Utonomy, a Southampton Science Park company and former Catalyst programme tenant, has secured support for product design and development and £500,000 investment from the Foresight Williams Technology Enterprise Investment Scheme. It is the fund's first investment.
The company’s Active Grid Management technology, which the investors have described as “ground-breaking”, embraces Internet of Things methodology and pioneering intelligent electro-mechanical actuators to reduce leakage in gas distribution networks. The system can be retrofitted to the network in less than two hours and works by making continual automatic adjustments to keep network pressure as low as possible.
Rarely publicised, methane leakage has a major environmental impact on global warming: 84 times greater than the impact of CO2. Utonomy estimates that 300 billion megawatt hours of gas is lost globally through leakage each year; that’s equivalent to £16bn vanishing into thin air. 1.7 billion tonnes of methane are released as a result, the equivalent of four times the UK’s total CO2 emissions.
Adam Kingdon, the company’s Chief Executive, said: "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. We are very pleased to get the chance to work with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop our technology further and to have the support of Foresight to grow Utonomy into a world leading company."
The company’s potential was first spotted by judges on the Science Park’s Catalyst selection panel in 2015. Since its six month tenancy in the Catalyst Centre the company has grown quickly from strength to strength. Adam Kingdon added: "Catalyst propelled my business forward in a way I couldn’t have previously anticipated. I came into Catalyst with an idea that was just a few months old; I now have a solid value proposition, a great team and funding to push it to the next level. I’d encourage anyone thinking of taking the leap into entrepreneurship to apply to the Catalyst programme.”