Investment fund fuels Sheffield linear machines company

Investment fund fuels Sheffield linear machines company

A Yorkshire company developing high performance linear motor-generator systems is set to target growth in commercial markets following a funding boost from NPIF - Enterprise Ventures Equity Finance.

Libertine FPE Ltd will use the £500,000 investment to advance its ‘Linear Power Systems’ technology and set up a new headquarters in Sheffield with product development and testing facilities, in the first investment by NPIF - Enterprise Ventures Equity Finance in the Sheffield City Region.

Libertine is working with customers in the power and transport industries to commercialise electrical power generator products known as free piston engines, in which the crankshaft is replaced by a linear electrical generator.

This results in a highly efficient engine which can make better use of renewable fuels such as biogas and bioethanol, and potentially produce a third more power from the same amount of fuel. Libertine aims to make the free piston engine a leading format for small-scale ‘on demand’ distributed power generation.

Founded by Sam Cockerill, an engineer with a background in the biofuels industry, Libertine currently employs four staff and expects to double its workforce in the year ahead.

Sam said: “This investment by the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund represents an important milestone for Libertine which will help us expand our customer base, build our team and further develop our core Linear Power Systems technology.

“In the past few months we have seen increasing demand for our technology from companies in the automotive, oil and gas and dynamic testing industries. With this new investment we are well placed to respond to this customer demand, and become part of the cluster of fast-growing technology businesses in the region.”

Ashwin Kumaraswamy, investment director at Enterprise Ventures, part of Mercia Technologies PLC, said: “We are delighted to support Libertine with its next phase of development as it gradually gains commercial traction and expands its premises in the North. Its innovative technology enables an improvement in the performance of electrical power generator products, which could potentially offer a cost effective, low-carbon alternative to conventional types of power generation.”

Ken Cooper, managing director at British Business Bank, said: “The response from the Yorkshire & Humber business community to the launch of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has been exceptional with NPIF fund managers receiving hundreds of enquiries from both business introducers and SMEs in the region. Libertine marks the first equity investment in the Sheffield City Region, led by an expert management team, the company has the potential to take its class-leading innovation to a much larger customer base, and this funding will help them to achieve that.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.