A Welsh company that has developed an entirely new clean green cooking fuel for the military, camping and leisure markets plans to open a new manufacturing facility this summer thanks to support from the Welsh Government’s Economic Growth Fund.
BCB International, an award winning company based in Cardiff with a reputation for innovation, is an established designer and manufacturer of survival and protective equipment supplying the MoD and defence organisations worldwide.
One of its most highly publicised recent products are the blast boxer shorts designed to protect armed forces from blast and fragment injuries to the groin caused by IEDS.
BCB has been developing and formulating Fire Dragon – its new fuel – over the past five years, has now applied for a patent and with £150,000 from the Economic Growth Fund can start production this summer.
Product director Derek Taylor said the funding had been critical in enabling the company to start manufacturing.
“We reinvest a substantial proportion of our profits every year on R&D and product development and have invested more than £840,000 since 2009 which is a significant sum considering the size of our company.
“Funding support was therefore vital for us to proceed with the project now and invest in a new manufacturing facility to start production this year. Any delay could also have resulted in a lost opportunity to be first in the market with this type of product.”
BCB intends to site the new facility in an area of high unemployment within South East Wales and will initially create six new jobs.
Business Minister Edwina Hart said she is pleased the Fund is bringing real benefits to companies in Wales with the potential to create long term economic gains
“We know there are many businesses in Wales that want to expand, create jobs and bring new products to market but have not been able to access traditional funding. I am delighted this Fund is providing the support these businesses need to remain competitive and invest in the future.”
Derek Taylor said Fire Dragon, which was developed with support from Cardiff University, is a major advance on existing solid fuels for cooking.
It is ethanol based, the consistency of candle wax and therefore easy and safe to transport, burns clearly and cleanly with a zero carbon footprint in its production and use.
A number of other products on the market are toxic and sold with health warnings – some give off cyanide derivatives when burnt, while others release formaldehyde in certain situations.
He added there was a major international market for a unique next generation product like Fire Dragon which includes the military for cooking rations in the field as well as the camping, survival, leisure markets and catering markets.
A feasibility study identified an existing worldwide market in excess of 180 tonnes a year with potential for new markets.