UCL spinout raises £5m to develop zero-emissions technology
3 August 2020
Bramble Energy, the world’s most scalable hydrogen fuel cell company, has secured a £5m Series A round from investors including UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF).
The funding will support the launch of Bramble Energy’s zero-emissions portable power product range, which can replace diesel generators. Applications include lighting systems, environmental monitoring, domestic back-up power and camping. Building on this early market, the company will then tackle the difficult to decarbonise transportation sectors such as heavy goods, freight and rail - areas that lithium-ion batteries are finding particularly challenging.
Bramble Energy’s products will use its revolutionary fuel cell design and manufacturing technique, the patent protected, printed circuit board fuel cell – the PCBFC™. This is the only technology capable of producing gigawatts of hydrogen fuel cells using existing global manufacturing resources, dramatically reducing the time to market and investment needed versus existing fuel cell designs. Hydrogen fuel cells generate electric power from an electrochemical reaction rather than combustion, thereby eliminating carbon emissions from the power unit and producing only water and heat as by-products.
Unlike other hydrogen fuel cell models, Bramble's products are based on printed circuit boards. This means they can be made using existing global manufacturing infrastructure, requiring significantly less time and investment.
The use of hydrogen as a key part of global efforts to drive towards net-zero emissions is increasingly recognised, most recently with the European Union adopting its own major Hydrogen Strategy in July.
Bramble Energy was founded in 2016 as a spinout from UCL and Imperial College London by Professor Dan Brett of UCL Chemical Engineering, Professor Anthony Kucernak of Imperial and CEO Dr Tom Mason, a UCL alumnus.
Bramble has been supported by UCL Business (UCLB), the university’s commercialisation company and part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise (UCLI&E), and the UCLTF. It’s also received substantial funding from UCL's EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account, managed by UCLI&E.
Professor Brett, co-inventor of the core technology, said: "This Series A investment marks an important step in the company’s progress. It allows us to ‘leave home’, scale-up operations and properly enter the commercialisation phase. We’ve been exceptionally well supported by the department and faculty in building the company. We also received critically important funding from UCLTF to help us through the difficult early period between bright idea and exciting commercial opportunity."
David Grimm, Investment Director, UCL Technology Fund said: “This is a fantastic example of a world leading technology successfully emerging from two of Europe’s leading academic institutions, UCL and Imperial, and making a real positive impact which will benefit the planet. We’re delighted to continue supporting this great team to make that happen.”
Dr Celia Caulcott, UCL Vice-Provost (Enterprise), said: "Hydrogen technologies are an important part of the future renewable energy economy and will play a crucial role in curbing CO2 emissions. With cutting edge startups like Bramble, the UK has the potential to be a world leader in this technology. It's also testament to the importance of supporting early-stage ideas and fundamental research."
H20 hydrogen fuel cell system © Bramble Energy