Oxford University spin-out company Oxford Catalysts Group plc floated today on AIM valued at £65 million. The company, which develops speciality catalysts for generating clean energy from fossil fuels and certain renewable sources, has an exciting future in providing clean power for the world’s energy needs.
The company’s catalysts are based on over 19 years of research at Oxford’s world-leading Wolfson Catalysis Centre (part of the Chemistry Department), carried out by Professor Malcolm Green and Dr Tiancun Xiao. Isis Innovation Ltd, the University’s technology transfer company, worked with Professor Green and Dr Xiao to found Oxford Catalysts and to commercialise their research there.
Oxford Catalysts has developed and licensed its technology from Isis Innovation for various applications which are both environmentally friendly and cost effective. These include:
- the removal of sulphur from hydrocarbon fuels
- the conversion of natural gas or coal into virtually sulphur-free liquid fuels
- the production of high-temperature steam from a liquid fuel starting from room temperature
- the production of ‘hydrogen-on-demand’, which will produce hydrogen for fuel cells instantaneously from room temperature.
This last breakthrough technology has the potential to significantly accelerate the commercial adoption of fuel cells for portable and other mobile applications, for example laptop computers.
Catalysts are a key element in the production process of certain clean fuels, including low-sulphur gasoline and hydrogen gas for fuel cells. Catalysts can reduce the cost of producing useful chemicals and, in some circumstances, it is impossible to make chemical products economically without them.
Oxford Catalysts intends to apply the proceeds from the flotation to finance its development, including the refinement of existing catalysts; the recruitment of up to 25 employees over the next 18 months; re-location to new premises; the purchase of necessary laboratory equipment; and the enhancement of its portfolio of intellectual property.
Tom Hockaday, Managing Director of Isis Innovation, the University’s technology transfer company, said: ‘I am delighted and impressed at the way Oxford Catalysts is developing. With substantial support from IP2IPO, now IP Group plc, and Isis Innovation, Oxford Catalysts is a fantastic example of the Oxford-IP Group partnership; there is no doubt this is potentially extremely valuable technology, important both in terms of its economic contribution and beneficial environmental impact.’
Roy Lipski, Chief Executive of Oxford Catalysts, said: ‘We are very grateful to Isis Innovation for their instrumental support in getting Oxford Catalysts to the point where we were able to raise the funds required to commercialise this ground-breaking technology. We are delighted to have the University of Oxford as a major shareholder in the company post IPO and we look forward to maintaining strong links with the Chemistry Department at Oxford.’