A Glasgow-based start-up has secured a £375,000 investment to commercialise a process to recycle coffee grounds into a sustainable palm oil alternative.

The investment into Revive Eco, which has a patent pending on its technology, has been led by Gabriel Investment Syndicate. The green tech start-up was launched by co-founders Fergus Moore and Scott Kennedy in 2019, following a project the pair carried out during their undergraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde and when both worked in coffee shops in Glasgow.

More than 500,000 tonnes of used coffee grounds are produced in the UK every year, costing the coffee industry some £80 million per annum in waste removal. Revive Eco extracts high-value, natural chemicals from coffee grounds to create a palm oil alternative that can be used across the cosmetics, home cleaning, pharmaceutical and food and drink sectors. About 70 million tonnes of palm oil, which is found in many household products, are produced annually, with its production being one of the main drivers of deforestation and carbon emissions globally.

The investment round, in which Scottish Enterprise and the University of Strathclyde also participated, will support the fledgling venture as it looks to grow its team, including by adding engineering expertise, and scale up its manufacturing capability. Revive Eco is set to begin trials with a number of big brands in the UK and across Europe, and hopes to announce a series of partnerships and contract wins during 2023.

Moore said: “With the support of our investors, we can progress our mission to make coffee the most sustainable commodity on the planet, and move our production from the lab to industrial scale. With the rise of ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance], corporations and manufacturers are under increasing pressure to find alternatives to palm oil, so the moment for us to help bring about change is here and now,” he added.

Gill MacAulay, director and gatekeeper at Gabriel Investment Syndicate, said: “We are thrilled to be supporting Revive Eco with this investment, and we are excited that the business will now have the capability to make a real difference to sustainability levels in the coffee industry. It is a truly commendable action to be driving green change in this way, and we look forward to seeing what comes next for Fergus and Scott.”

Revive Eco recently appointed former Archangels chief executive and experienced non-executive director John Waddell as chairman. He said: “Fergus and Scott have an absolute passion for the business, and when you match that with a significant international market opportunity which will also address the global climate challenge, the prospects for the company are very exciting.”

The UK consumes more than 95 million cups of coffee on a daily basis, with the vast majority of coffee ground waste either sent to landfill or incinerated. In 2019, Revive Eco received some £235,000 of funding from Zero Waste Scotland, the Stirling-based non-government organisation (NGO). The company also completed a successful crowdfunding campaign on the Crowdcube platform earlier this year.