1 September, 2020
MacDiarmid Institute Deputy Director Associate Professor Geoff Willmott welcomed today’s announcement that MacDiarmid Institute affiliated start-up Zincovery had won this year’s Callaghan Innovation C-Prize.
“Our affiliated start-up Zincovery is a great example of the kind of tech coming out of NZ universities that is exactly what the world needs right now – sustainability innovations in the hi-tech space which not only give NZ a real chance to meet its own environmental goals but also give NZ the opportunity to be a world leader in exporting sustainable-tech IP."
Associate Professor Willmott said that materials science underpinned crucial sustainability technologies, such as solar, new batteries and carbon capture, and now waste recovery.
He noted that Associate Professor Marshall, who is based at the University of Canterbury, had also been named as a finalist in this year's KiwiNet Norman Barry Foundation Breakthrough Innovator Award. Associate Professor Willmott said that Zincovery’s process was a good example of a technology which extracts value from waste.
“It really is win-win. This technology not only reduces and cleans up pollution, but produces other commercial benefits at the same time. This is a growing theme in green technology circles, and one where New Zealand has emerging strength. Zincovery is poised to join the likes of other NZ start-ups like Aquafortus, Avertana, and Mint as an internationally-focused high-value chemical waste remediation company.”
He also welcomed the support of the C-Prize. “Having targeted support at early stages of a start-up’s life is crucial – this is where they stand or fail, and it’s something we also work closely on with our researchers.”
This technology not only reduces and cleans up pollution, but produces other commercial benefits at the same time.Associate Professor Geoff Willmott Deputy Director MacDiarmid Institute
MacDiarmid Institute Co-Director Associate Professor Nicola Gaston said that young entrepreneurs like Jono Ring, a MacDiarmid Institute alumnus from the University of Canterbury, were an inspiration to other young people keen to see where science and engineering could lead them.
“We know school students and undergraduates are desperate to make a difference to the environment, and being involved in the science and engineering behind climate mitigation or environmental remediation is one very powerful way to do so. For students looking ahead and wondering what they’ll do following a science or engineering degree, seeing Zincovery win this prize and seeing a young researcher like Jono Ring developing the commercial skills to take his research to the marketplace is a very powerful inspiration.”
Zincovery is a University of Canterbury startup that recycles the galvanizing industry’s spent acid and zinc for reuse as valuable raw materials. MacDiarmid Institute and Canterbury researcher Aaron Marshall and former UC student and MacDiarmid alumnus Jono Ring, have developed a process which recovers high purity zinc, iron and acid from material that would otherwise become expensive landfill.
The team is developing an industry scale demonstration plant before launching in the international market.
Zincovery is the brainchild of Associate Professor Aaron Marshall and MacDiarmid Institute alumnus Jonathan Ring who developed a process to recover high purity zinc, iron and acid from material that would otherwise become expensive landfill.
The C-Prize is a biennual competition run by Callaghan Innovation that looks for world-leading innovative solutions to environmental problems.
September 1, 2020