A Lancaster-based company has won 40,000 pounds (around Rs. 40.5 lakh) in prize money for creating a self-supercharging single-cylinder engine in a national competition to find UK's next big business idea in low carbon dioxide technology and innovation.
Oaktec Hybrids was crowned national winner of the Shell Springboard programme, which awards cash prizes to innovative companies to help them scale up their products and services every year. A total of 330,000 pounds (Rs. 3.3 crore) was given to nine businesses this year.
The development of this winning innovation, a 400cc engine that can be configured to run on a variety of fuel types, is spearheaded by Oaktec senior partner Paul Andrews. Although the technology that underpins the system is largely confidential, Andrew believes that it has the ability to be produced "in tens of millions" of units with a wide variety of applications. He added, the engine has potential in the automotive sector in its current form, acting as a generator in a simple low-cost, lightweight range-extender electric vehicle.
He said, "We’re delighted to be this year’s national winners of Shell Springboard. Ours is the world’s first dedicated small gas engine and there are potential applications for our highly efficient, low-emissions technology in every country, every city and every community around the globe." Oaktec was a regional finalist in the competition in 2013. The company beat 110 rival bids to bag the national title this time by showcasing a working prototype.
He added that the company plans to put the prize money towards securing more funding and industrial partnerships.