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10/02/2020

PI-KEM receives Grant funding for growth and reduction of Carbon Footprint

PI-KEM has been allocated over £23, 000 from two funds – BGP2 and LCBEP to enable their offices in Wilnecote to be upgraded and made more energy efficient, allowing for growth and increased employment.

PI-KEM is a supplier and distributor of Scientific Research Equipment and Advanced Materials into the Science and Technology sector including universities and commercial companies across the world.  One of the key areas we currently work in is battery development, providing the equipment and materials to make, test and further develop coin, pouch and cylinder cells – or watch, phone and AA batteries as we would recognise them; to allow them to have a longer life and less environmental impact.  These developments can then be up-scaled for use in domestic appliances, such as vacuum cleaners, and electric vehicles.  We have close links with both Warwick and Coventry University who are leading research in this field.

PI-KEM was set up in 1992 by Dr Ian Rouse, an industrial chemist, and was based at his home in Surrey.  It is now run by his son Colin Rouse, a Chemical Engineer, and operates out of three industrial units in Wilnecote and employs 18 staff with plans for a further two to join the team in the next 12 months.  To allow for this growth the company had been looking to move premises but after an extensive search changed the focus to improving those they were already in.  The Directors identified the Business Growth Programme that is managed by Birmingham City Council and GBSLEP and funded by the European Union ERDF, as a grant-funding route that matched their needs. 

They were allocated £20, 000 from this fund in June 2019 and since then the improvement works have taken place to convert unused warehouse space into office space.  At the same time as this the LCBEP programme, that again is funded by the ERDF but administered by Staffordshire Business and Environmental Network and Staffordshire County Council awarded the company just over £3, 000 in funding to improve lighting and heating in the remaining parts of the building resulting in reducing costs and significantly reducing our carbon footprint.

At the outset of the project the Directors at PI-KEM wanted to try, as far as possible to utilize local contractors and this has been achieved as all companies, except the furniture supplied by ORS at Burton, are Tamworth or Lichfield based.  This includes the key project manager, CMC Limited and main build contractor CIML.

Fiona Rouse, Operations Director, says

"The awarding of these two grants has given the company a significant push forward in its development as without it we would not have been able to make the huge changes to our work environment as quickly as we have.  It has given us a light, well-heated working space that allows better team collaboration but at the same time gives break out space and a designated meeting room and training area.  It has already allowed us to employ another full-time sales-person and we are currently recruiting for a second. Based on the changes in the lighting and heating,  forward projections suggest a saving of around £2000 a year in energy costs and an annual decrease carbon production of 4.5 tonnes.  We are incredibly grateful to the BGP2 and LCBEP team for their support as well as the European Union ERDF fund.  I hope that other SME’s in Tamworth take the opportunity to access this funding to gain the benefits that we have."

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