Tom Robinson (Adaptavate) - 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner
Awards: June's Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award and the 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
For former builder Tom Robinson, the idea of creating a bio-based building material came about following his on-the-ground experience in the construction industry.
The first problem Tom discovered in UK buildings was condensation, which ultimately occurs as a result of poor insulation, alongside daily activities such as cooking and cleaning. Resulting mould is estimated to be a contributing cause in the increase of asthma across the UK1. The second, more traditional problem Tom encountered was waste. On-site, construction firms over-order supplies by an estimated 10 - 20%. What’s more, traditional plasterboard is treated as hazardous waste, going directly to landfill.
Seeing a gap in the market, Tom set out to develop and test bio-composite building materials which combat moisture build-up, without causing harm to the planet. The result was Breathaboard: a radical new plasterboard replacement constructed primarily from agricultural waste sourced from UK farmers.
“Working on-site allowed me to see first-hand the huge problems facing the construction industry. Breathaboard is part of the next generation of bio-based building materials. Because the board is a bio-composite, it can be composted, which helps reduce the amount of waste going to landfill” says Tom.
The road to success has been a learning process for Tom, who embarked on a Master’s Degree in sustainable architecture at the Centre of Alternative Technology in Wales while running his construction company. The coursework allowed him to test the bio-composite materials in Breathaboard and won him a place on the Climate-KIC Accelerator programme at Imperial College in London.
From a simple idea conceived on a building site, Adaptavate now counts Kevin McCloud of Channel 4’s Grand Designs as one of its biggest champions. Adaptavate has launched a pilot facility in Stroud, while the prototype continues to be developed and tested at Imperial College.
Tom won the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in June 2015 and was named the 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year. In July 2016, Tom took part in the Shell #makethefuture Accelerator, a workshop designed to take the company to the next level by helping it with key business challenges, including scaling, manufacturing and resourcing.
“Winning the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year title is a fantastic endorsement of our business,” says Tom. “We are looking forward to getting our high performing bio-composite materials off the ground, and the award gives us the financial support and credibility boost to make these plans a reality.”
Tom Robinson (L) with Erik Bonino, Chairman, Shell UK
Visit the Adaptavate
website to find out more about Tom Robinson and his business, or you can follow them on Twitter @adaptavate
Elevator Pitch Video
You can watch Adaptavate's elevator pitch video again in the video player in the top right-hand corner of this page.