The search for Kent’s brightest entrepreneur is over. Medway based Carbon8 Systems has beaten more than 70 hopefuls to claim the £25,000 cash prize in the 2007 Kent Innovation Challenge. The prize was awarded for their ground-breaking accelerated carbonation technology that converts industrial waste, such as ash from commercial incinerators, and contaminated soil into harmless aggregate that can be used by the construction industry. The process has a tremendous double environmental impact in that it reduces waste going to landfill, and the accelerated carbonation process captures and removes a significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the environment, helping to fight global warming.

Robert de Fougerolles, chairman of the Kent Innovation Challenge judging panel and director of the Sittingbourne Enterprise Hub Ltd said, “Carbon8 Systems is a company operating in the right space, at the right time. Carbon8 has already attracted a lot of interest from the construction and waste disposal industries and this award is well deserved.”

Paula Carey, one of the founders and commercial director at Carbon8, said on receiving the award, “We are very excited by this award ­ it will make a terrific impact on making Carbon8 a commercial reality. The money will enable us to complete the construction of our pilot plant, conduct trials at an commercial scale and market the system.”

The award was made on Thursday 26 April at the Business Link & KCC ‘Kent 2020’ conference and exhibition Big Dinner by Tim Campbell, winner of the BBC TV show The Apprentice.

Carbon8 Systems is a spin-out from the University of Greenwich, founded by Paula Carey, Colin Hills and Stef Simons. Carbon8 Systems is about to commission its first pilot plant at the Viridor Waste Management plant in Medway. It hopes to run its first pilot scale trials in the next few weeks.

  • In addition to the £25,000 cash prize, the winners will also receive:
  • Free rent for one year at either the Sittingbourne Enterprise Hub at the Kent Science Park, the Canterbury Enterprise Hub at the University of Kent, or the Medway Enterprise Hub at the University of Greenwich
  • Free business and banking support from NatWest for 18 months
  • Up to 10 days free business mentoring from Business Link Kent
  • Legal support from Vertex Law to the value of £5000
  • Filming and production of a corporate video to the value of £5000

The 10 finalists in the Kent Innovation Challenge in 2007 were Shwosher, Fillaball, Allcook, Olfactory, Silent Wind Turbine, Optimum Fitness, Industry Direct, Carbon8 Systems, Ultrasoc and Global Medical Systems.

Dr John Dodd, director of the Sittingbourne Enterprise Hub and the organiser of the Kent Innovation Challenge judging panel comments, “Innovation is alive and well in Kent. Over the past two years we have had more than 150 hopefuls accept the Kent Innovation Challenge. All of this year’s finalists should be proud of their achievements and we wish them all the best in their endeavours.”

The Kent Innovation Challenge is supported by South-East England Development Agency (SEEDA), Sittingbourne Enterprise Hub Ltd, Medway Enterprise Hub, Canterbury Enterprise Hub, Kent County Council, Kent Science Park, Business Link Kent, The Kent Messenger Group, Vertex Law, NatWest, Coast Communications, Lavender Blue Media, CBI and the Universities of Kent and Greenwich.