Start-up promises to screw down energy costs using a University patent
Start-up company Heliex Power Ltd has unveiled new technology based on the intellectual property of City University London. It promises to improve the efficiency of power generation and manufacturing processes and make green, geothermal energy production more feasible.
Heliex's energy recovery systems use steam screw expander technology developed and patented by City's world-renowned Centre for Positive Displacement Compressors. They extract energy that would otherwise be wasted, by generating electricity from 'wet steam' - steam that arises in many industrial settings and from geothermal sources but is of too low a temperature and pressure to power traditional turbines.
With possible applications in electricity generation, the oil, gas and chemical industries, pharmaceutical manufacturing, marine propulsion and food and drink processing, research has indicated that the energy recoverable by the systems in Europe and North America alone could rival that generated by wind turbines globally.
Dan Wright, Heliex's Founder and Chief Executive, says: "Our system promises a rare combination of radical advances in industrial energy efficiency with low-risk because it is based on tried-and-tested technology. It will lighten the growing burden for industry created by escalating energy costs."
Professor Ian Smith, Director of the Centre for Positive Displacement Compressors at City, adds: "We've been developing the technology behind Heliex for the last 20 years, so it's incredibly rewarding to see our work form the basis of a venture that has the ability to revolutionise the energy sector and create significant efficiency and cost savings the world over."
Heliex was formed with support from technology transfer specialists within City's Research and Enterprise team. BP Alternative Energy Ventures is among its financial backers. The company is the latest addition to the University's growing portfolio of cleantech research and investments, which also comprise Totempower Energy Systems Ltd - a start-up that is creating small-scale wind turbines based on a City aerodynamics patent - and a collaboration with GL Noble Denton to improve the design of offshore structures such as floating tidal power stations.
Heliex showcased its first machine - developed and manufactured by City for an Australian geothermal energy company - at the recent Powergen Europe tradeshow in Milan, Italy.