Sustainability Master Class Reviews

The Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University is running a new series of its highly acclaimed Master Class to help business decision makers and entrepreneurs explore the growing bioeconomy and the opportunities it offers.

To hear what previous delegates say about our master class and the benefits of attending, see below.

For more videos from our previous Value from Waste master class, see here. Or to see a selection of short films about EBRI and the bioeconomy, visit our Films page.

Brian Millington, Our Green Shop Ltd

Based in Bridgnorth, Our Green Shop is a not-for-profit and community owned shop selling zero waste wholefoods, local goods, plant based and organic food, environmental cleaners and household products. The shop promotes local sustainability using minimal packaging to reduce waste and offer a low-impact local delivery service. For more information please visit

The EBRI Master Class helped Brian to really understand the sustainable business sector, where Our Green Shop fits within the network of sustainable businesses, and how they can benefit from those connections.

Campbell Scott, AtomicTractor Ltd

Based in Coventry, AtomicTractor specialise in low carbon solutions for tractors and are taking the next steps in commercialising low carbon tractors for global agriculture.

Campbell believes that sustainability is important for all of us in every role that we play in life, and that we need to be looking at sustainable practices and methods of production. He hopes that tractors can be produced for an agricultural system that can produce food sustainably.

He really enjoyed the presentations from specialists at the EBRI Master Class and the opportunity to learn first hand from experts in the subject.

Clive Gurney, Gurney & Sons

Gurney & Sons is a farming company involved in crop production and energy production, and they also have a 1,000 cow unit under their management. They have been looking into improving their self-generated energy, for example using AD plants, photovoltaic, and ground source heating.

The Master Class has given Clive insight into developments in the industry, potential ways of improving their business, and the opportunity to network with other interested parties. Clive felt that the class surpassed his expectations and that he would be thinking about what he had learnt for quite some time.

Comfort Tevera, Savannah Environmental Consultancy Ltd

Savannah Environmental are a consultancy in Solihull providing specialist environmental support and advice. They help businesses move towards net zero and provide services such as environmental permit applications, impact assessments and ISO 14001 implementation.

Comfort found that the Master Class allowed her to hear the environmental challenges that other businesses were experiencing, and see where Savannah Environmental can offer their support and expertise to drive industry in the right direction.

Martin Shenton, Farm Black Magic Ltd

Farm Black Magic are a start-up company setting up a biochar unit in Rutland.

Martin attended the Master Class to discover other examples of the technology being used in different ways and to add to their knowledge base. He found the class was a catalyst both for gaining knowledge and for networking with people going through a similar process.

Debbie Murphy, Missfit Creations

Missfit Creations is a vintage clothing restorer and sustainable fashion designer based in Tamworth. The company’s founder Debbie is a dressmaker, using traditional tailoring and her experience of costume design and clothing alteration to breathe new life into old clothes. To keep a sustainable ethic, Debbie has developed a range of recycled and reworked clothing to try and maintain a zero waste policy – see

Debbie found the Master Class really useful, as it introduced her to some new topics and was a great way to network with some interesting businesses.

Nigel Saunders, Webb Hotel Group

The Webb Hotel Group is a collection of family-owned and run properties in Staffordshire, West Midlands and Gloucestershire. Sustainability is important to the Group, and in the past few years they have installed biomass boilers at three of their hotels and solar panels at two of their properties. They have found that recycling waste is the biggest sustainability challenge that they face.

Nigel attended the Master Class in order to enhance his knowledge and look at where the group could go in the future regarding sustainability. He found that the Master Class was very enlightening and provided much food for thought.

Sarah Battye, Liberation Coffee Ltd

Liberation Coffee is a start-up providing coffee van services for events such as concerts, cinema screenings and wedding fairs. Sarah wants to start up in as eco-friendly a way as possible and is interested about how to make the most out of sustainable opportunities such as biodiesel and used coffee grounds.

She found the Master Class helpful, inspiring, and thought it was brilliant to meet other like-minded businesses who care about sustainability.

Stuart Austin, Carbiome Ltd

Carbiome Ltd’s mission is to develop a network of biodiversity facilities that demonstrate effective solutions for reducing wildfire risk, using pyrolysis technology.

At the Master Class, Stuart found it exciting to hear about practical sustainable applications that can be used now, not just in the future, and he met some very interesting people from a variety of different backgrounds.

