North East-based Bespoke Concrete Products has secured a patent for a unique innovation, glow in the dark concrete, which is being showcased as part of the Great Exhibition of the North.
The Prudhoe company’s development, Nitecrete, stores power to enable concrete to emit a “glow” and can be used in a variety of applications from road direction and safety signage to art installations.
Completely environmentally-friendly, the innovation creates a renewable light source that has no carbon emissions and requires no electrical connections or batteries through the use of man-made, non-toxic, non-radioactive chemical materials.
Early installations include Science Central in Newcastle, the dark skies environment in Kielder Forest, Northumberland and the sea front in Whitley Bay.
Most recently, Nitecrete has been incorporated into an art installation on the banks of the River Tyne as part of the Great Exhibition of the North, which celebrates light innovation.
Each of artist Ryan Gander’s black concrete sculptures in Baltic Square, which describe an object originally designed to emit or shine light with historical provenance in the North of England, contain Nitecrete. When it gets dark on the Quayside the sculptures, which include George Stephenson’s Miner’s Lamp and Joseph Swan’s incandescent light bulb, emit light from a ring of Nitecrete.
The innovation was developed during a five-year research and development programme, which was supported by Newcastle-based advisors, Ryecroft Glenton (RG).
RG helped Bespoke Concrete Products to secure R&D tax relief for the development of the product, in addition to providing business support for its accounting requirements and business advice to assist with the company’s growth strategy.
The company, which currently employs 44 people, aims to increase its workforce by 30 percent in the next 18 months as it develops the market for Nitecrete in the UK and internationally.
Martin Kay, Managing Director of Bespoke Concrete Products, said: “We are very proud to secure the patent for Nitecrete, which protects the hard work of our highly-skilled craftspeople and technicians who have developed the product. This will enable the company to establish it as a new solution for multiple sectors across the country and further afield.”
“While it is visually impressive as part of an art installation or public realm development, it offers benefits in areas such as road safety and provides an alternative signage option, particularly in locations where there is no power available.”
He added: “As an SME it’s really important to ensure that we can invest in the future of the company without taking our focus and resources away from our existing operations. The support we have received from RG to secure the tax relief was essential during the research and development stage of the project as was the advice and guidance its team have given to our business.”
Chris Robson, Managing Partner at RG, said: “R&D tax relief and tax credits are a beneficial way to enable SMEs to develop new products and innovations that can secure the future of their businesses and remain ahead of the curve in competitive markets. Bespoke Concrete Products is a great example of the creative, manufacturing-based businesses that have given the North East its industrial credentials for generations and will ensure the region continues to be at the forefront of innovation for many years to come.”