Edinburgh-based Vert Technologies has been awarded £60,000 from Innovate UK to fund the development of technology to harvest wasted energy from the UK’s natural gas distribution network.
The grant comes from the £134m Sustainable Innovation fund aimed at helping small businesses respond to Covid-19.
It will be used to optimise the company’s Conical Rotary Compressor (CRC) and Conical Rotary Expander (CRE) technology, in partnership with G-Plus Technology.
Large-scale compression stations have traditionally been used to drive the flow of gas through the UK’s fixed natural gas pipeline networks.
However, as the pressure required by the majority of end-use applications is significantly lower, much of the energy added to the gas by compression is ultimately wasted.
Chief executive Philip Harris said: “We had already identified that the unique pressure and flow capabilities of our patented CRC could be well-suited to an expander application, and we believe that the learnings from this project will enable us to fill a critical gap between established technologies.
“This funding will allow us to explore opportunities in energy harvesting, initially from natural gas distribution but also across a range of other applications in growing markets.”
Ian Campbell, executive chair at Innovate UK, added: “Vert Technologies, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development – each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.”
Earlier this month, Vert embarked on an equity funding process to raise £3m in order to accelerate the development of its technology in new markets, as it moves towards volume production.
Its CRC technology is used in air compressor technology by original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in the refrigeration, hand tool, heating, ventilation and air conditioning sectors. Vert is already working with several manufacturers and the expectation is that many of these will reach volume sales or the licensing stage by the end of 2021.
Harris said: “This stage of funding will accelerate the delivery of the OEM specific designs we are already working on and allow us to develop low-cost, high volume manufacturing techniques that can produce the numbers of units that the OEMs require.”
In April, Vert Technologies secured nearly £750,000 in investment from existing investors Par Equity, Equity Gap, Aero-Den and the Scottish Investment Bank in order to ramp up both sales and production.