A tech start-up run by a military veteran and his spouse has developed a way to recycle body armour fibres, which could see them reused to protect soldiers.
Currently, when body armour used by military personnel expires it is incinerated, resulting in the complete loss of the valuable fibres.
But with the help of nearly £500,000 of Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) funding, Uplift360 has found an eco-friendly way to reuse the fibres for military gear.
The protective fibres used in body armour, notably Kevlar, are estimated to be 85 times more expensive than steel, making their reuse both financially and environmentally beneficial.
A sustainable chemical is used to break down the Kevlar whilst preserving its strength, so it can be recycled into the supply chain.
Uplift360’s innovative recycling system ensures the fibres remain versatile for reuse across defence, civilian and humanitarian purposes.
These can include aircraft, land vehicles, flame and heat resistance clothing, stab/cut-proof clothing, ropes, fibre optics, backpacks and tyres.
Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said Uplift 360’s process was a “really good example of how new and intelligent thinking can transform old practices in defence”.
“Their innovative approach could reduce wastage, save money and secure supply without compromising on high quality kit for our armed forces,” she said.
“I look forward to seeing their important work continue to help defence make even more progress toward reducing emissions.”
The DASA, which is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), finds and funds innovation to support UK defence and security quickly and effectively.
Uplift360 has a team of five and is growing, with the funding provided by DASA helping it succeed.
Jamie Meighan, Uplift360’s chief executive officer and co-founder, said: “DASA has been instrumental to the success of Uplift360.
“From a concept to our initial investment to creating our groundbreaking technology in our labs, DASA has been there every step of the way.
“As a veteran/spouse start-up is was very important from the outset to find funding, mentors and support that understood us as a business, saw the potential of our technology and believed in it.
“Supporting Uplift360 clearly shows DASA’s commitment to help achieve a more sustainable future, maintain resiliency and save money for defence.”
The MOD said it continues to support the government’s net zero ambition while maintaining military capability, through examples such as sustainable aviation fuel, the electrification of vehicles and the piloting of solar farms.