Manchester, UK – A UK start-up has developed new doormats based mainly on recycled rubber from end-of-life tires (ELTs), offering both a solution for a long-life product and the increasing tire waste issue.
SpaceMat uses a minimum of 80% recycled rubber, reinforced by graphene for enhanced properties, explained CEO SpaceBlue Ltd Vivke Koncherry.
"By adding graphene into the SpaceMat, we improved its properties such as compression and this directly affect longevity," Koncherry said in a written statement to ERJ 14 Oct.
The addition of graphene also addresses the problem of particles or rubber crumb falling off the edge of the mat, which according to Koncherry is "the biggest concern" of current products in the market.
Supported by Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) at the University of Manchester and the European Union ERDF funding, Koncherry has tested and brought the product to the market and is currently in the process of filing a patent.
For its initial production, SpaceBlue has used tire waste from European sources, which meet the SVHC (substance of very high concern) requirements under REACH. Kochenerry did not offer further details of ELT volumes used for the production of each mat.
The company can presently produce about 2,500 mats/day, and is in the process of scaling the volume.
Currently exploring private and crowdfuning options, Koncherry expects to commercialise production through a manufacturing site in India within a year.
In the second phase, production will be expanded by a “vertically integrated” facility in Manchester, said the CEO.
For the third phase, Koncherry’s target is to diversify products, establish new facilities through partnerships and licence the technology to interested parties.
“We are already in talks with a Brazilian and Slovakian company to licence the technology,” said Koncherry, “In the future, we plan to use local waste for the local market and made locally.”
In the meantime, SpaceBlue is working on a series of products such as a large size interlinking gymnasium mats and extra size antivirus doormats, which are expected to be ready in six weeks’ time.
The company is also looking for other mass-market application using its rubber recycling platform technology.
Commenting on the product, James Baker, CEO [email protected] GEIC, said SpaceMat was a ‘sustainability focussed graphene enhanced product.’
SpaceBlue is a spin-off of GEIC, which supported the development of SpaceMat through its ‘bridging the gap’ programme.
The programme, according to Baker, is specifically aimed at supporting SME’s and start-ups in accelerating the introduction of graphene products into the market.