A company which has developed a novel fuel-efficient and low-cost turbocharger technology has attracted support from venture capital and business angels in the region.
Birmingham–based Aeristech has developed a system that enables car manufacturers to downsize engines without reducing performance, cutting emissions and cost.
The company’s prototypes have been well-received by the industry and the company is soon to start testing with off-highway vehicle manufacturer JCB and one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers.
The Early Advantage Fund, which is managed by Midven, has invested £125,000 out of a total round of £500,000.
Minerva, the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Angel Network Investor Group, played a significant role in the round coordinated by Nicholas Gill, finance director of Aeristech.
Joining the board will be Andrew Lester, a Minerva member and former managing director of Jaguar and Alfa Romeo UK along with Andy Tempest, former financial director of Lotus Engineering and chief executive of Prodrive, who has been a longstanding supporter of the company.
Aeristech was founded in 2006 as an engineering R&D consultancy firm to develop hybrid turbo technology, a concept developed and created by the company’s founder Bryn Richards.
The new technology is already attracting the interest of car and truck manufacturers, who for competitive, environmental and legislative reasons, need to increase the efficiency of their current engines.
Aeristech has revolutionised the technology of turbochargers by solving the previous problem of turbo-lag, the pause between depressing the accelerator and the turbocharger kicking in, thus allowing manufacturers to downsize engines without impacting on performance.
Bryn Richards, founder and chief executive of Aeristech, said the technology has the potential to solve the two biggest problems facing the automotive industry.
"Fuel prices have risen to a level where they are a major part of the cost of ownership of cars and trucks. "In addition, carbon emission reduction targets are driving legislation to reduce emissions.
"Aeristech’s Hybrid Turbo Technology can solve both these problems by increasing the efficiency of internal combustion engines," he said.
Duncan Kerr, investment director of Midven’s Early Advantage Fund, said that Aeristech had already proved itself as a name of the future by securing high-profile industry grants from Shell Springboard and the Carbon Trust.
"The Midlands has a great history in the automotive industry and Aeristech’s hybrid turbocharger is an excellent example of how the industry can be regenerated through technological innovation continuing the region’s tradition as the UK’s automotive capital.
"This investment will enable Aeristech to enter into evaluation programmes with global manufacturers leading to commercialisation of the technology," he said.
Tim Powell, director of Minerva, said: "It is forecast that by 2014 around 75 per cent of all European light vehicles will be boosted by turbo technology.
"Aeristech’s ability to virtually eliminate turbo-lag will make them the system of choice for manufacturers. "It was no surprise that the company attracted strong investor interest in an oversubscribed round – the region has supported Aeristech over the last three years in its R&D stages with grants from Advantage West Midlands, so it’s especially pleasing for Minerva to be part of this next phase in the company’s development".