CORDIS - EU research results

Clean Sheet Compressor design to supply pure air for the food and pharmaceutical industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PureBlade (Clean Sheet Compressor design to supply pure air for the food and pharmaceutical industry)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Food and pharmaceutical markets use blowers (low pressure air compressors) for Dilute Phase Pneumatic Conveying to transport powders and granules within factories. All the core designs behind these blower machines date back to before 1935, and have undergone serial modifications in attempts to address inherent design issues. By investing in a clean sheet design Lontra have leapfrogged the competition and created a new state of the art technology which is oil free, more energy efficient and more reliable.

PureBlade - Innovation Project
Lontra is a young, dynamic engineering business with an innovative air compressor design poised to shake up the status quo in the established air compressor industry in the EU and then globally.
Lontra’s team is experienced in commercialising new engineered products, exporting and international sales. We are already rolling-out the Blade Compressor® across the EU, integrated within the compressor package of Sulzer Pumps, Lontra’s first licensee. Lontra is committed to engineering excellence and has drawn its talented team from some of the top, high value engineering firms like Cosworth, Cummins, Rolls Royce.
We took a clean-sheet design approach to develop the revolutionary Lontra Blade Compressor®, an innovative air compressor which addresses the failings in current technology with a triple win for end-users; being oil free, energy efficient and reliable. Our core technology was demonstrated in trials with Severn Trent Water and showed:
(1) Energy efficiency –demonstrated 21.2% better efficiency than traditional technology;
(2) Reliability - after just 18 months of high duty cycle operation, Severn Trent Water (STW) went to press that the Blade Compressor® had run for the equivalent of more than 3 years of a normal duty cycle without issue, during this period there were many maintenance events and failures of the existing machines.

The Phase 1 Project Objectives were to:
• Identify potential project partner(s) in the food and pharmaceutical industries
• Identify likely sales growth rates for PureBlade
• Identify the best way to develop the technology in Phase 2

This Phase 1 feasibility study has provided essential design and operational information for the food and drinks market. Our research has also enabled us to better understand what are compelling propositions for end-users and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). OEMs are faced with quite a range of technologies to choose from and Lontra offers clear and compelling competitive advantages for them.
Actions Taken
The project was divided into 5 work packages to address each of the key areas:

1. Primary market research with end-users
2. Analysis of systems integrators serving markets with pneumatic conveying systems
3. Preparation of sales forecasts
4. Exploratory technical discussions
5. Internal assessment of development work

Headline Results
A number of global-brand end-users have expressed interest in the technology and its potential, with two in discussions regarding possible trial projects.

Sales growth is projected to be strong due to the significant advantages afforded to potential licencees, upcoming efficiency regulations in Europe and the US, and the wide use of pneumatic conveying.
"Our overall business objective is to address the current problems of high energy use and high maintenance costs that industry has with traditional air compressors and thereby raise the bar for air compressor manufacturers and suppliers across EU and globally.

Air compressors are important because they are used by all manufacturers and most other sections of industry to supply air for a wide range of processes. Air compressors consume 10% of EU industrial energy (Compressed Air System Audits and Benchmarking Results from the German Compressed Air Campaign ""Druckluft effizient”). This is approximately 10TWh of electricity and approximately 4.3M tonnes of CO2 pa.
Cost and regulation are raising the profile of industrial energy use. ‘Large’ firms are now required to undertake regular energy audits of their under Article 8(4) of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.
The replacement of inefficient compressor systems can have a short returnm on investment due to their high energy usage; the Lontra solution presents the possibility of approximately 20% energy savings, which could be equivalent to around 20TWh of electricity and 860,000 tonnes of CO2 saved per annum across the EU.
Lontra Team photograph taken outside Lontra Technology Centre
Lontra Blade Compressor
Lontra Design Engineers
Steve Lindsey, Lontra CEO