Funding surge for startup coating power lines to cut energy waste

AssetCool Image credit: AssetCool

University of Manchester spinout AssetCool has secured £2.25m for its photonic coating technology that it claims reduces energy waste in power lines.

The Series A was headed by spinout investor Northern Gritstone, alongside follow-up capital from the Mercia-managed Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Kero Development Partners.

AssetCool was founded in 2016 by Barry Johnston and Dr Niall Coogan while studying for PhDs in energy networks at the University of Manchester. The company then moved to The University of Leeds in 2019.

Johnston, who has since left to launch new venture JAMEBI, conceived of the core concept behind AssetCool – a photonic coating that reflects sunlight and allows infrared heat to leave more easily from warm objects.

“With grid infrastructure becoming a frequent bottleneck as growing populations demand greater levels of electricity, we believe that our photonic coating and related in-situ application technology can offer a discontinuous reduction in costs for adding capacity to overhead lines, helping to facilitate electrification around the world,” said Coogan.

AssetCool will spend the Series A funds on commercialising its photonic power line coating, which it says can cut energy loss, costs and emissions.

The Leeds-based spinout has also created robots to retrofit overhead wires already installed across the country.

Duncan Johnson, chief executive of Northern Gritstone, said: “As the modern world becomes increasingly reliant on the energy grid to provide electricity for sustainable modes of transport such as electric vehicles, the bottleneck in transmission networks is becoming ever more prevalent.”

Fiona Marston, chair and CEO of Erebagen, recently joined Northern Gritstone as an investment committee member.

Another Leeds tech company to get recent support from Northern Gritstone is photonic chip firm Optalysys.