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Industrial research into the properties of molecular capsules in commercially relevant media

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AqPDRA (Industrial research into the properties of molecular capsules in commercially relevant media)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

Unwanted odours, though a natural part of everyday life, leads to discomfort, embarrassment and strongly affects feelings of wellbeing. Removal of odours and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is of global interest. The proliferation of odour-eliminating products across application areas in the consumer products sector demonstrates the enormous demand for such an effect.

However, most of these products do not actually remove odours from the environment. Rather, the most common strategy is to mask odours with overwhelming fragrances. This can be counterproductive since high levels of perfume can be unpleasant and lead to allergic response. There is a growing and unmet consumer need and market trend towards non-fragranced deodorising products, but due to a lack of effective solutions, consumers continue to pay for products that mask, rather than remove, odours.

Aqdot has developed a disruptive innovation called AqFresh in removing malodours and VOCs from the atmosphere with wide commercial potential across market sectors. AqFresh offers a uniquely innovative solution and step-change advancement to the current market challenges that no other technology can fully address: (1) fragrance-free malodour counteracting efficacy: it outperforms deodorising technologies currently on the market in terms of efficacy with long-lasting effect, eliminating malodours from the atmosphere; (2) broad-spectrum capability: it is capable of capturing a wide range of malodours, particularly the low-molecular-weight VOCs that cause health concerns; (3) ease of application: AqFresh can be incorporated into different product formats and media for which Aqdot retains the IP and know-how.

Aqdot's goals is to establish its first commercial product by using its proprietary malodour counteraction technology. Successful commercialisation of this technology will lead to home care and personal care products with improved properties, creating a new form of market differentiation. Product end-users will benefit from access to products with improved properties, while reducing the levels of fragrances and additives that are washed into watercourses.

The project objectives are:
1. Demonstrate the technical feasibility of Aqdot's technology in a wide variety of formulations
2. Develop a claim substantiation portfolio for the technology
3. Translate the experimental finding into commercial products

The technology proved to be feasible for commercial exploitation and a commercial product was developed. A fragrance-free bathroom malodours removal spray, Oderase.
The work of the Innovate Associate focused in developing new methods to assess the performance of Aqdot's technology (using key target molecules) and benchmark it with different competitors. Also, in parallel a formulation was developed including Aqdot's technology to translate the experimental findings into a feasible commercial product. Finally, a product concept was developed and the product will be launched in the UK as a fragrance-free bathroom malodour removal spray, Oderase. The introduction of a new product in the market will be very positive for the EU, growing the air-care category and increasing the EU export market. Positive benefits across the whole value chain are expected.

The program has had a positive impact on Aqdot because it enabled us to find key expertise that was required to move forward our product development program. The Innovate Associate was offered a permanent position that he accepted on September 2018 as a Senior Technologist. The IA will be involved in further expansion of Aqdot product portfolio in the area of odour management in areas that include malodour control solutions for feminine and baby care applications, as well as air filters. The IA program has significantly accelerated Aqdot development timeframe and increased our engagement with customers, both key success factors for an SME trying to accelerate the market readiness timelines.Also the Innovate Associate personal development plan enabled him to contribute to Aqdot’s organisation beyond his technical role, having a direct impact in the company’s future commercial ventures.
The impact of bringing new and improved products to market in personal and household care will generate end-to-end product value chain estimated for the EU. THE EU will strengthen its footing in manufacturing in fragrance and malodour solutions for consumer product applications. The creation of export revenues from the sale of a value-adding material is highly attractive.

The ability to provide fragrance-free malodour and VOCs-removing technologies brings tremendous health and safety benefits for allergy sufferers and people susceptible to VOCs that cause health concerns (mostly young children and the elderly). Currently 1.7-4.2% of the general population (up to 10% North American population) are experiencing sensitivity to fragrance ingredients and the number is increasing (Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology).

The Environmental Protection Agency's Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study found levels of VOC pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, with common health affects including eye and respiratory irritation, headaches, nausea and damage to vital organs and central nervous systems. The impact of air pollution on the quality of life is of critical importance to human health and well-being. AqFresh provides a solution to raise indoor air purification standards by removing VOCs from the atmosphere rather than masking them with additional chemical compounds (fragrances), which is ironically causing further air pollution
Aqdot's Technology Graph