Albotherm, a leading advanced materials startup in AgriTech and Construction, has been awarded a significant grant from Innovate UK to spearhead a groundbreaking project in collaboration with Pilkington, Flavourfresh and Vitacress.

The University of Bristol spinout was founded by Molly Allington and Sian Fussell in 2021. Their unique passive cooling technology is a key solution to reduce energy usage in the agriculture and architecture sectors. Soon after developing the tech, Albotherm was noticed by investors. They have since celebrated securing a grand total of £1.6m in funding this year. A defining aspect of this investment comes from Innovate UK. 

Skyrocketing the Alborthem solution

Albotherm has developed a Smart shade coating that is transparent in cold weather but automatically converts to opaque in hot weather to provide on-demand shade, optimising crop growing conditions, and reducing solar overheating.

As Albotherm’s product is responsive to changing temperature it ensures that the greenhouse environment remains optimised for growth, maximising crop production and securing the global food supply in a changing climate. In commercial greenhouses, their technology allows crops to benefit from the early morning and evening light, while being protected from the heat of the midday sun, boosting overall light levels by 18% and demonstrating a 34% increase in crop yield compared to standard shading approaches.

This ambitious project, which commenced in May 2023 has received funding from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) as part of the Farming Innovation Pathways Grant, administered by Innovate UK. The aim is to address the pressing need for sustainable solutions in the horticulture sector by maximising energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact.

The project aims to develop and test Albotherm’s innovative smart coatings, with a  focus on the optimisation and scaleup of their retrofit temperature-responsive shade coating for commercial greenhouses. Alborthem has teamed up with a selection of experts to test the impact of the product. 

“Marc and the team at Innovate UK EDGE have helped us to build a really strong framework across areas like design, HR, internationalisation and funding and finance,” says Molly, CEO of Albotherm.

“It’s been great to have both the general support from Marc, and to also work with specialist like Adele Reynolds who helped us to revamp our funding strategy and secure our most recent grant.”

“We are excited to receive the Innovate UK grant and to collaborate with leaders in the UK horticulture industry. We are honoured to have the support of Flavourfresh, Vitacress, and Pilkington on this ground-breaking project and we look forward to contributing to a more sustainable future for the horticultural industry.”

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.