The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund has put the cash into Southampton-based Utonomy, a two-year-old company that has developed an IoT-driven technology for reducing leakages in gas distribution networks.
The fund was formed last November by Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams F1 set-up, and private equity group Foresight. It aims to invest up to £2m in each of at least 10 UK-based SMEs.
Utonomy’s technology, according to its new backers, “automatically optimises gas distribution pressures through electro-mechanical actuators retrofitted to the network and controlled by intelligent, cloud-based software”.
£5bn cost of gas leakage
It is estimated that, across the world, methane that could produce some 300bn MWh of power is lost from gas networks globally, a problem that costs consumers more than £5bn per year.
Methane leakage is also estimated to release the equivalent of 1.7bn tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
As part of the investment, Williams Advanced Engineering expects to support the design and development of Utonomy’s actuator technology, while Foresight will support the commercialisation of the business.
Utonomy CEO Adam Kingdon (pictured) said the investment “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.”
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.”