UK synthetic fuel manufacturer secures £200k funding from Damon Hill syndicate

Posted on 21 Sep 2021 by James Devonshire

A UK-based synthetic fuel manufacturer has secured funding from an investor syndicate of which Formula One (F1) icon and broadcaster Damon Hill is a member.

Zero Petroleum, a British technology company that produces net zero synthetic fuel by recycling carbon dioxide and water, raised the £200,000 in an oversubscribed seed financing round from investor syndicate Raising Partners Angels.

Founded by Formula One engineering star Paddy Lowe and Professor Nilay Shah OBE, Head of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, Zero Petroleum will use this investment to build a pilot synthetic fuel production plant in the UK, where its technology can be rapidly scaled. In addition, it will bolster its Board, engineering, sales and operations teams, and demonstrate the viability of synthetic fuels by securing more commercial partnerships.

Environmentally friendly synthetic fuel from water and air

Zero Petroleum’s ambition is to become the world leader in synthetic fuel technology and production. By combining renewable electricity produced from the sun, wind and other natural sources with carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere, the team is able to produce fully synthetic, fossil-free hydrocarbons, such as petrol, diesel, kerosene (jet fuel) and even plastics, with net-zero carbon emissions and lower contaminants.

These alternative fuels can replace fossil fuels without the need to adapt distribution infrastructure or the design of vehicles. They are also crucial for industries in which electrification is not currently an option, including aviation, agriculture, and industry.

Following successful testing at a world-renowned specialist laboratory in Scotland, and having just signed a contract with a major UK institution, Zero Petroleum is ready to take its learnings to a larger scale with the construction of a pilot production plant.

“Society has gained immeasurably from the unique advantages of hydrocarbons, and our vision is to be a prime constructor of a fully circular and carbon-neutral supply at scale,” commented Paddy.

“It’s difficult to think of a product that we consume that doesn’t require petroleum, either through production, distribution, or energy output, but we know that if we want to protect the planet and eliminate fossil carbon emissions, we must look towards sustainable alternatives. This financing from Raising Partners Angels will enable us to scale our processes, and prove not only how viable synthetic fuels are, but how critical they are too.”

Damon Hill, OBE, added: “We must all rise to the challenge of tackling climate change and the need to transition to more sustainable forms of energy. As a former colleague of Paddy’s, I’m delighted that he’s using his skills in a way which could potentially benefit us all, and I’m a firm supporter of Zero Petroleum.”

Raising Partners’ Angel syndicate

Zero Petroleum’s seed funding is the first from Raising Partners Angels, an investment syndicate built on years of experience advising some of the UK’s most promising entrepreneurs.

Founded by Raising Partners, a London and Glasgow-based start-up investment firm, the syndicate is sector-agnostic but invests in innovative businesses shaping the future by making a significant impact on people, processes or the planet. It consists of active investors who have exclusive access to the high-quality financing opportunities passed through Raising Partners’ investment readiness programme.

“The first time we met Paddy and Nilay, their vision to replace fossil fuels with synthetic alternatives immediately struck a chord,” comments Raising Partners Managing Director, Helena Murphy. “Of course, their experience is second to none but they have identified a clear and achievable solution to eliminating the carbon footprint of many areas of the transport sector and for us, as investors, we’re hugely excited about the impact they will make on the industry.

“We worked directly with Paddy and his team to develop their fundraising strategy, before connecting him with investors within our Angel syndicate, which seeks out companies that are challenging the status quo and making a genuinely positive impact. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be making the syndicate’s very first investment in such an impactful and innovative company. Not only are they tackling a global problem but they absolutely represent the calibre of entrepreneurs that we want to support, having demonstrated great leadership and humility.”

Also supporting Zero Petroleum is Innovate UK, which has provided a £64,000 grant for further research and development into process optimisation.

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