Investment of £3.6m means company now set to expand

A BLYTH company leading the way in renewable energy technology has secured funding of more than £3.6m from a consortium of investors to enable it to expand.

The cash boost comes a week after Applied Superconductor (ASL) landed a £4m contract with Rolls-Royce and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) to work on ways of reducing the chaos caused by electrical power cuts.

Earlier this year, it announced it had won a major contract with CE Electric UK, one of the country’s biggest electricity suppliers.

And now ASL has secured the backing, to the tune of £3.6m, of a consortium of three investors – Octopus Ventures, OCAS Ventures and IP Group – through the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund.

ASL chief executive Herbert Piereder said: “This constitutes a key step in our development.

“It will allow us to expand our market presence and operations to secure a substantial share in this rapidly developing market.”

The High Quay firm, set up in 2004, has developed a device called a superconducting fault current limiter to protect electrical networks from short circuits.

The limiter offers a way of connecting low-voltage electricity generated by renewable energy sources to the National Grid without major infrastructure upgrades.

ASL’s device is triggered when a fault occurs. Within a milliseconds, it limits short circuit currents to lower levels, stopping the system from being overloaded.

Mr Piereder said: “The widespread application of fault current limiters offers a huge potential for savings through reduced capital investment, speeding up the connection of renewable generation, reducing losses, getting more out of existing networks and significantly improving the quality and security of supply.

“You just have to look around the north east to see the rapid growth of renewable energy sources, and because of government targets to reduce carbon emissions, this will increase.

“In this region, Blyth, and in particular the National Renewable Energy Centre, has been at the forefront of this new technology, which is why set up our base here.”