Tony Brachmanski, Aligned Certification Ltd

Based in Wolverhampton, Aligned Certification Ltd is a professional certification body providing ISO certifications across a broad range of industries. Part of the services offered includes assessing companies for ISO 14001 Environmental Certification, and helping companies improve their efficiency and the environment they’re working within.

Tony found the information from the Master Class to be really helpful and practical for keeping up to date with the latest trends and information – which he can pass on to colleagues and clients.

Beate Pesian, Worksmith Ltd

Worksmith Ltd are a recruitment company based in Walsall and specialise in the sustainability, IT, and executive search sectors.

Beate considers sustainability to be important to the business and wants to find out what more they could do in this area. She found the EBRI Master Class to be encouraging and engaging, and enjoyed the opportunity to network with other companies interested in sustainability.

Charlotte Smith, Caradoc Charcoal Ltd

Caradoc Charcoal produce sustainably and responsibly sourced British charcoal in Shropshire. They have found that people now want to shop more sustainably and are willing to pay a bit more for something they know is local.

EBRI offered Caradoc the chance to get their charcoal tested, and the results backed up what they were aiming to do – create a charcoal product with a clean burn. EBRI have also helped them test a product made from a residual material – Biochar. Charlotte says it is amazing what EBRI have been able to do for them, and would recommend EBRI’s brilliant team.

Eleanor Stradling, Zero Waste in a Box Ltd

Zero Waste in a Box are a Shropshire based company who provide circular waste systems, primarily at food festivals. Customers’ and vendors’ waste is gathered, sorted and sent off to be recycled. Difficult to recycle waste, such as used sunflower oil, can also be collected and sold.

They are involved with a project in Newtown, Shropshire that aims to change the way people think about their waste, such as how it can be repurposed into a new product for sale. Eleanor learnt a lot from the EBRI Master Class and enjoyed the variety of different businesses that attended.

Maddie Booth, Scrubbee Ltd

Scrubbee is a sustainable skincare start-up based in Birmingham that focuses on taking by-products from the food and drink industry and upcycling them into affordable skincare products.

Having started by using upcycled coffee grounds, they are now looking at what other by-products could be repurposed, including from the beer and wine industries. Maddie found the EBRI Master Class helpful for discovering potential new by-products to use in the Scrubbee range.

Philip Jones, Work Horizons / Achaleon

Achaleon provide marketing support services to small technology businesses. Philip feels it is time to not just help technology companies, but companies who want to use technology to improve the environment and be sustainable.

At the EBRI Master Class he discovered useful new ways of looking at environmental technologies and sustainability.

Steve Davies, Living Space Housing Ltd

Living Space Housing is an affordable housing developer based in Solihull. Steve feels that sustainability is something that appeals to both their staff and client base. Improving the energy performance of their housing is a key consideration to make sure they require less energy to run and help lift residents out of fuel poverty.

Steve jumped on the opportunity to attend the EBRI Master Class as a chance to meet like-minded people and learn new things in a structured environment.

Steve Last, IPPTS Associates

IPPTS Associates provide assistance in environmental and waste management. Steve takes an interest in anaerobic digestion and this is one area he is keen to help people with.

He found that the EBRI Master Class stimulated a lot of thought and was very pleased to have attended.

Bevil Williams, RE-PC Ltd

RE-PC Ltd are a West Bromwich based business specialising in the re-purposing of electronic equipment. They provide a compliant service to large companies and organisations for the de-commissioning of old IT equipment.

RE-PC are big believers in the circular economy and aim to re-purpose as much of the old equipment as possible – primarily into local communities to help address digital poverty. Following discussions with EBRI experts and delegates at the EBRI Master Class, Bevil feels they are in a good position to move their sustainability agenda along.

Cassandra Kirk, Sweetmeat Inc. Ltd

Based in Stirchley in south Birmingham, Sweetmeat Inc. is a producer of fudge and other confectionery. When it came to packaging, Cassandra considered it a no brainer to go down the sustainable route right from the start. She believes being plastic free has bolstered her business credentials.

Cassandra had already been looking into low carbon funding opportunities, and attending the EBRI Master Class has also opened her eyes to a wider range of available technologies.

Jon Wellman, Social Value Works UK

Social Value Works aims to help build stronger communities and promote corporate social responsibility by building relationships between the private sector and the social enterprise sector.

Jon is interested about how sustainability fits into the bigger picture, and found that interacting with other delegates from a range of backgrounds was a really useful aspect of the EBRI Master Class.

Lesley Powell, Landmark Associates Ltd

Landmark Associates are a Staffordshire based grower of miscanthus grass for biofuel feedstock.

