Midlands-based firm Lontra has been named as one of the first to receive a funding boost from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) for its Blade Compressor.
The Institution said the Stephenson LP fund had been introduced to back companies developing cutting-edge UK technologies.
Compressors used in industry account for 10% of the world’s industrial electricity consumption, said the IMechE.
The Blade Compressor is the first clean-sheet design in 80 years, and offers a 20% reduction in energy consumption
For 60 years, improvements in efficiency have been measured in single percentage figures.
”The Blade Compressor is the first clean-sheet design in 80 years, and offers a 20% reduction in energy consumption,” the IMechE said.
The design has the potential to produce air in the range of pressures required by industry, typically 7-10Bar, and the funding will go toward further research and development of the double-acting rotary compressor.
“The Stephenson Fund fulfils the Institution’s original purpose to give an impulse to invention and also help companies overcome the investment hurdle between Research and Development and bringing a product to market,” said Stephen Tetlow, chief executive of the IMechE.
The initial fund value of £2 million will be shared between five companies to be awarded IMechE grants. They include Lontra, fuel cell catalyst developer Amalyst, sensor company Oxsensis, fusion energy company Tokamak Energy and space technology business Oxford Space Systems.
Steve Lindsey, founder and chief executive of Lontra and designer of the Blade Compressor, said: “It’s great to be the first to receive support and investment from the Institution’s Stephenson Fund.
”This will support further development of our Blade Compressor as we seek new licensees.”
Backed by the Carbon Trust and Innovate UK, the Blade Compressor is already licensed and in production by global engineering company Sulzer for the municipal and regulated waste water industry.
Some production units have already being installed within customer sites, where blowers for water aeration alone can account for about 1% of UK electricity consumption. The technology also has application for cement, food and oil & gas production, and further licensees for the Blade Compressor technology will be announced soon, Lontra said.