OXTO Energy has now set up a permanent base at the Coventry-based MTC to continue developing its flywheel-based system, and prepare it for volume manufacture. The company is targeting its new development at grid-scale operations including the National Grid, wind farms and solar farms, while also offering support for the electricity infrastructure in the UK and in export markets.
The MTC's Business Launch Centre worked with OXTO engineers to develop machining processes which will allow the energy-storing flywheels to reach production stage.
The steel flywheel energy storage system, with extremely rapid charging and discharging capabilities, would be able to balance electricity grids and enable further renewable generation. The process is low-cost, sustainable, uses environmentally-friendly materials all the way from initial manufacture to end-of-life, with minimum environmental effect. It is substantially more efficient and more versatile than batteries.
OXTO is now marketing its innovation in the UK, Europe and Australia, having received investment funding from the Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Test Bed programme, enabling it to expand and innovate further.
OXTO's chief executive, Dr George Prassinos said the MTC's help was invaluable and basing themselves at the MTC gave them ready access to the best manufacturing expertise available. He said:
"The facilities and know-how that the MTC offers are of the highest standards, and it was what OXTO required to enter a new and emerging global market with strength and confidence. Working with the MTC and sub-contractors in the region, OXTO has managed to develop future-proof manufacturing capabilities ready to scale-up and deliver this incredible technology to our customers."
Dean Baker, director of the MTC's Business Launch Centre, said the MTC team had enjoyed working on the OXTO project:
"OXTO has brought one of the oldest technologies of storing energy into the 21st century, and together we have created something very special. We are pleased that we have been able to help OXTO develop and commercialise their idea."
Based in the MTC's newly-opened Sopwith Building the Business Launch Centre provides incubation cells for start-ups to develop and manufacture prototypes of their innovative products. They have access to the MTC's world-class advanced manufacturing and research facilities, as well as the MTC's team of engineering and manufacturing experts.
Dean Baker said:
"We are able to provide a de-risked environment for start-ups with the support of our product development team from concept to manufacture. Through the MTC's membership we can give young companies the opportunity to draw on the wider manufacturing community to create a successful and sustainable business. Our knowledgeable team offers an end-to-end service to reduce the stress of bringing a product to market."
The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.