Two Co Londonderry businesses are working together to manufacture and market a new system for harvesting and conserving rainwater.
Dungiven building industry firm Cross Concrete has partnered with Draperstown-based Rainvault, which has created a unique monitoring system and automatic control panel.
Cross Concrete is manufacturing a special water storage tank to complement Rainvault's product that features an innovative rainwater purification system. This enables rainwater to be used for drinking.
Managing director, of Cross Concrete Dr Ambrose McCloskey, said: “The new precast concrete system for conserving rainwater is the outcome of a decision to develop our product range to include underground liquid storage tanks. Our research identified a clear market opportunity from the growing trend towards water conservation.
“Rainwater is being seen increasingly as an important natural resource. We were aware of the work being carried out by Rainvault on the development of such a system and of its need for concrete tanks. Pooling our expertise made good business sense.”
“The project focused on innovation in that it increased our capability through the design and delivery of complex concrete mixes. We see a very significant market opportunity for the new eco-product,” he said.
The system has already been installed in the industrial sector in high profile companies such as Tobermore Concrete.
Both Cross and Rainvault recently took part in Invest NI’s Construct for Growth programme to help construction companies in the North West explore new opportunities from sustainable products.
Des Gartland, manager of Invest NI's North West regional office, said it is keen to encourage firms to collaborate on innovative products for markets outside Northern Ireland and noted that sustainability is becoming an important business driver.
“As demonstrated by our highly successful ‘Construct for Growth' programme, there is an increasing focus on sustainable building products and in reducing the running costs of buildings. Thus rainwater harvesting products are becoming ever more popular, with an increasing market size across the UK and Ireland. By 2016, all new dwellings must be zero carbon, and new products like this system will be part of the solution,” he said.