Foresight Group has invested £500,000 into Southampton based Utonomy, an intelligent gas grid solutions provider. The investment has been made on behalf of the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund.
Utonomy has developed an innovative technology for reducing leakage in gas distribution networks. The unique ‘internet of things’ solution automatically optimises gas distribution pressure through electro-mechanical actuators retrofitted to the network and controlled by cloud based software.
Methane leakage is a wide-ranging problem, with over 300 billion MWh of the greenhouse gas lost from networks around the world each year. According to a press release from Foresight, this is estimated to cost consumers more than £5 billion annually.
Environmentally, methane leakage is also a significant problem, the gas a major contributor to global warming. The annual methane leakage is equivalent to 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 being leaked into the atmosphere – four times the total global emissions of the UK.
“We are delighted to receive investment through the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund. This will enable us to complete the product development, certification and customer trials of our innovative solution for reducing methane emissions,” commented Adam Kingdom, CEO of Utonomy.
Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams Group formed from the Formula One team started in the 1970s by Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head, will support the design and development of the actuator technology, which is crucial to Utonomy’s gas network management solution.
Matthew Burke, head of Technology Ventures at Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “Utonomy is an exciting business and their technology is a great fit for Williams Advanced Engineering. Our engineers are looking forward to working with them on the electro-mechanical actuator and control systems, and we are confident that we can help them accelerate their product design and development going forward.”
Foresight, meanwhile, will assist Utonomy in the commercialisation of the technology.
“The experienced management team has already achieved a considerable amount of success over the past two years in terms of development and we now have the opportunity to support the business as it looks to capitalise on global opportunities,” said Bernard Fairman, Chairman of Foresight.
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