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Engineering Spin-Out Wins Major DECC Funding

Fault Current Limited awarded £635,000 grant from UK Government Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Fusion IP plc (AIM: FIP), the university commercialisation company that turns world-class research into business, is pleased to announce that Fault Current Limited (“FCL”), has been awarded a £635,000 grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The DECC Energy Entrepreneurs Fund grant will enable Fault Current Limited to develop and test its next-generation fault current limiter for sale to distribution network operators and renewable energy generators.

FCL, which is founded on the invention of Dr Jeremy Hall of the Wolfson Centre for Magnetics, based at Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, has devised a unique magnetic fault current limiter design that protects utility electrical distribution networks from unanticipated power surges.  The initial concept was developed with an investment from Cardiff University’s own proof of concept fund, the Cardiff Partnership Fund and financial support from the Technology Strategy Board.

The need for fault current limiters is driven by a dramatic increase in electrical power system fault current levels as energy demand increases and more clean energy sources, such as wind and solar, are added to an ageing and already overburdened national electrical infrastructure.

Deployed in an electrical network substation, a fault current limiter is a smart grid system component that can help protect the grid by absorbing the destructive nature of faults, extending the life of existing network equipment and allowing utilities to defer or eliminate costly equipment replacements or upgrades.  Estimates from Europe and the USA suggest investing in smart grid technologies, such as fault current limiters, can save billions of dollars in replacement cost, increase safety, reliability and power quality.

Unlike competing faults current limiters currently in service, FCL’s unique solution is designed to be a completely passive, ‘fit and forget’ permanent magnet device, that requires no external power or back-up, recovers automatically when a fault is cleared and requires minimal maintenance.

Peter Grant, Operations Director of Fusion IP, commented:

"This is a great example of a brilliantly simple idea being turned into a potentially world class product. We look forward to working with both the FCL team and DECC, as FCL develops this groundbreaking solution to a major global problem for the power network providers."

Martin Ansell, Chairman of FCL, commented:

"Governments, regulators and utilities around the world are faced with binding commitments to connect clean, renewable generation, to an ageing electrical infrastructure conceived more than 100 years ago. An enabling technology such as FCL's innovative fault current limiter is essential in the quest to deliver reliable power and meet our clean energy challenges. We are pleased that DECC has recognised FCL’s value to the UK power industry and is supporting this UK product development.”