Aiste Kurkulyte




Plus X


Central Research Laboratory

Climate change has brought the need for sustainable solutions to the forefront. From energy-efficient appliances to renewable energy sources, there are many ways in which individuals and businesses can contribute to a greener future. One key concept in this effort is the idea of Net Zero, which refers to achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.

While many large corporations are acting towards this goal, the power of hardware startups to drive positive change cannot be underestimated. By leveraging innovation and technology, these small yet mighty companies can make a significant impact towards creating sustainable products that benefit our planet.

That is why, to celebrate our anniversary 10th cohort of our flagship CRL Accelerator programme, this year we decided to introduce a new programme theme and structure. Born from the internationally recognised CRL Accelerator programme, CRL Accelerator: Makers of Net Zero offers hardware startups 3 months of intensive product development support to test and validate an innovative technology that contributes towards the Net Zero mission.

We believe that Net Zero is the ultimate goal for a sustainable future; a call to action that offers us a chance to collectively shape our future. At its core, Net Zero is a journey that starts with small steps but leads to significant change. At Plus X, we believe this complex challenge cannot be solved by software alone. This is why we are thrilled to empower and accelerate hardware startups who want to drive this change and make a difference in the world.

Selecting The Cohort

To select the most promising companies for this cohort, we held a rigorous CRL Accelerator selection bootcamp earlier in March. We invited 14 hardware startups innovating for Net Zero to exchange ideas, share insights and learnings, and pitch their businesses to our team.
CRL Accelerator Selection bootcamp participants
CRL Accelerator Selection bootcamp participants

We then handpicked seven exceptional startups who are ready to embark on an exciting journey with us towards a greener future. With a focus on efficient and innovative solutions, these seven startups are building innovations that not only have tremendous growth potential but also contribute to Net Zero, creating a lasting positive impact on the environment.


Meet The Startups

CRL Accelerator cohort 10


Founders: Abiel Ma and Anthony Ma

Vuala is making food waste recycling easy with Vuala X1, which automatically separates food waste from other waste, turning them into raw material for energy production within hours on site. This saves 95% of logistics and labour costs, while reducing 75% of carbon emissions.

Vuala operates on a utility-subscription model for its one-stop food waste collection and recycling service. Vuala has been granted a three year waste treatment permit by the environmental agency, and will be running four agreed pilot trials in 2023.


Purcell is developing sustainable smart inhalers and AI/ML-enabled Digital therapeutic (DTx) tools to alleviate the unmet needs of patients, HCP, and pharma. Purcell holds a granted GB patent with submissions in ARIPO, China, India, Europe, Japan, and the USA.


Fasster is building an autonomous smart spraying and mowing robot for vineyards and perennial farms.
Pesticide spraying is the costliest activity during the growing season. Fasster is building a cheaper, faster and simpler robot than the current products in the market, by adopting a new approach to agricultural spraying to massively reduce power and encourage precision.


Celsius is developing innovative wearable cooling technologies to help people stay cool and cope with heat more efficiently and more sustainably. The Celsius device has an innovative cooling mechanism that applies cold on the inside of the wrist. Via a safe, natural and proven process, it helps people cool down when they’re too hot.
The company was co-founded by a former Dyson and Formula 1 engineer and an R&D entrepreneur.

Applied Atomics

Founder: Ashley Johnson
Applied Atomics’ mission is to reduce the human environmental impact on space, by developing novel and high-performance space propulsion technologies that do not use hazardous and toxic propellants (such as hydrazine), whilst delivering unmatched performance to unlock the next era of space.
Applied Atomics is developing an innovative environmentally-friendly hybrid propulsion system for satellites and probes to enable advanced in-orbit manoeuvres and deep space missions – providing best-in-class performance, efficiency, and cost.

SolarBotanic Tree

Team: Gerard Jansen (CPO) and Christopher Shelley (CEO)
The SolarBotanic Tree is a highly innovative, efficient and aesthetically pleasing renewable energy power generator delivered by harvesting the sun’s power. To limit lifecycle carbon emissions of the product, raw material extraction, manufacturing and recyclability of materials and components will be considered during the product design, ensuring a low-carbon footprint of the finished product.


Founders: Michael Crouch and Jon Fidler
ModlaPPE designs high-performance, low-cost, circular and sustainable PPE products for healthcare, industrials and government procurement. ModlaPPE is on a mission to transform PPE from wasteful, single-use products to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future.
Over the next 3 months, these startups will be sprinting their way through the product development journeys with the support from our dedicated in-house product development team. Watch this space – sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest from the CRL community.
CRL Accelerator is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund. 





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