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£4.85m funding for firm behind North East ‘deeptech’ recycling plans


Descycle, a cleantech recycling firm that is due to bring an electricals recycling plant to the North East in partnership with Gateshead’s GAP Group next year, has landed £4.85m in its latest funding round.

The pre-Series A round was led by UK Venture Capital group TSP Ventures, and Descycle said it received investment from notable US and UK Venture Capital funds including Deep Future, Kero Development Partners and Green Angel Syndicate.

Descycle added that the round was further supported by senior resource industry executives including Mark Cutifani (former CEO, Anglo American) and Stephen McIntosh (former Head of Innovation, Rio Tinto).

CPI, a UK Technology Innovation Centre specialised in commercialising early-stage technologies and Descycle’s existing technical partner, also participated in the Funding Round. Decycle currently uses CPI’s Darlington labs and is looking to open a pilot plant nearby on Teesside ahead of the full Gateshead facility in 2024.

Descycle’s technology replaces current recycling technology with Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES, hence the name) technology, meaning that polluting electrical waste, including those pesky environmentally harmful  discarded mobile phones can be recycled in a cheaper and cleaner way. Descycle’s research shows that the current footprint of a single discarded mobile phone includes 67kg of CO2 emissions, 62 different metals and metalloids, 2,760 litres of water, 18 square meters of land, and for
34 tonnes of ore to be mined, alongside 20.5g of cyanide.

It describes its technology as “a new and innovative class of chemistry, with unique properties that enable a tailorable method for the recycling and recovery of valuable metals, at low cost and zero emissions. DES has the potential to disrupt the metals industry and solve some of the world’s most pressing resource issues; including low-emission recycling and unlocking new supplies of critical minerals.

Leonidas Howden, Descycle MD, said: “2023 will be an incredibly important year for Descycle, seeing major milestones achieved and significant commercial advancements. We are delighted with the level of interest this Funding Round has generated, which includes highly credible investors from some of the leading names in the clean tech and deep tech VC sectors and the metals industry. This shows how far our technology has come and how much potential it has as a sustainable metal recycling and recovery solution.

“We have a unique, highly disruptive, sustainable technology, with a clear path to commercialisation. The success of the technology is underpinned by the high calibre of our team and the commitment of our investors, and we are excited for the future of the company.”

Descycle, originally a spin-out from the University of Leicester though now heavily invested in the North East, describes itself as a ‘deeptech.’ It estimates that its planned Gateshead site could handle 5,000 tonnes of waste each year and generate revenues of £62.8m.

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