Polymer Research Tech Industries, a polyurethane rechecking company, won $130,000 in the British Columbia innovation Council's New Ventures Competition.
"The New Venture B.C. competition was really an honour," said Kambiz Taheri, founder and CEO of the company. "The competition was tight. . . . Practically all those companies are winners and they really deserved to be acknowledged and validated for the work that they do."
Polyurethane is a plastic that can be found in insulation foams, buildings, automotive parts, furniture and even clothing. When Polymer set up shop in 2007, its goal was to find a way to deal with waste foam that comes from polyurethane manufacturers.
"It's about an $80 billion industry . . . generating in North America alone about 2.1 million tons of waste a year, which is about 140,000 garbage trucks," said Taheri.
Because burning the foam is expensive and releases toxic fumes, it just sits in landfills. But through research, Polymer created a way to convert the foam into a liquid that can be used again and is safe and environmentally friendly.
"It's a major issue, and fortunately we have been able to resolve it through our innovative technology," said Taheri.
The company plans to use the cash they've been awarded to do more research. They'll be setting up six plants in North America within the next five years and will then decide whether to expand internationally. But Taheri said he's already had interest from China, Korea and South Africa. Winning the New Ventures Competition has only increased Polymer's profile, he added.
"We've been contacted by numerous investors as well as companies that have been following New Venture B.C. and this provides accelerated growth," he said.