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Issue 471, 22 October 2001

Where there's mulch

Biology lecturer Dr Geoff Whiteley has been awarded £48,000 to commercialise his research into environmentally friendly methods of creating peat-free compost and mulch.

Dr Whiteley’s innovation, (Reporter 458) uses ordinary straw, coated with a naturally occurring mineral preparation, creating a cost-effective, light and long-lasting mulch, with qualities similar to peat.

The award, from the lottery funded National Endowment for Science Technology & the Arts (NESTA) looks not only at the commercial potential of the project, but also at the benefits to society and the environment, and is based on a percentage return if the project becomes successful.

Dr Whiteley plans to use the money to protect the intellectual property rights – patents are currently being applied for with the help of Leeds Innovations – and to undertake commerical scale trials in the UK.

For more information, see the NESTA website

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