The investment round was led by Midven, who invested alongside Minerva Business Angels Network and members of OION. Aeristech will use the funding to progress testing programmes with two global vehicle manufacturers.
Turbochargers are fitted to make an engine more powerful by using the energy from exhaust gases, which would otherwise be lost, to raise the pressure of air entering the engine. This also increases engine efficiency and materially enhances fuel consumption.
However, conventional turbochargers only assist the engine when sufficient exhaust-gas energy is available. Any mismatch between what the engine needs and what the turbocharger produces is known as ’turbo lag’.
Uniquely, Aeristech’s patented Hybrid Turbocharger Technology system (HTT) eliminates the turbo lag, allowing vehicles fitted with HTT to combust fuel far more effectively at lower revolutions than vehicles fitted with conventional turbochargers. As a result, the HTT system enables vehicle manufacturers to build smaller engines that give the same level of performance as larger engines and can generate 20 to 30 per cent in fuel savings.
As well as improving vehicle performance, Aeristech’s HTT system reduces exhaust emissions by 20 to 30 per cent − an important factor given tightening European legislation that will enforce an emissions limit of 120g/km CO2 from 2012.
Bryn Richards, chief executive of Aeristech, said: ’The motor industry is now seeking to bring the highest-efficiency, lowest-cost turbo systems into its supply chain and it is forecast that by 2014 around 75 per cent of all European light vehicles will be boosted by turbo technology. We are delighted to have secured the investment we need to progress the development of our unique HTT system and our objective is to capture a 10 per cent share of this market over the longer term.’
The Carbon Trust supported the initial development phase of the HTT system through its incubation scheme and Aeristech was also awarded R&D grants of £500,000 to produce a prototype.
Aeristech is now undertaking bespoke HTT testing programmes with a global vehicle manufacturer and a construction-equipment vehicle manufacturer.
Richards said: ’We are focusing on developing and marketing HTT to the auto and off-highway sector. Our longer-term plan is that this will lead to a licence of our technology or sale of the company to a manufacturer in the auto supply chain.’
In February, Aeristech was the regional winner of a Shell Springboard Innovation Award, with the judges citing the carbon-savings potential, innovation and commercial credibility of the HTT technology.