Lesley came away from the EBRI Master Class feeling a lot more positive about the future for her grandchildren, as she found that all the delegates in the room were enthusiastic to talk and help each other become more sustainable.

Mark Winnington, Woodside Farm

Woodside Farm are a grower of miscanthus grass in Staffordshire. Miscanthus crops lock in a large volume of carbon per hectare, and Woodside Farm use no fertiliser or chemicals in the growing process before the crop is sent away for use in power generation.

Mark is looking to find other alternative uses for the miscanthus crop, and believes that guidance from academia and universities will be key to helping himself and others improve their sustainability.

Nigel Ryan, EVC Solutions Ltd

EVC Solutions are a Stafford based installer of electric vehicle charge points for SMEs. Being part of the electric vehicle business, Nigel says it is important that they really understand sustainability and run the business with this as their number one priority.

Nigel aims for their entire value chain and operations to have sustainability in mind, and found that the EBRI Master Class enabled a broader view of sustainability beyond battery power and electric vehicles.

Will Vaughan, Pedicargo

Based in Hereford, Pedicargo provide pedal powered pedicab hire for parcel delivery, waste recycling, and infrastructure solutions. Will believes that as an organisation, Pedicargo can lead from the front regarding sustainability and that there is no other choice anymore, we have to start being sustainable.

Pedicargo are developing new machinery, processing waste themselves, and developing new resources – but are now at the point where they need extra help to achieve sustainability goals. The EBRI Master Class has given Will the opportunity to discover technical support available through EBRI to help Pedicargo achieve their goals.

Business Reviews

Russ Taylor, Velorim Ltd

Velorim based in Cannock, Staffordshire was spun out of a charity that recycles bicycles – specifically the rubber waste. In the UK, 30 million bicycle tyres, and 150 million inner tubes are disposed of per year, going straight into landfill.

Velorim Director, Russ Taylor is exploring alternative markets to reprocess these waste materials into bare constituent products that can be used in manufacturing. By attending the EBRI Value from Waste Master Class he discovered more about pyrolysis –  a process that can generate energy from waste, and how it compares economically to remanufacturing rubber waste.

Darren Bland, CQA International Ltd

CQA International based in Staffordshire specialises in environmental engineering solutions for the waste management and mining industries. One of the biggest challenges the company faces is dealing with the sheer quantities of waste.

According to Darren Bland of CQA, “Although technologies are moving forward, they are not moving forward as fast as waste streams are changing”. He attended the EBRI Value from Waste Master Class to get a broader understanding of general bioenergy technologies and where they are at currently.

Andrew Emery, Orca Enviro Systems (UK)

Andrew Emery of Orca Enviro Systems (UK) talks about the challenges of bringing their new patented waste management technology to the UK market.

His attendance of the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class held in Lichfield, West Midlands has allowed him the opportunity to get a high level of understanding of the current environment, and to network with other people in the same arena.

Oladimeji Ogunjimi, Boldstep Resources

Boldstep Resources, founded by Oladimeji Ogunjimi, specialises in managing waste items that can be reused, including metals such as aluminium. Oladimeji attended the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class, held in Lichfield, to enhance his understanding of opportunities in the energy from waste market.

Here he highlights what he sees as the two main challenges in waste management – technology and funding.

Helen Holman, Biomass and Sustainability Business Development

Helen Holman’s company provides a whole range of specialist marketing skills to the bioenergy sector. Here she gives an insight into how the two-day EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class has helped broaden her knowledge in this area.

She points out that that although end users are becoming more conscious of the sustainability angle, industry leaders haven’t quite fully cottoned onto this.

Anthony Walters, Spookfish

Anthony Walters from Spookfish, a small consultancy, helps businesses to identify cost savings and ultimately grow. Here he outlines the sectors he has engaged with and explains his commitment to low carbon voluntary work in his local area of Lichfield. He believes this has helped enhance his knowledge of the bioenergy sector and would like to see local communities taking control of their own future.

Eric Dauleu, Edenviro Biomass

Eric Dauleu is from a recently established company Edenviro Biomass based in Ludlow. The business produces sustainable and quality biomass fuel and provides a consultancy service. Here he discusses the challenge of being part of a new business and how the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class highlighted areas he has not previously considered, made him aware of new technologies and allowed him to meet local businesses.

