Posted on Tuesday 12 March 2013 by Ulster Business
Professor Stuart James of MOF Technologies celebrates the company's first sale at the launch of the 2013 NISP CONNECT 25k Awards with Programme Director Peter Edgar and Ciaran McGivern, Head of Business Banking at Bank of Ireland UK.
The announcement was made at the launch of the 2013 competition, which is designed to showcase innovative research and intellectual property with commercial potential from publicly funded institutions in Northern Ireland.
The company, based at Queen's University Belfast, is manufacturing a new class of highly porous materials - metal organic frameworks - that can store, separate and capture specific gases.
"It's a small order, but a very significant one," said Professor Stuart James, MOF's Chief Technical Officer. "Until now, the only commercial source for materials like these has been a single multi-national company. We have now broken that monopoly.
"Our aim now is to grow our international market and to satisfy that demand by making larger amounts of materials that we can sell direct at a substantially more advantageous price through our own website."
Prof James said that over the past few weeks the company had made a big breakthrough in regard to a novel manufacturing method. Potential applications for MOFs include natural gas storage in vehicles, carbon capture, catalysis and drug delivery.
"Thanks to our 25k Awards win, we have been offered significant venture capital funding and we are now looking to scale up manufacturing with the eventual aim of moving to a new, dedicated facility," he added.
The NISP CONNECT 25k Awards are sponsored by Bank of Ireland.
Ciaran McGivern, Head of Business Banking BOI UK, said: "Developing innovative ideas that have market potential is at the core of Northern Ireland's mission to create a more vibrant private sector and we are very proud and delighted to continue our support and commitment to helping realise these ambitions through our sponsorship of this programme.
"The continued success achieved by MOF Technologies since winning the 25k Awards is a shining example of the potential in Northern Ireland to develop, nurture and support local companies capable of serving global markets with world class products and services."
Over the course of six months, select teams are challenged to refine their ideas and incorporate key start-up strategies to develop comprehensive business models to present to a panel of highly qualified and experienced judges.
Programme Director Peter Edgar said the 25k mission was to find the best intellectual property with the most commercial potential from the hi-tech, bio-tech, clean-tech and digital media and software sectors within the local research community.
"If we are to transform Northern Ireland into an entrepreneurial knowledge economy it is vital that we encourage local innovation by connecting those with the best ideas to experienced industry mentors and investors who can help commercialise them," he said.
Anyone who would like to apply for the competition should click on www.25kaward.co.uk.