UCL spinout secures £35m for hydrogen fuel cell technology
14 February 2022
UCL spinout company Bramble Energy has closed a £35m investment round, representing a major clean tech investment for the UK and positioning the company to be a global player in the industry.
Considered the world’s most scalable hydrogen fuel cell company, the new investment in Bramble Energy will help the company to expand its capabilities in solving key challenges associated with the production and implementation of hydrogen fuel cell stacks.
Fuel cells have the potential to be a key renewable energy solution, given the availability of hydrogen and the environmental advantage of a zero-emission system. Their applications range from stationary power sources providing stable and high-power density off-grid electricity to portable applications, such automotive and mobile phone power.
Long viewed as a ‘future’ solution, deployment of these cells has previously been hindered by complex manufacturing and associated high costs. However, unlike other models, Bramble Energy’s products are based on printed circuit boards (PCBs), meaning the company can use cost-effective production methods and materials from existing global manufacturing infrastructure.
The company is fast becoming a leading hydrogen fuel cell provider, with the new funding allowing it to roll out its portable power products globally and enabling decarbonisation across industries and sectors.
Professor Dan Brett (UCL Chemical Engineering), co-founder of Bramble Energy and co-inventor of the core technology, said: "This Series B investment allows Bramble Energy to broaden the range of applications into which the technology can be used. It’s great to see university-based inventions translating to commercial reality and I’m proud of the vital role the UCL Department of Chemical Engineering has played in this.
“UCL Engineers think about solutions that will ‘Change the World’ and the Faculty of Engineering is very entrepreneurially-minded, incubating young companies such as Bramble to maximise the chances of success.”
The use of hydrogen is increasingly recognised as a key part of global efforts towards net-zero emissions, with hydrogen cited several times as a pillar of building back better to decarbonise in the UK Government’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution.
Bramble Energy CEO and Co-Founder Dr Tom Mason (UCL Chemical Engineering) said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Bramble Energy, with many eyes focused on the UK’s leadership role in the transition to a greener economy.
“I believe the potential for our technology is limitless and with that in mind we aim to decarbonise as many sectors as possible on a global scale. As net-zero goals near, there are only going to be more and more opportunities that present themselves for our technology to develop and work to aid the clean energy transition.”
Dr Mason added that he believes there is no bigger challenge that humanity faces than the climate crisis, with the Bramble Energy team’s core purpose to help the world achieve net-zero.
UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) Professor David Price said: “Congratulations to the hugely talented team at Bramble Energy, who have taken ground-breaking research and turned it into real products that have the potential to deliver a cleaner and more sustainable world.
"The support that UCL has given Bramble Energy, particularly at the very early-stage of ideas, reflects the important role universities play in bringing to market high potential companies that drive innovation and help to build back better.”
Bramble Energy has been supported by UCL Business (UCLB), the university’s commercialisation company and part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise, and the UCL Technology Fund. It has also received substantial funding from UCL's EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account.
Led by HydrogenOne Capital Growth plc and supported by the existing institutional investors (BGF, IP Group, Parkwalk Advisors and the UCL Technology Fund), the additional funding will enable Bramble to further grow its UK-based team from 35 to over 100 employees and provide a springboard for the deployment of zero emission projects with commercial partners. This will help the company to ultimately achieve its ambitious goal of becoming the largest fuel cell supplier in the world and the go-to name in affordable and scalable fuel cell solutions.
- Bramble Energy
- UCL I&E
- UCL Chemical Engineering
- UCL Engineering
- UCL Business
- UCL Technology Fund
- UCL Research, Innovation & Global Engagement
Caption: L-R Bramble Energy COO Dr Vidal Bharath and Bramble Energy CEO and Co-Founder Dr Tom Mason. Credit: Bramble Energy