Maurice Bottomley, Lodge Cottrell

Maurice Bottomley of Lodge Cottrell supplies flue gas treatment systems and develops energy from waste projects. He talks about his passion for the industry and highlights the breadth and scope of pursuing a career in the bioenergy resource management sector. He’s keen to develop his knowledge and points out how his attendance at the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class has enhanced this, in addition to providing a valuable networking opportunity with the other attendees.

Richard Collins, MJS Alternative Heating Solutions

Richard Collins business MJS Alternative Heating Solutions provides mechanical and electrical plumbing and heating installations, with a focus on alternative heating systems such as biomass boilers using logs, chips and pellets. Here he explains how the renewable sector is changing and how the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class has given him a better understanding of some of the potential products he is considering, as well as new innovations and cutting edge technology.

Ajinder Bains, BeeEco

Ajinder Bains of BeeEco explains how the fully funded solar panel business works and how the company is just about to launch a new product called ice cold. He talks about his interest in renewable energy, how he is keen to explore the world of biomass and comments on how his attendance at the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class has given him a great deal of food for thought.

Nik Muhammad, Pioneers Associates

Pioneers Associates’ Nik Muhammad outlines the work of the transport business he represents and talks about how the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class enabled him to consider new technologies and how they can be implemented on a number of different levels. In addition to the important role businesses need to play in the future.

Gareth Emberton, Emberton Environmental

Gareth Emberton’s company Emberton Environmental focusses on the horticultural landscape and construction sectors. Here he highlights the need to learn about new opportunities for green waste acknowledging what a huge sector this is. He comments after spending two days at the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class he won’t quite look at waste in the same way again.

Derek Jones, SER Technologies

Specialising in renewable energy solutions, Derek Jones from SER Technologies, discusses his interest in the waste to energy sector and how relevant to their business the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class proved to be, particularly the sessions on combustion, gasification and pyrolysis. He plans to continue working with EBRI to discover more about pyrolysis plants.

Cath Edwards, Credibly Green Ltd

Credibly Green helps businesses to look at their waste, as well as energy and water use to save money. Here, Cath Edwards of Credibly Green describes the current drivers for companies to look at the need to measure their environmental impact, and how she has benefited from attending the ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class at EBRI, Aston University.

Oliver Lloyd, Modus Waste & Recycling Ltd

Oliver Lloyd’s company Modus Waste & Recycling based in Stourbridge collects food waste from  local businesses. Their main objective is to divert waste from the landfill process and put it back into the community, through the most efficient process. Here he gives an overview of how the EBRI ‘Value from Waste’ Master Class has helped him broaden his knowledge of the various state-of–the–art technologies available to process different types of waste. To see more about his company click here.

Andrew Goddard, Freeland Horticulture Ltd

Andrew, of Freeland Horticulture, a nationwide producer and supplier of soils, talks about the challenges of converting waste streams containing plastics into viable material that can be put into soil. He attended the EBRI Master Class to gain an insight into the various thermochemical technologies and processes which could help his business meet this challenge

Arun Luther, Genesis Innovations Ltd

Arun Luther of Genesis Innovations in Birmingham provides help to SMEs, including start-up companies, to develop technology solutions and to raise finance for their business growth needs. One of his current projects, for instance, revolves around plastic recycling, and he is looking at ways that ‘end-of-life’ plastic can be converted into fuel. The EBRI Master Class provided Arun with the opportunity to meet other businesses and to explore potential opportunities for him to provide assistance in his specialist area.

Colin Oakley, Ozone Efficiency

Colin Oakley, Managing Director of Ozone Efficiency specialises in reducing problems for other companies, including cutting chemical bills, energy bills and reducing waste. Here he explains how he found the EBRI Bioenergy Master Class enlightening, and how it has given him ideas about new markets for his product, which he previously would not have considered.

Darren Wright, Uniconfort – UK Ltd

Darren Wright of biomass boiler manufacturer, Uniconfort, is working with Absotherm Services, a producer and importer of absorption chillers. Together they are collaborating to create cooling from heat. The EBRI Bioenergy Master Class has given him a deeper understanding of waste products and how they can be used productively, for instance for fuels from waste.

David Thompson, Agripellets Ltd

Agripellets Ltd process agricultural residues, primarily straw and Miscanthus grass grown in the West Midlands area, into pellets. Here David Thompson describes how historically Agripellets have supplied these pellets for power generation and commercial heat, and by attending the EBRI Bioenergy Master Class at Aston University has helped him explore other ways of adding value to these products.

