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FeTu: Clean Energy Solutions

Prepared by Paul Beynon, Senior Associate Patent Attorney, Appleyard Lees IP LLP

Jonathan Fenton, founder and CEO of FeTu, an innovation-driven enterprise creating carbon-reducing technologies applicable across a broad range of systems and industries, has created a revolutionary "green” energy device, the FeTu Roticulating™ System, which targets carbon reduction across a broad range of systems and industries.

The challenge of climate change demands that businesses source cleaner energy solutions.

FeTu’s versatile technology is a cost-effective and highly efficient, fluid displacement system with a broad variety of applications.

Core tech

(Images: FeTu)

The FeTu roticulating concept is perceived as the world’s first quad-acting (duplex double-acting) device. It is lightweight and scalable and uses just two moving parts to operate four anti-phased compression chambers, offering low-loss conversion from potential to kinetic energy.

The invention is a positive displacement low-velocity turbine (PDLVT) that combines radial, axial and reciprocal techniques into a single, high-efficiency solution.

The device includes a housing defining a cavity in which a spherical rotor is located. A single drive-shaft runs through the housing and carries the spherical rotor. The spherical rotor is shaped to form four chambers between the rotor and the housing.

The rotation of the shaft causes the rotor to “roticulate” (simultaneously rotate and articulate) in 3D space, which in turn causes the volume of the chambers to change. This change in volume will cause any fluid therein the be compressed/expanded and so allows the device to be used in multiple different ways. For example:

  • Fluid Power – gas compressor or a vacuum & pump
  • Open cycle or closed cycle – convert power to heat or heat to power.

The problem FeTu’s system solves

FeTu’s technology is applicable to many industries. As a gas compressor, it can be used in manufacturing, aerospace, pharma & health, heavy duty vehicles, marine, rail, defense, utilities and construction. Initial testing has found that when used as an oil-free compressor, pressure ratios of up to 7.2:1 are generated when running at a speed of only 1000rpm. This pressure ratio is significantly higher than those seen in superchargers, which also run at significantly higher speeds.

When used as a heat engine, the device is able to recover approximately 30 percent of low-grade waste heat compared to 10 percent, which is standard in the industry, thereby significantly reducing CO2 emissions.

The device could be used as a refrigeration system utilizing CO2 or air as the working fluid.

Positive displacement pump - combined capability of high pressure, high volume and absolute metering from a single unit. Positive displacement enables self-priming and high turn-down ratios, bi-directional (mirrored) effectivity, low-noise, low total cost of ownership, and is light weight, simple and reliable. Clean media pumps are prolific, with a market which is both significant and growing, yet no existing technology offers FeTu’s combined, highly desirable characteristics.

Closed-loop thermodynamic cycle - an effective closed-loop system is seen by many as the key to unlocking mass decarbonization - by enabling the provision of one hundred percent renewable energy from abundant natural heat sources (solar and geothermal). Bench tests in 2020 have confirmed the capability of a FeTu machine to operate successfully in a closed-loop thermodynamic cycle.

Inspiration for the invention

When he was 13 years old, Jonathan Fenton received a challenge from an elderly neighbor, a former RAF squadron leader with whom he shared a love of engineering, to create a more efficient engine. His neighbor gave him the task of reducing the amount of wasted energy in the production of work.

Jonathan spent the next few years sketching out potential designs for a simple rotary continuous compression machine. But there was one piece of the puzzle he couldn’t solve: how to guide his spherical rotor.

It wasn’t until almost forty years later, on 18 September 2015, that he had his lightbulb moment. “I was taking a shower, considering the waterflow in the showerhead, when suddenly the missing piece of the jigsaw came to me,” he says. “It was a very definite Eureka moment. I went downstairs, sketched it out and that was it.”

IP protection and why it is important

The core innovation of the FeTu device is protected by patents in more than twenty countries. There are also two pending international applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for further developments and a granted UK patent for the use of the device in a thermodynamic cycle.

The value of innovative companies can be closely tied to their intellectual property (IP). For many innovation-led companies like FeTu, patents form the bedrock of the company, protecting their innovative ideas. Without IP protection, competitors could reverse engineer the device once on the market, making it difficult for investors to financially support innovations.

Why innovation is crucial in creating a green future

Innovation plays a fundamental role in creating a green future. Global CO2 emission levels are over 36 billion tonnes per year and increasing, while global average temperatures have increased by more than one degree Celsius since pre-industry times. Without innovation to combat these trends, these emissions will continue to grow, which will cause untold devastation for future generations.

The greatest challenges in developing the invention

Technical development of a step-change mechanical system is costly, finance is often the greatest challenge and a key element to success. Securing investment and carefully building a world-class team on a budget is only possible with grant support. All new technologies rely on the passion and foresight of adopters, risk is often intrinsically linked and proportional to reward.

How policymakers can support innovation for a green future

It is critical for the world to become a more energy-efficient place, to stem the current rise in CO2 emissions. However, some industries are resistant to change. Many energy companies currently make substantial profits within the current legislative framework, which does not necessarily prioritize green concerns in all areas. Social factors may not be enough to encourage change. Without legislation, green transformation within many industries may come slowly, if at all.

The current state of play

Alpha product trials are in progress, with commercial trials relating to eco-friendly thermal management within the transport sector.

Find out more about FeTu’s invention