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Cambridge University Entrepreneurs


Carlos and Alex in the spotlight being grilled by the angels

Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, Alex Domin and Prof Howard Chase from the Department of Chemical Engineering have won the final of the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs' business creation competition. The team is called EnvAl (Environmental Aluminium) and the prize giving took place on Friday 13th May 2005.

Carlos is a post-doctoral researcher and Alex is a PhD student and they have been awarded £150,000 to help them turn their recycling process into a commercial venture.

EnvAl, which began life as Dr Ludlow-Palafox's PhD project, is developing a new technology for recycling the millions of Tetrapak drink cartons thrown away every year. Its new process extracts usable aluminium, oil and gas from the cartons, so that they can be completely recycled rather than thrown away.

Three teams won the £50K Business Creation Competition: EnvAl, BOPPHY Technologies and Cambfix. They then each had the chance to make a pitch to six of the city's leading business angels and entrepreneurs. Only EnvAl succeeded in persuading the experts into giving their business £150,000 of start-up funding. EnvAl is also gaining vital commercial expertise as the 'angels' - who include Acorn Computers and ARM co-founder Hermann Hauser, telecoms guru David Cleevely and serial bioscience entrepreneur Andy Richards - have agreed that one of them will join the board of EnvAl to help steer it through its early stages.


The £50K Business Creation Competition was set up at the University of Cambridge in 2000, inspired by the highly successful $50K Competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Since then it has distributed more than £200,000 in prize money and spun out more than 18 companies headed by students and other University members, with the support of sponsors including the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI), the Cambridge Science Park and ARM.