Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, officially opened the new manufacturing facility of an entirely new clean green cooking fuel for the military, camping and leisure markets.
The FireDragon fuel plant in Llanelli, run by Cardiff-based BCB International, was able to start with support from the Welsh Government’s Economic Growth Fund and will initially create six new jobs.
Award-winning BCB International, are an established designer and manufacturer of survival and protective equipment supplying the MoD and defence organisations worldwide.
One of its most highly publicised recent products are the Blast Boxer shorts used by many of our Armed Forces to protect them from blast and fragment injuries to the groin caused by roadside bombs better known as IEDS.
BCB has been developing and formulating Fire Dragon - its new fuel - over the past five years, and having successfully applied for a patent and getting £150,000 support from the Economic Growth Fund can now start production.
BCB International’s Managing Director, Andrew Howell, said he was very excited to see production start on their latest innovation.
“We reinvest a substantial proportion of our profits every year on R&D and product development and have invested almost £1 million into developing FireDragon since 2009 which is a significant sum considering the size of our company,” he said.
We identified a market for a cleaner, safer outdoor cooking fuel and wanted to start production as soon as possible. The Welsh Government support was vital to enable us to start the project and invest in a new manufacturing facility to start production this year. Any delay could have resulted in a lost opportunity to be first in the market with this type of product.”
Economy Minister Edwina Hart said she is pleased the Fund is bringing real benefits to companies in Wales with the potential to create long term economic gains.
“I am very happy to officially open this new facility today, and see the hard-work and innovation of this company come to fruition. We know many businesses in Wales want to expand, create jobs and bring new products to market but have not been able to access traditional funding. I am delighted this Fund is providing the support these businesses need to remain competitive and invest in the future.”
Andrew Howell said Fire Dragon, which was developed with support from Cardiff University, is a major advance on existing solid fuels for cooking. It is ethanol based, has the consistency of candle wax and therefore easy and safe to transport, burns clearly and cleanly.
A number of other products on the market are toxic and sold with health warnings.
He added there was a major international market for a unique, next-generation product like Fire Dragon which includes the military for cooking rations in the field as well as the camping, survival, leisure markets and catering markets.
A feasibility study identified an existing worldwide market in excess of 180 tonnes a year with potential for new markets.
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Pictured left to right:BCB International’s Managing Director, Andrew Howell, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Meryl Gravell and Edwina Hart AM, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport.
Notes to Editor: