The innovative work of two County Durham businesses has been rewarded with a royal seal of approval.

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, was in the region to visit Power Roll in Seaham and Pragmatic in Durham.

During her tour of Power Roll’s facility, on a former colliery site in Murton, Her Royal Highness saw the company’s innovative production process in action and was also introduced to Power Roll’s team of almost 50 scientists, engineers and apprentices, as well as technology suppliers, academic partners, government representatives and lead investors including Maven, Green Angel Ventures and Kero Group.

Power Roll’s flexible solar film is poised to unlock low-cost clean energy generation from surfaces all over the globe – especially structures that may not be strong enough for heavy silicon panels, including rooftops, balconies and garden sheds, while also powering off-grid villages and remote agriculture.

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Neil Spann, CEO of Power Roll, said: “As Her Royal Highness saw, we have proven the science and scalability of Power Roll’s technology at our Durham pilot facility. The next step is to build a first-of-a-kind commercial scale factory, with a target capacity of one million square meters of solar film per year.”

The Northern Echo: The Princess Royal at PragmaticThe Princess Royal at Pragmatic (Image: Pragmatic)

In Durham, Pragmatic Semiconductor welcomed the Princess Royal to officially open a production line at Pragmatic Park which will produce chips based on Pragmatic’s flexible integrated circuit technology. HRH The Princess Royal was hosted by David Moore, CEO, Pragmatic Semiconductor, with a tour of the clean room and facilities, followed by an unveiling of a site plaque to mark the occasion. Attendees included key customers, ecosystem partners, investors and government officials.

Pragmatic’s FlexICs are low-cost, more sustainable alternatives to silicon chips, ultra-thin, with a flexible form that can connect, sense and compute capabilities, fuelling the Internet of Things (IoT) across multiple devices.

The Northern Echo: The Princess Royal at PragmaticThe Princess Royal at Pragmatic (Image: Pragmatic)

David Moore, CEO, Pragmatic Semiconductor said: "The official opening marks a key milestone in Pragmatic’s growth trajectory and for the UK on the global semiconductor stage. I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved and the ambition of our mission to enable item level intelligence in over a trillion sustainable, smart items over the next decade.

"Such intelligence at scale has the power to accelerate the digital transformation across industries. Sustainability is at the very core of our technology and extends to how FlexICs enable our customers to further drive innovations and pathways through their products and services towards global net zero goals.”