Clean tech Bramble Energy hits the fast lane with affordable hydrogen fuel cell

Vidal Bharath and Tom Mason

Vidal Bharath and Tom Mason (Image: Bramble Energy)

Now powering up commercially to support a global sales push, the designer and manufacturer’s turnkey portable SD solution is a low-power, air-cooled range for off-grid use. CCTVs, alarms, environmental monitoring and lighting are all set to benefit.

The energy supplied by the hydrogen fuel cells lasts weeks longer than batteries, servicing time is slashed and refuelling takes seconds.

The SDs are being rolled out over summer, followed by a stationary power innovation, a 1kW replacement for diesel generators.

Decarbonising transport offers the biggest wins and challenges however, one of Bramble’s moves into this market involves its higher power range extenders that improve battery charging and running times for electric vehicles. These can be retro-fitted and can also add a clean boost to smaller petrol engines. 

Bramble Energy

Bramble Energy SD01 portable power hydrogen fuel cell product and PCBFC stack (Image: Bramble Energy)

After joining forces with Mahle Powertrain, the extenders first demonstrator for Renault’s Kangoo ZE car is due to hit the road this year.

Further collaborations involving higher powered, liquid cooled cell systems with multinational customers are also in the works.

“We have been able to achieve something no other hydrogen fuel company has done. We can make a fuel cell of any shape or size creating an affordable, high quality product with a small, effective team,” says chief executive and co-founder Dr Tom Mason.

Staff at Bramble’s new design and test HQ in Crawley, Sussex number 23, and more highly skilled jobs are planned, taking the workforce to 40 this year.

We are on a journey to save the world

Bramble Energy CEO Dr Tom Mason

With a forecast £2.5 million turnover in 2023 for the SD range, the company’s visionary core concepts were developed by engineers and scientists at Imperial College and University College London, resulting in a spin-out in 2016.

Today the hydrogen fuel cells, which work on an electrochemical reaction rather than combustion, are attracting more interest than ever.

However conventional cells are inflexible and ferociously expensive to make, nor are they particularly resilient.

Bramble is changing that with a system based on a fundamental of everyday modern life – the printed circuit board (PCB).

Its smart patented PCBFC works in stacks with the hydrogen and can be made by existing circuit board factories without any costly production changes.

“We offer cost reductions and an easily adaptable design solution able to be manufactured globally with requiring vast amounts of investment,” adds Mason who also knows the drawbacks of offering something that seems almost too good to be true.

“There is a higher burden of proof on us compared to traditionally constructed technologies. We have overcome this by demonstrating our technology to a higher level of maturity considering Bramble’s stage compared to competitors.”

There is another dividend too as Bramble’s success will support the UK’s printed circuit board manufacturers and the domestic supply chain.

There has been no shortage of quality investment with the company bringing in £5.6 million over two funding rounds, a mix of venture and growth capital that includes the Business Growth Fund and Parkwalk Advisors which specialises in backing UK tech companies. A further raise is planned for this year.

“The technology came with both excellent performance potential and cost and scalability advantages which we had not seen elsewhere. The beauty of this business is it will not need billions to scale,” says Parkwalk investment director Neil Cameron.

“We are very hopeful that this investment will be successful for our underlying investors and are encouraged by the listed market valuations of fuel cell companies over the last year which have gone up over 500 percent.”

Mason is planning a further raise this year. “We are on a journey to save the world,” he says. “We want Bramble to be the go-to name in affordable fuel cell solutions.”

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