Cambridge recycling spin-out Enval secures funding for first commercial plant


University of Cambridge spin-out Enval has secured further funding for the commercialisation of its technology for the recycling of plastic-aluminium laminate packaging.

Through the Discovery Fund, Cambridge Enterprise has made its third investment in the company, which was spun-out from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology in 2005. Other investors in this funding round include business angels from both Cambridge Capital Group and Cambridge Angels.

Enval focuses on providing specialist solutions across industrial, commercial and municipal sectors to deliver value from waste. The company’s patented technology offers a genuine recycling route for plastic-aluminium laminate packaging, which is used in toothpaste tubes, coffee pouches, pet food bags and drink cartons. To date, plastic-aluminium laminate has been unrecyclable.

The award-winning process developed by Enval uses microwaves to break down the laminate. The laminate is heated up in the absence of oxygen, preventing it from burning. When a high enough temperature is reached, the plastic in the packaging will begin to break down, separating it from the aluminium. What remains is clean aluminium ready for introduction into the secondary aluminium supply chain, and hydrocarbons that can be used as fuel or chemical feedstock. The process offers a much more beneficial outcome for waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill or incinerated.

“Enval is delighted to announce the completion of this funding round and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our current investors for their support,” said Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, co-founder and CTO of Enval. “With this investment and the backing from our industrial partners, Kraft Foods and Nestlé, Enval expects to bring its first commercial plant into service towards the middle of this year.”

The new plant will be used to showcase Enval’s technology to potential customers across the waste sector.

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