Martyn Lucas, the 32-year-old Director of Sun Scape Systems Ltd, based in Bridgend, South Wales, has invented Carapace Slate, a roof tile made using the recycled slate. He is seeking funding after giving up a dream job designing tanks to make an innovative idea a reality.
With an estimated 750 million tonnes of waste slate in North Wales alone, the company claims it business is sustainable. Two and a half years in the process, the Carapace Slate is identical to the traditional product but costs less, and can be installed quickly without the use of nails , because it slots together. It captures the natural beauty of quarried slate by replicating the character and colouring that is consistent with any regional variety.
Up to 80% of each slate consists of wasted, surfeit material from North Wales. The materials can be broken-down organically and reformed into new slates. It's manufactured using a simple process without the need for the explosives, high-powered presses or excessive temperatures used by many other manufacturers.
The Carapace Slate production process requires only a fraction of the energy necessary to form slate composite, clay and concrete/cement roof tiles. By comparison, concrete is the largest producer of CO2, contributing 5% of all anthropogenic emissions each year; and clay tiles are baked in temperatures in excess of 1500°c and the extraction of each slate roof, particular of imported slate can result in up to 100 tonnes of waste.
The Carapace range of products is to be manufactured within the Oakeley quarry, Snowdonia, formally the largest underground slate mine in the world.
The product has seen interest from construction giant Costain, who are testing the Carapace Slate for use on the Heads of the Valleys Road extension, to cover houses for displaced bats.
Mr Lucas said: "Green attributes are regularly ranked as the least important factor in buying new products, and who can blame somebody who doesn't want to compromise quality or value over sustainability.
"This is why I'm so passionate about our Carapace Slate system. It has excellent environmental virtues at its core, but we've concentrated on the things which matter to everybody – it imitates one of the most desirable roofing products the world over while being low-cost and eco-friendly - giving consumers one less excuse to not jump on the environmental bandwagon."
Carapace Slate has two patents and work closely with Welsh Slate to help recycle the vast amount of leftover materials from their quarries in North Wales.
With the increase in construction levels being promised by all major political parties and the praise given to small businesses as the backbone of the economy, Martyn Lucas feels this is a great time to bring such a product to market.
Carapace slate comes in two sizes, Ruri and Magna, to reproduce the quintessential character of a quarried slate roof, with the differing overlaps. Ruri costs £37.10 per meter square and Magna costs £32.10 per meter square.
The Sheldrake Slate has been designed to complement the Carapace roofing system by providing a method to capture solar radiation to provide a useful supply of hot water to any conventional heating system. Its most unique attribute is that the system harvests solar energy while being completely invisible to an outside observer, arguably the primary obstacle to the general acceptance of home grown energies.