Horizon 2020 Phase 2 Success for RIFT and Smart Actuator Company
The Smart Actuator Company and Rift Technology hit the news when the phase 2 for Horizon 2020 application was successfully approved.
“A new type of electric motor designed in a garage in Malvern Wells could soon change the world.
The Smart Actuator Company, a family business run by Tony O’Donnell his wife Chris and their son James, has just been awarded a €2.5 million grant – about £1,798,000 – to take their business to the next level.
The company’s products use a new type of electric motor developed by James O’Donnell in the garage of the family home at Assarts Lane, which is cheap to make and uses much less energy.
Potential applications include electric cars several times more efficient than at present, and tiny wind turbines for individual houses to supply much needed electricity in developing nations.
Tony O’Donnell, 67, the company chairman said “It was our son James who designed the new technology, which we’re calling Rift.”
“Essentially, it’s a way to combine several small electric motors around a central shaft to reproduce the power of a single large motor at a fraction of the cost.”
The company has the support of the government agency UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), and has just received the grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding project.
The company makes valve actuators using the new technology, but Mr O’Donnell says there are plenty of further applications with 185 listed on the patent application.
“It will make possible electric cars more efficient by a factor of two or three, and domestic wind turbines the size of a satellite dish that can generate enough electricity for a house.”
“That will be the real game changer for people living in poor countries where there is no electricity supply or the supply is unreliable. ”
“It will give them the ability to generate their own electricity to light their homes, run a refrigerator or charge a mobile phone or laptop. We visited South Africa with UKTI and there are plenty of people who will benefit from this. ”
Mr O’Donnell said that the business was formed in 2010. The family has invested £1 million in it, and the compoany started selling it’s first product last year.
He said: “The EU grant will enable us to take our business to the next level. We should be able to increase the number of our employees from eight to about 15 over the next couple of years. ”
But he said the company is looking to license the technology to other manufacturers which will bring it out into the world.
He said “This is something that will change the lives of lots of people all over the world”
The O’Donnell family run a successful company, BITS Computers and Mrs O’Donnell is a parish and district councillor for the Wells.
The article was written by Robert Hale for the Malvern Gazette.