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Corksol wins £150,000 innovation grant with the help of Teesside UniversityCorksol wins £150,000 innovation grant with the help of Teesside University

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Corksol wins £150,000 innovation grant with the help of Teesside University

Eco-friendly coatings company Corksol Ltd, which makes and distributes coatings made from natural cork for the construction sector, has secured a £150,000 grant from innovation agency Innovate UK to develop a ground-breaking insulating solution for millions of homes.

Developed in partnership with Teesside University, this innovative project aims to create an affordable new insulation coating that will have a strong positive impact on UK housing conditions – and on the health of householders.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed underlying vulnerabilities across the UK housing market, with millions of ageing properties offering poor accommodation and a severe lack of insulation. Not only does this lead to insurmountable energy bills, energy wastage and cases of fuel poverty, but substandard living conditions can also result in health problems such as asthma or bronchitis – underlying health conditions that are currently linked to increased risks from Covid-19 and other similar viruses.

The new thermally augmented cork-based thin insulation coating, known as TACTIC, is being funded through Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, whose aim is to help rebuild all sectors of the UK economy and create new opportunities following the fallout of the health pandemic.

Through TACTIC, Corksol and Teesside University aim to develop a solution with enhanced thermal properties that can be used on the millions of hard-to-treat, uninsulated homes in the UK. The team are working to improve the thermal performance of Corksol’s existing 8mm cork coating to deliver the same level of insulation as 50mm of mineral wool. This will enable the manufacture of a new form of sustainable coating that can be retrofitted to interior surfaces to improve insulation, improve the condition of the structure, and help improve the overall health of occupants.

Over the next nine months, the team will trial new developments using the natural cork coating product, testing new formulations both in the laboratory and in homes, where they will be applied using Corksol's existing spray method.

The project is already under way, harnessing the technical expertise of Teesside University academic Dr Yongxin Pang’s to work on the product reformulation needed to create the nation’s next-generation insulation coating. Alongside Dr Pang, Dr Sergio Rodriguez and Dr Farzad Rahimian are working with renowned social housing provider Thirteen Group on the design, monitoring and digital integration of indoor environmental quality and energy related factors within a pilot demonstration.

Joff Ward, managing director for Corksol, explains: “The nation is facing real problems. The UK housing and construction market is one of many industries negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, while ageing homes and fuel poverty are ongoing issues that need to be addressed.

“By innovating and pushing the boundaries of our current cork product, we aim to deliver a ground-breaking solution that could answer the needs of 7.7 million hard to treat homes in the UK that suffer from a lack of insulation, leading to poor health and ever increasing fuel bills.

“It’s time to safeguard the future of those living in ageing properties and fight the fight against known respiratory problems caused by poor insulation.”


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