What was the impact?
Badyal’s research led to the formation of three start-up companies: Surface Innovations Ltd (2001); Dow Corning Plasma Solution Ltd (2001); and P2i Ltd (2004). Through P2i’s Ion Mask™ brand, the surfaces of 100 million pipette tips and three million pairs of footwear have been protected, as well as 50 million mobile phones and 60% of the world’s hearing aids under the Aridion™ brand.
P2i Ltd is a growing company with an estimated turnover of £19 million in 2014, and 93% of revenues generated in geographic markets outside of the UK. It has led to the establishment of subsidiaries in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA.
P2i Ltd originated from a project with DSTL, with the challenge to make soldier’s protective clothing more effective against mustard gas whilst maintaining comfort in hot and dehydrating conditions. It commercialised research into liquid repellent nanocoating technology, raising over £40 million in investment, and over 150 commercial plasma coating units have been manufactured and installed globally. The intellectual property held by Surface Innovations Ltd was sold to P2i Ltd in 2010.
Dow Corning Plasma Solution Ltd was created through corporate venturing following an initial investment of €3.3 million from Dow Corning. Invexus (USA), who supplies to the £2 billion global market for antibacterial surfaces, is a current licensee of the technology.
Badyal is also leading the Global Biomimetic Water Harvesting Project, which aims to collect drinking water from air using functionalised surfaces, for example through fog harvesting. Several patents have already been filed, and this is seen as the biggest potential impact of the research, as one billion people are currently without clean water.