Libertine FPE.
Image Source: Nick Hill
Nick Hill

Power systems firm to set up new HQ in Sheffield with £500k NPIF investment

A developer of high performance linear motor-generator systems has secured a £500k investment to set up new headquarters in Sheffield.

Libertine FPE Ltd received the funding boost from NPIF - Enterprise Ventures Equity Finance, a NPIF product fund managed by Enterprise Ventures.

Libertine will use the investment to advance its ‘Linear Power Systems’ technology by establishing product development and testing facilities at its new headquarters.

This is 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 Cockerill, chief executive, 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. I look forward to working with Enterprise Ventures to deliver on this ambition.”

Ashwin Kumaraswamy, investment director at Enterprise Ventures, part of Mercia Technologies PLC, added: “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, commented: “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.”

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