Please tell us a little about Bramble Energy?
The concept for Bramble Energy was formed over a decade ago at University College of London (UCL) and Imperial College of London, with the core purpose of helping the world achieve Net Zero.
Bramble Energy is a designer and manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cell stacks and systems. As we transition to net-zero it is vital that as many technologies as possible contribute. The technology behind Bramble Energy can unlock hydrogen fuel cells as an affordable solution in the energy mix across a variety of applications.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
The motivation was relatively simple, having in-depth knowledge of fuel cell technology, a major problem stood in the path to commercialisation: cost. To get traditional fuel cell tech to be competitive on cost, large volume production was required.
When I finished my PhD, I was given the opportunity of leading the engineering and manufacturing development of this technology. It was apparent to me that this technology solves key questions that needed answering to enable the widespread adoption of fuel cells and hydrogen as an energy vector.
The key benefit being that, from a manufacturing perspective, the capacity is already in place. A key motivator for our team is to be a part of the solution to tackling Climate Breakdown. For humanity to keep climatic warming below 1.5°C we need rapid and decisive movement towards adoption of renewable power. This power must be stored during times of surplus and mobile so that it can be used when and where it is needed. These attributes are going to be what makes hydrogen such an important part of the story as we transition away from the global use of fossil fuels. Providing a cost effective, scalable hydrogen fuel cell technology, Bramble Energy is poised to play a major role in the protection of our planet.
How has the company progressed through the pandemic period from 2020 into 2021?
Bramble was operating out of loaned offices from UCL, with three team members up until the pandemic hit. Due to lockdown we had to move out just as we were in the middle of a Round A fundraise. Prioritisation and adaptability became a necessity. We found ourselves unable to have crucial face-to-face introductions and demonstrations with investors. We had to act fast to create a virtual set-up to maintain dialogue with investors whilst demonstrating Covid-19 diligence.
Our business’s real inflection was the summer of 2020 when we closed our Round A and, bucking trends, scaled from 3 employees to our current team of 25. We set up a state-of-the art facility in the Gatwick area and have since doubled our space. This was when we truly spun-out of the universities and started on our journey to change the world. Bramble Energy has now achieved exponential growth and is in the position to scale up to its largest competitors.
What can we hope to see from Bramble Energy in the future?
We plan to continue the rapid growth in our team and demonstrate our high powered technology in multiple application segments in the near future. Within 12 months we aim to launch 5 discrete products in our SD portable power range. With all of this in the pipeline, we will also be heading into a new funding round in the coming months, so watch this space. The target is for Bramble Energy to become the go-to name in affordable, scalable fuel cell solutions.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Never give up – when growing any business there are always going to be challenges of varying complexity at every level. Use these experiences to learn more about yourself and your business. This will help in building your success. It’s also important to know that you cannot be afraid of making mistakes. There is always something to be learnt from every single person travelling the journey with you and this is an important part of the process.
About Dr Tom Mason:
Dr Tom Mason, CEO & CTO at Bramble Energy, is an experienced engineer with a demonstrated history of developing and commercialising novel high-impact technologies with a global reach. His developments include a revolutionary advance in hydrogen fuel cells. Completing his PHD at UCL in 2013, Tom led the engineering and manufacturing development of the innovative PCBFC™ as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. As a co-founder of Bramble Energy, Tom joined the company as a Director and Chief Technology Officer when the company spun-out of UCL and Imperial College in 2016 before taking up the role of CEO in September 2017.
With over 10 years of electrochemistry experience, Tom is the foremost authority and a recognised world expert on all things PCBFC™. Since Tom’s appointment as CEO, he has brought a fresh and dynamic approach to Bramble Energy and led the company through a successful Series A funding round during these most challenging times. Under Tom’s stewardship, Bramble Energy has achieved exponential growth and is now in the position to scale up to its largest competitors.