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The six young businesses that will compete for a top prize of £25k (US $35.9k) and the title '2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year' have been announced by Shell LiveWIRE UK.

Each of the six finalists has already won a £5,000 (US $7,180) Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award which rewards innovative entrepreneurs whose businesses are helping to meet the ever-increasing energy and resource needs of a fast-growing population.

The six finalists were chosen from a total of 12 monthly Smarter Future Award winners over the past year by a panel of judges including: Shakeel Ahmed, Shell; Irene Maffini, Carbon Trust; Charles Mallo, Imperial College London; Richard New, Shell; Charlotte Waugh, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation; and, Jurga Zilinskiene, Today Translations.

The six finalists are:

Matthew McLaren - 'Entomics'

Entomics is pioneering the transformation of food waste into sustainable sources of fuel for plants, animals and vehicles. Instead of breaking food waste down, they're building it up into more complex and valuable chemical compounds using insects. Having food waste as the input and the Black Soldier Fly as the key catalyst, their process generates biodiesel from modified insect fats, with high protein animal feed and fertiliser/biopesticide arising as by-products. Each of their products acts as 'fuel' for a different industry – biodiesel in domestic heating and powering cars, animal feed in raising chickens, fish and other livestock, and fertiliser/biopesticide in improving agricultural yields.

Michael McLeod - 'Universal Resource Trading'

This business provides an easy way for universities to recoup space, generate revenue and prevent waste of their unwanted equipment. They collect, store and sell unwanted items from universities to their network of specialist business customers and then return a share of the profits back to the university. The scheme helps to tackle natural resource challenges by improving sustainability of the scientific industry and it will prevent an estimated 201.6 tonnes of useable equipment going to disposal by year three. The business recently acquired 300 chairs headed for disposal and sold them on, resulting in the prevention of four tonnes of waste, reducing CO2 by over 30,000kg.

Solveiga Pakštaitė - 'Design By Sol'

Design By Sol has developed an innovative, integrated, bio-reactive food expiry label, called Bump Mark, which is designed to indicate the condition of food inside its packaging. Using gelatine to model the decay process of food, Bump Mark is able to indicate exactly the condition the food inside the package is in, simply by running one's finger over the label. Almost half of all purchased food is wasted and the impact of food loss throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production to final household consumption, is not just financial. It also means that fertilizers, pesticides and transport fuel have been wasted. In a world with limited natural resources, Bump Mark's cost-effective food waste-reducing technology is a novel and standard-defining solution.

Thomas Robinson - 'Adaptavate'

Adaptavate is completely rethinking and redesigning how the new generation of building materials are made by developing bio-based building products that lock carbon into the fabric of buildings, helping to mitigate CO2 driven climate change. Adaptavate's first product, Breathaboard, is a bio-based alternative to plasterboard. It's installed in exactly the same way, except it provides a carbon sequestering potential to help mitigate CO2 driven climate change, and it is made of 75% plant matter so it provides a renewable solution to the 15 million tonnes of plasterboard globally that goes to landfill each year.

Adam Routledge - 'Edible Bug Farm'

Edible Bug Farm produces human grade edible insects using scientific management principles. They aim to be a leading expert and pioneer in the entomophagy industry, offering an alternative solution to the global food security crisis facing the world today. The technologies they are developing are designed specifically to be automated, cost-efficient, sustainable, and can be easily replicated to meet demand. Compared to traditional livestock, insects such as crickets have been found to be at least 11 times more efficient when it comes to feed to meat conversion. Whilst cows produce only 4kg of beef per 100 kg of feed, crickets produce 47kg of meat. Insects also require around 0.0005% of the water needed to produce the same amount of edible protein.

Ravi Toor - 'Filamentive'

Filamentive is a sustainable 3D printing material brand. Manufactured in Europe, their USP involves offering consumables with environmental credentials such as a low carbon footprint and advocate degradable bioplastics as opposed to harmful alternatives. It is estimated that only 1-3% of all plastics used are recycled, and the material is almost always non-biodegradable. Filamentive aims to reduce the problem by converting this waste into usable 3D printing filament, which can then be purchased by hobbyists, schools, businesses and retailers.

Who do you think will win? To find out if you're right, check out this blog next month.


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