Imperial College London

Imperial energy storage startup reaches final of New Energy Challenge 2020


Fuel cell technology

RFC Power, a startup developing the world’s lowest cost flow battery, has made it to the finals of a European future energy competition.

RFC Power is one of five companies to have reached the final of the GameChanger track of the New Energy Challenge 2020. Selected from over 160 teams, RFC is the only UK-based company to reach the final.

RFC Power, which started at Imperial’s Departments of Engineering and Chemistry in 2017, is focused on finding technology solutions to storing renewable energy simply and safely so it can be deployed to the grid – an essential requirement of a renewable energy future. The company’s technology is underpinned by scientific breakthroughs developed in the labs of Professors Nigel Brandon and Anthony Kucernak.

The New Energy Challenge is a start-up competition jointly organised by Shell, Rockstart, YES!Delft and Get in the Ring. It is designed for entrepreneurs in Europe and Israel developing disruptive solutions that could be vital in accelerating the energy transition. Finalists in the GameChanger track, designed for Startups, will undergo an intensive programme designed by YES!Delft, enabling them to validate their business plans and exchange ideas with coaches and experts. The winning finalist will received €100,000 towards proof of concept.

RFC Power’s Chief Executive Office, Tim von Werne, said: “We are very excited to be named as one of the Finalists of the GameChanger track in the New Energy Challenge 2020, having been up against extremely strong competition in the shortlisting process. The chance to engage with an industry leader like Shell is a great opportunity for us and we look forward to completing the finalist programme.”

Growing business

RFC Power has made strong progress over the past 12 months. Having raised a seed funding round in January 2020, it has expanded its team to six full time employees as it scales up its core flow battery technology, and the company recently moved into lab space at the Imperial White City Incubator. This follows the company’s participation in Techcelerate, a programme for early career researchers at Imperial to test out business ideas.

RFC Power’s technology has the potential to make an important contribution to the transition to 100% renewable energy. A key requirement for a robust renewable energy network is a stable grid with energy storage, due to the variability in power generation from renewable sources. Many existing batteries and storage technologies are expensive or impractical for this purpose. RFC is developing a patented flow battery based on hydrogen manganese, which is potentially cheaper and offers longer-term energy storage. The company is currently in the process of scaling their technology to a pilot-scale unit ready for testing with partners.


Gavin Reed

Gavin Reed

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