Professor Ghasem Nasr is Head of the Spray Research Group (SRG) at University of Salford, Manchester and the scientist behind the innovative Eco-Valve technology. Expert in industrial and domestic atomiser design, he is also the Professor Chair in Mechanical Engineering and Innovation and lead author of ‘Industrial Sprays and Atomisation’, ‘Natural Gas Engineering and Safety Challenges’. With over 25 years of academic and industrial research his experience encompasses innovation, new product development, enterprise and commercialisation.
Here in our Q&A we find out more about his role at Salvalco and vision behind the highly innovative Eco-Valve technology.
Tell us a bit about your role and responsibilities at Salvalco
As an inventor of Eco-Valve my role and responsibilities have changed over the years from leading a team at the conceptual stage in 2007 to 2013 to being involved with the technical, design, patents, production and Quality Assurance areas, as well as commercialisation development including supporting investment raising. Today, my role as a Director of Research & Development at Salvalco is to manage and advise in various areas including customer support, exploring New Product Development and overseeing the approval process of products from new production and assembly units. I am also responsible for all filing of patents/patent processing because continuous innovation should never be paused, particularly with regards to disruptive technology.
The Eco-Valve technology is incredibly unique. What is it specifically about the valve that you value and in what ways do you feel it will support the aerosol industry?
There are six major aerosol categories covering personal care and household products such as hairsprays, air fresheners, body sprays, antiperspirants, insecticides, and polishes. These products currently represent over 80% of the total consumption of personal and household aerosols. Moreover, all these products contain high levels of LPG-propellants and product formulations that produce significant indoor pollutions and can lead to serious illness.
For 50 years there has been no change to the design of aerosol valves. However, with public awareness, tightening of regulations across the globe and a target of eradicating VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) by 2030 from aerosol sprays, the landscape is changing at a rapid pace. Currently Eco-Valve is the only possible solution for the reduction of VOCs with regards to aerosol technology and we are incredibly proud of that.
With Eco-Valve, emissions can be reduced by 50% because the propellant is changed from LPG to an inert gas (such as nitrogen). But even greater still is that a ‘Near-Zero Emission’ can also be achieved if aerosol spray products are changed to water-based formulations.
Most importantly, it’s through such pioneering technology that we are able to support the industry, environment and help steer policy makers to a brighter and more sustainable future.
What does a typical day in the “office” look like and what do you like most about working at Salvalco?
A typical day consists of motivating and leading the teams responsible for rolling out ‘Disruptive Technology’ such as Eco-Valve. This requires interaction, clear communication and everyday dialogue both online and off-line. Technical development, design, production, costing, customer support all come under the umbrella of my role which means no two days are ever the same!
Eco-Valve has generated widespread interest from big name investors including Beiersdorf and Foresight Williams. What does it mean to have this financial support and what will the funding be used for?
Eco-Valve is ground-breaking technology making a significant impact across the aerosol industry, however without funding the commercialisation of the valve would have been slower and more painful in reaching its final destination.
The financial support from both Beiersdorf and Foresight Williams has been invaluable in helping to position Salvalco in the aerosol market. And it’s because of this funding the business has been able to invest more into the research and development of new products and manufacturing.
During your time at Salvalco, what’s been your career highlight to date and which projects/ initiatives have you been most proud of and why?
Every project at Salvalco has brought its own individual challenges but working directly with so many different SMEs and leading brands has certainly been one of my key highlights. And with each project we embark on it gives us the deeper knowledge and experience to take us one step closer to bring the change we want to see in the world and fulfilling our vision.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on business globally. What do you feel are the main challenges for the aerosol industry going forward and how has Salvalco adapted in this climate?
Like all sectors, and with the aerosol industry being no exception, the shrinkage of the economy and the impact of the pandemic has been felt across the board. Whilst there is a clear appetite from companies to keep up momentum and ‘business as usual’, the pandemic has impacted several areas including the launch of new products. This has mainly been caused because of variation in demand.
More generally across the aerosol industry, the focus on wellbeing has again come to the fore through the Covid world. However, there is still a lack of awareness about the level of harm the hydrocarbon spray has to both the environment and individuals and why there is a real need for an alternative and more sustainable aerosol solution.
What’s next for Salvalco? What exciting plans do you have for the business in the next 12 months?
Salvalco will continue to increase their market share during 2021 and beyond, with more product references on the shelves and a real focus on quality. It’s this commitment coupled with a vision to deliver a highly effective but more sustainable solution across the aerosol industry that is helping us today, create a much greener future tomorrow, and we are confident that Eco-Valve will play a vital part in that journey.
If you are interested to learn more about Eco-Valve and would like to move your aerosol products to a more environmentally friendly alternative, please feel free to contact the team at Salvalco at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.