Donna Galt, Marketing & Sustainability Consultant

Sustainability and Marketing Consultant, Donna Galt helps businesses to understand the value of becoming more sustainable and how that can lead to new product and service design. Having attended the EBRI Bioenergy Master Class at Aston University, she explains how it enlightened her about the breadth of potential growth areas for business.

Eva Martinez, EST Translations

Eva Martinez of EST Translations provides environmental translational services to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) on both a local and international basis. She attended the two-day EBRI Bioenergy Master Class to get a better understanding of the technology and processes used in this area, and to engage with Aston University, as well as other businesses.

Fabion Wasa, Ariise Technologies Ltd

Fabion’s company Ariise Technologies, is a start-up business which supplies technology solutions to help improve people’s lives in third world countries, particularly in the areas of preparing food, accessing energy and cleaner water, as well as hospital equipment. He attended the EBRI Master Class to gain a better understanding of bioenergy, and for guidance and ideas on how to take his prototype to market.

Hadrian Garner, Severn Group Ltd

Hadrian Garner of Severn Group, a mechanical engineering and commercial gas company based in Stourport, talks about his company’s involvement in bioenergy and Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants. Following on from attending the EBRI Bioenergy Master Class at Aston University, he is thinking ahead about future commercial opportunities in the areas of bioenergy and biodigestion.

Jaymish Patel and Viral Patel, Biofuel Evolution Ltd

Aston University graduates and business partners Jaymish Patel and Viral Patel are exploring ways to convert waste streams into liquid biofuels. Their start-up company Biofuel Evolution is looking to convert food waste from restaurants and cafes etc. into bioethanol utilising the pyrolysis process. Here they describe how the EBRI Bioenergy Master Class has helped inspire their business vision.

Jenny Rohde, Jones Newton Ltd

Jenny gives advice and support to companies regarding strategic marketing to help them improve their competitive positioning. Her clients include engineering companies in the environmental, manufacturing and water sectors. She attended the EBRI Master Class to gain an insight into the bioenergy market and the potential opportunities it could provide to her clients.

John Seaward, Tudor Griffiths Group

Tudor Griffiths Group, based in North Shropshire is a leading supplier of construction materials and building supplies, ready mixed concrete, waste management and recycling. The company’s Finance Director, John Seaward gives an overview of the company’s biomass project, and how attending the EBRI Master Class held at the unique CoRE building in Stoke has broadened his understanding of bioenergy and how everything fits together.

Lesley-Jane and Robin Powell, Landmark Associates Ltd

Miscanthus growers Lesley-Jane and Robin Powell talk about the potential benefits of growing this grass bioenergy crop on brown field sites in the West Midlands, and how it could benefit local communities. They describe how the EBRI Bioenergy Class which they attended has provided them with a central point of contact for advice and useful network links, and how the experience gained can help them develop their ideas.

Martin Mullan, The Big Changes Company

Martin’s company helps organisations improve value in the eyes of their own individual customers. This includes helping businesses identify areas of waste, both on a physical and practical basis. Here he describes how by attending the EBRI Bioenergy Master Class has brought value to him, in terms of gaining knowledge and networking opportunities.

Peter Francis, Midland Automation Technology Ltd

Peter runs Midland Automation Technology which designs and builds control systems for process plants including gasification plants, and biomass handling. He is working on a joint project with Concertive Engineering Services Ltd in Sedgley, West Midlands, and by attending the EBRI Master Class he was able to find out more about bioenergy, resources and practices, and to get ideas about process benefits they can introduce to the project.

Paul Eaton, Phoenix Wood Pellets

Phoenix Wood Pellets in Cradley Heath, West Midlands manufacture Grade A and B wood pellets for biomass markets to be used in various heating products. Here, Paul Eaton describes his interest in renewable energy, and recommends the two-day EBRI Master Class as a good grounding for anyone joining the bioenergy industry.

Sanjay Aggarwal, Spice Kitchen and Recorked UK

Sanjay Aggarwal, based in Birmingham runs two businesses: Spice Kitchen, a spice and tea manufacturer; and Recorked UK, the leading UK cork recycling scheme, predominantly from used wine stoppers. He attended the EBRI Bioenergy Master Class event to gain an understanding of alternative potential uses of the corks, e.g. as a biomass feedstock and a biofuel.

Simon Ighofose, PyroGenesys

Simon Ighofose’s company PyroGenesys Ltd is a start-up company which came out of Aston University in Birmingham. During this film footage, Simon highlights the benefits of working with bioenergy centre-of-excellence, the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), and the collaboration opportunities that are available for his business.