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Lontra, a fast growing Midlands firm licensing intellectual property (IP) to technical and commercial partners, has secured grants from the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network to support the creation of world-class research and development facilities at its site in Napton, supporting a predicted additional 15 jobs.


The grants, worth over £45,000, will contribute to the construction and fitting of a testing lab that will allow Lontra’s 10 strong research and development engineers to refine new prototypes and further potential applications for its award winning Blade Compressor technology. The compressor is seen as such an innovative breakthrough in engine design, that its creator has been hailed as ‘the new James Dyson’.


The Warwickshire Rural Growth Network is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to grow business in rural areas and is one of just five Rural Growth Network (RGN) pilots in the country. The network comprises partners, including those within the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, with Warwickshire County Council responsible for administering the grants of between £10,000 and £100,000.


Lontra applied to the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership for funding from its Rural Growth Network’s Micro-Enterprise Grant scheme which gives companies which specialise in products with environmental benefits access to funding.


Grants from £10,000 to £100,000 are available for eligible projects and applicants are supported by Warwickshire’s Rural Growth Network Team and the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Support team.


The latest grants will be important in helping Lontra attract further commercial interest. The company’s technology was earlier this year successfully licensed to global manufacturer Sulzer for design into aeration equipment for the treatment of waste water.


Steve Lindsey, CEO and founder of Lontra, commented:

“I’m delighted to have secured this financial support and it comes at a crucial time for our business. Over the next two years we will more than double the size of our team in Napton, creating up to 15 new jobs, as we explore the many potential applications of our technology. We’re showing that the Midlands continues to lead the world in engineering know-how, with our advances helping reduce energy bills and achieve greater reliability across a wide range of industries.”


Cllr Alan Cockburn, portfolio holder for economic development with Warwickshire County Council, sees Lontra as an exemplar of what can happen when a company is given a helping hand.


Cllr Cockburn said:

“The success of Lontra is a story that we would love to see more of in the county. The assistance that we gave them helped them to move up to the next level and once they had done so, more contracts came in. This has led to more jobs and so the positive cycle continues.”


Cllr June Tandy, Board member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, stated:

“It is heartening to see local businesses applying for and receiving grants to help them with growth within the business sector. This is exactly what the LEP is there for; to ensure that economic growth is concentrated around Warwickshire and Coventry.”


The Blade Compressor® was awarded Most Innovative New Product at the 2013 Water Industry Achievement Awards and described as a “step change in air compressor technology”. It has been proven to deliver energy savings of over 20% with its unique geometry providing internal compression with very low leakage and low inlet and outlet flow losses. It is oil-free and is made from standard, proven materials, the efficiency and low maintenance benefits coming from the geometry rather than novel materials or expensive machining.



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


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.



Midlands based clean tech start-up Lontra has launched a recruitment drive, as it scales up the business to deliver development projects for customers and partners. The company, which develops energy efficient compressors, superchargers and engines, is recruiting design engineers, production engineers and project managers.


Clive Hudson, Chief Development Engineer:

“Lontra is at a dynamic stage in its growth. With the technology proven, we’re now in relationships with world leading customers to develop technologies for specific applications in automotive, water and industrial sectors. It’s highly innovative, challenging work and we require skilled, creative engineers with vision and drive to join the team.”


Lontra, named after otters which are particularly susceptible to climate change, is a clean tech company, and its products reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.


Simon Hombersley, Business Development Director:

“It’s an exciting opportunity for engineers to transfer skills from older industries into the new clean tech sector, which faces massive growth over the coming years”.


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.