An innovative Warwickshire company that has developed new turbo technology for the automotive industry has supercharged its growth plans – and has been supported with a five-figure grant.
Aeristech, which is based in Princes Drive, Kenilworth, has been developing electric superchargers for nearly a decade, working with academic institutions and industry.
The company’s concept is attracting interest from a range of automotive manufacturers – including OEMs and Tier One suppliers – following years of work in proving the concept that was developed by founder and Chief Technical Officer Bryn Richards.
Aeristech has invested £66,000 in a new test cell facility at its Kenilworth HQ that is helping it to run its most comprehensive assessments yet – providing full data on how the technology would perform throughout the lifetime of a vehicle.
The firm has been assisted by the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub in the successful grant application of £26,000 through the Warwickshire County Council fund.
That helped to kit out the test facility with the latest cutting-edge equipment which has already led to three new jobs taking the company to 18 staff. The business now plans to take on one new member of staff per month for the next year.
By 2020, the technology could be ‘on the road’ within a vehicle and would help to reduce emissions but not compromise on performance.
Founder Bryn Richards said: “My background is efficiency, combustion and CO2 emissions in power stations, so automotive supercharging and emissions was a field I could access.
“I was always a bit of a petrolhead and a turbocharger enthusiast, and I especially liked a book by Mike Ancas called the ‘Mazda RX-7 Performance Handbook’ which detailed some of the complexities of multi-stage boosting.
“I started to engage universities in studies to investigate the feasibility of electric turbocharging as a cutting edge but, ultimately simpler, potential solution. So that’s what got me started. By my nature, I am quite risk averse and quite sceptical but I believed in the concept and decided to take the plunge.
“The company was originally based out of an office at Birmingham City University and one in South Wales and then attracted investment from a range of bodies around the country Including Angel investment and Venture Capital.
“That was the real catalyst for us to grow and we moved here in 2010. The beauty of this area is the number of small manufacturers and engineering firms who we’ve been able to call upon during the prototype phase. There aren’t as many as there once were, but they are still out there.
“The support from the Growth Hub has been invaluable. They approached us pro-actively to see if they could help us and the work we’ve done with Jaymie and the team has accelerated our plans.
“We want to add 12 new members of staff over the next year and we are getting to the point where first start to see our technologies in vehicles – it’s looking likely to be around 2020. The Growth Hub will be our first port of call for any more help we need.”
Jaymie Thakordas, an account manager with CWLEP Growth Hub, said companies with potential to expand should seek support.
She said: “It has been great to work with Aeristech and it promises to be another great success story for our region’s automotive engineering sector.
“The support is here for companies who want to grow and we can help to speed up that growth – which is great news for the individual business but also for the wider economy.”