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updated 6:45 AM BST, Sep 18, 2014
Technology and life sciences news from the Cambridge cluster

Amantys on the hunt for engineers following £250k grant award

  • Written by Ben Fountain
  • Published in Hardware

Renewable energy will be a key target market for Amantys' insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) technologyAmantys, the startup pioneering a new energy-efficient method of power conversion has won a £250k EEDA grant that will drive a major expansion of the cleantech company’s engineering operation.

The company, which is built on power electronics technology developed by Dr Patrick Palmer at Cambridge University’s engineering department was founded by a team of former ARM execs in March last year, closing a $7m Series A in July. The round was led by Moonray Investors and ARM.

Amantys’ workforce will double in size from ten to 20 over the next year, according to Richard Ord from the company “predominantly engineers in power and analogue engineering as well as digital and software.”

The company said the EEDA grant would allow it to build its team to accelerate key aspects of its switching technology to deliver a high efficiency power module.

Power electronics skills are somewhat thinner on the ground in Cambridge than the digital know-how for which it is famed, so Amantys will spread the net to the midlands and north of England, as well as possibly continental Europe.

“Power and analogue are particularly difficult today, but even the more plentiful Cambridge skills are much sought after,” Ord said. “We will mix experienced talent with young engineers and graduates.”

Power conversion is an ubiquitous process necessary at different stages and in many different forms between when electricity is generated, transmitted and then used by the consumer. The approach to that process is inherently inefficient at the moment, with around ten per cent of electricity wasted - an order of magnitude more than is currently generated from renewable sources.

As well as cutting that level of wastage in half, Amantys says its approach will also improve reliability, make such systems eaiser to design and reducing the cost. It is targeting medium and high voltage power switching applications (400V and over) in products for power transmission and distribution, renewable energy, UPS power supplies and motor drives.

Amantys appears to be employing a similarly efficient approach to commercialisation, with plans to announce its first products by the end of the year.

Commenting in the press release issued about the grant from EEDA, Bryn Parry, Amantys CEO said: “Amantys is the newest example of a high tech start-up in Cambridge, combining the best of academic research with the business and product acumen of experienced executives from ARM.

“This government endorsement helps us tackle the critical challenges of efficiency and reliability faced by the energy industry. We’re going through a really exciting phase of our development so now we’re expanding the engineering and commercial teams to get to market quickly.”

Even at this early stage, Amantys is already being talked about as company with the potential to make it on the global stage.