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LONTRA OPENS FUNDING ROUND FOLLOWING SUCCESSFUL TECHNOLOGY LICENSE

Successful British engineering firm to invest millions into the Midlands through research into automotive supercharging and industrial air compression.

 

Lontra, the fast-growing Midlands firm backed by the Technology Strategy Board and The Carbon Trust, today announced the opening of a fresh funding round to secure new licensees for its ground-breaking Blade Compressor®.

 

The funds will support expansion into lucrative new markets in automotive supercharging and industrial air compression. The move provides investors with an opportunity to back a firm that this year granted global engineering business Sulzer a license to manufacture pumps based on its technology in a deal worth tens of millions of pounds in revenue over the next 20 years.

 

Funds raised through the round, expected to be Enterprise Investment Scheme qualifying, will fund a multi-million pound research and development effort to extend Lontra’s proven and patent-protected technology into new markets. Lontra’s Blade Compressor® is a replacement design for the industrial pumps and blowers that consume 10% of European industrial power. It represents the first clean sheet design in nearly 80 years for a market worth well over £20bn per annum, where today’s machinery is still based on designs dating to the 1935 Screw Compressor, Roots Blower (1867) and Vane Compressor (1588).

 

Lontra’s recent license to Sulzer was for the £600m per annum municipal and regulated waste water aeration market. Pumps incorporating the Blade Compressor technology are equally applicable to the industrial waste water aeration market, which is three times as large at £1.8bn per annum. Future R&D will adapt the Blade Compressor technology to match the needs of the industrial blower market with a view to seeking licensees for non-water applications of the same machines for industries ranging from cement, fabric and carbon black manufacturing to power generation worth a combined £2bn per annum.

 

CEO and founder Steve Lindsey, likened to British inventor and industrial designer Sir James Dyson by The Carbon Trust, says:

“Our technology is proven, licensed and in production. The myriad benefits of our novel design include low maintenance, low cost manufacture and low energy use. We have demonstrated the Lontra technology to great acclaim in the Water Industry with Severn Trent Water’s first machine having run the equivalent of 3 years duty without issue with their own figures showing a saving of electricity of 21%. This is a step-change in efficiency where many industries chase a few per cent gain. On the back of this trial Lontra won at the prestigious 2013 Water Industry Innovation Awards. We are now seeking investment to take this proven technology into new and even larger markets where our machine’s very high reliability and step change in efficiency will make a significant impact.”

 

To date Lontra has secured £5m toward the development of the technology and the business: £2.9m equity; £1.1m development finance/IP license revenue from partners; and £0.94m from public R&D grants. Equity investors to date include Imperial Innovations, Seven Mile Capital and MidVen, together with angel investors. Board members and their associates have invested £1.4m.

 

Lindsey is supported and mentored by Executive Chairman Peter Watson OBE. The former engineering director for British Rail was also Chief Exec and Chairman of AEA Technology where he was part of the team that licensed the Lithium Ion battery to Sony, technology that is today used in nearly all laptops and mobile phones. Lontra’s UK business development is run by the ex-Sales Director of leading compressor service company Motivair and the firm has a strong and growing representation in the US.

COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR STRENGTHENS LONTRA

The former Group Sales and Marketing Director of Motivair Simon Ashcroft has joined Lontra as Commercial Director.

 

Simon previously grew the business of Motivair and developed innovative products and services for the company, which is the UK’s largest compressed air management company. He secured and managed major customers and projects for compressors throughout the UK especially engaging with facilities management companies and energy reduction programmes.

 

Simon Ashcroft, Lontra Commercial Director:

“Lontra’s Blade Compressor® is an exciting new technology which delivers a major gain to industrial air compressor users – reduced energy spend. I’m delighted to be joining the company, and look forward to making a major impact on the compressor market in the UK and overseas.”

 

Lontra is developing the novel Blade Compressor®, a major development for the industry which reduces energy use by 20%.

 

Peter Watson, Lontra Chairman:

“Simon strengthens the Lontra team with his detailed understanding of the needs of compressed air customers and his experience of innovative compressed air solutions. He reinforces the company’s focus on the core markets for the Blade Compressor®

DESIGN OF INNOVATIVE BLADE COMPRESSOR® RELEASED

Clean Tech developer Lontra has provided the first glimpse of the innovative Blade Compressor®, a technology that has been in development by the company since 2004.

 

The compressor, which was designed by Lontra’s Technical Director Steve Lindsey, is a rotary device with a wrapped toroidal chamber. The key features are a rotating blade, which passes through a slot in a rotating disc once per cycle. The unit is therefore a compact, double acting rotary compressor. An animation of the design, and an explanation of the technology, are at Lontra’s website www.lontra.co.uk

 

Prototypes demonstrate a 20% efficiency gain over traditional compressors, and has an innovative variable port design which allows it to meet changing application requirements whilst maintaining constant speed. The company has development projects underway with leading partners, including a development project for waste water compressors jointly funded by the Carbon Trust and Severn Trent Water.

 

The compressor is the core mechanical geometry of the range of Lontra’s applications, including the Blade Supercharger®, Blade Expander® and Lindsey Engine® technology.

 

LONTRA COMPLETES NEW GENERATION BLADE COMPRESSOR® PROTOTYPE

Clean tech developer Lontra has completed the next generation prototype of its innovative Blade Compressor®, which is 20% more efficient than traditional compressors.

 

The announcement comes after a period of development and refinement to improve the performance of the design and reduce manufacturing cost.

 

A prototype is available for demonstration to customers and partners.