Hear from environmental engineering students – and Think Big finalists – Hendrik and Ramon, about their start-up idea Geo-Fly, how they came up with it, and their Think Big experience.
How did you hear about Think Big?
We heard about Think Big through our academic chair and mentor, Dr Martin Anda, who urged us to enter our start-up idea into the competition.
Tell us about your start-up idea
Each year 300,000 tonnes of Collie fly-ash is produced as a waste product from coal power stations. We’re looking to integrate this with the 1.5 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste sitting in Perth landfill and construction sites, to produce an environmentally friendly and sustainable geopolymer concrete product called "Eco-Concrete".
When mixed with recycled water from Collie, the product is almost entirely made from recycled waste products of other processes (and therefore is cheap to produce) with no Portland Cement required whatsoever.
Concrete is the second most widely used product on our planet after water; the process we’re proposing aims to make the concrete production process significantly cheaper, whilst severely cutting greenhouse gas emissions of the conventional Portland Cement industry (which accounts for about 8 per cent of the world's CO2 emissions). This process also mitigates the detrimental impact of pollution.
The Eco-Concrete produced can be used wherever concrete is needed – freeway barriers, construction, seawalls and any other form of civil infrastructure. The project aspects align with WA’s state government sustainability goals to reduce carbon emissions and to invest in sustainable building materials. Focusing on Collie, potential jobs and industry diversification will help ease Collie’s transition from coal, and actively promote the locality as a growth area for sustainable materials.
What was your motivation behind creating your idea?
We want to make a change in the world and fight climate change. We are all very passionate about this project and extremely keen to see this go forward and contribute to Perth’s industrial and environmental identity by turning material wastes into valuable resources.
Tell us about your Think Big experience
Working with the Think Big crew has been an amazing experience! A large portion of the program has focused on the essentials of starting a business, and participate in masterclasses presented by some very talented, experienced and intelligent guest speakers.
Topics involving market analysis, product and industry validation, customer/unique value propositions, pitching and the essentials of networking were just some of the topics discussed within these masterclasses that have stuck with me. The exposure to other student’s ideas with their own start-ups has also been inspiring to us.
One element that I’ve loved about Think Big is the networking potential. Meeting likeminded people and sharing our ideas, discussing each other’s potential and providing advice has been very refreshing.
One commitment we have to our start-up is that we always want to continue learning to better ourselves and the business, and the wisdom shared by the Think Big organisers, Mel Molloy and Jeremy Chetty, for our ideas has been such a great opportunity to further that commitment. We’re sincerely thankful for this opportunity and experience of having been involved in the Think Big program.
What are your entrepreneurial goals for the future?
We want to expand our start-up so it becomes a well-known business at the forefront of Australian innovation in the fight against climate change, along with providing an environmentally friendly product to the market which actively reduces pollution we aspire to do all we can to make a change in the world. To get in touch with us, you can reach email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think Big is a competition run by the Launchpad at Murdoch University.