US investor backs Cardiff University start-up
27 March 2017
A device which protects power networks from disruption and damage has won extra funding for commercial development.
FaultCurrent Ltd uses ground-braking magnetic technology to allow the power grid to cope with excessive fault conditions, brought about by the rapid move towards decentralisation of electricity generation, including the connection of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.
Developed as a spin-out from research undertaken at Cardiff University, the device is inactive during normal power flow and only reacts when excessive fault currents are detected, inhibiting the flow to allow the existing power network protection systems to safely isolate the problem.
Eriez Investments Ltd becomes a shareholder in FaultCurrent, and Eriez Magnetics Europe Limited, who were engaged in the manufacture of FaultCurrent’s full-scale prototype, will manufacture the commercial product under license at its facility in Caerphilly, South Wales.
”Eriez Magnetics is excited to become an investor in FaultCurrent,” said Tim Shuttleworth, CEO of US parent Eriez Manufacturing Company Inc.
Martin Ansell, Chairman and CEO of FaultCurrent, said: “With help from the UK Government’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and our founding investor the IP Group, FaultCurrent has already successfully tested a full-scale prototype and now has the investment needed to refine its design into a commercial product, suitable for application on power distribution grids. We are aiming for commercial trials before the end of 2017.”
Dr Nick Bourne, Head of Commercial Development, Cardiff University, said: “I’m delighted the University has developed a productive partnership with Eriez Magnetics which will help establish and grow a new high-tech venture in Wales based on our respective strengths and expertise.”
The patented technology behind FaultCurrent has been developed by magnetic engineering expert Dr Jeremy Hall at Cardiff University’s Wolfson Centre for Magnetics. Dr Hall said: “Our technology can play a major role in managing new demands on ageing and already overburdened electrical infrastructures to allow the connection of cleaner distributed energy sources, which is good news in terms of tackling climate change.”