities, expertise and networks of public and private funders.
“Through this connection, we carried out foundational work, including a feasibility study exploring ideal materials and improved processes to take our product to market. This provided a springboard to our rigorous testing programme in the UK and India.”
Innovate UK EDGE has further introduced Pirta to a series of organisations including construction firm LNT Group, the Smith Institute, Energy Systems Catapult, Global Centre for Rail Excellence and Civil Water Management – while opening the floor to present their business case at the regional partner meeting for Innovate UK, the parent organisation for Innovate UK EDGE.
Earlier this year Pirta was also hand-selected by Innovate UK to join a special programme accelerating tech solutions capable of supporting Singapore’s net zero ambitions. The Harrogate firm joined 15 other British firms at the Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) Net Zero Singapore 2023. This included pitching sessions and high-level meetings with government officials, key industry players, NGOs and academia.
Senior innovation & growth specialist for Innovate UK EDGE, Chantelle Brandon Reeves said: “Pirta is an ideal case study perfectly illustrating the sort of innovative start-ups we want to support.
“It offers a creative solution to help tackle some of the greatest challenges of our time including the heat crisis, climate change, the energy transition and the race to net zero. As a technology it has huge scale-up potential across multiple industries and market segments worldwide.
“Throughout our coaching, we have seen Pirta growing from strength to strength. When our support tools are met with ambition and dedication we are able to maximise growth potential.
“For instance, we have had particular success helping Pirta with strategic planning through the use of our business model canvas tool, which compelled senior management to delve into vital elements of business such as cost structure, roles and responsibilities, sales channels, and strategic partners.
“It has also concentrated focus on the business’s vision, operational approach, and value creation for stakeholders. Together, we have broken down priorities into manageable segments to produce clear strategic pathways for growth.”