Through automotive research, MasterFilter discovered there are quantified benefits to internal combustion engines when the oil is kept ‘ultra clean’. The research found engines had 93% less mechanical wear because the oil was kept in a pristine condition and therefore able to continue to perform consistently well for a much longer period of time.
Around the world, wind turbine gearboxes and bearings frequently fail prematurely due to the lubricating oil becoming contaminated and unable to work properly. MasterFilter has designed and patented a filter unit which can maintain oils in a better than new condition. The device is also capable of recovering used and useless oil to a usable condition. MasterFilter’s product is able to continuously filter the oil all of the time so that solid contaminants in the sub-micron size range are removed. No other filter is able to do this.
By keeping oil clean, mechanical wear and maintenance costs are reduced and wind turbine longevity is significantly increased by up to 15 to 30 years.
MasterFilter is the first company to bring this performance level of filtering to the wind industry with the device being specifically designed to be retrofitted to wind turbines within two hours. Generally, it can take over eight hours to change the oil system within a turbine, which makes MasterFilter’s solution even more appealing. Customers have the option to replace their filter system or keep the incumbent filter system in place and simply install the MasterFilter system where their unit seamlessly ‘takes over’.
Paul Clark, Managing Director of MasterFilter, said: “We want to become the filter of choice for the industry and get the wind industry to demand cleaner oil to save money on operations and maintenance, achieve higher levels of availability, conserve a valuable finite fossil fuel and extend the life of their expensive assets.”
Testing at Strathclyde University proved MasterFilter’s standard product worked and was suitable for small and medium-sized wind turbines.
As wind turbines continue to get larger, the team wished to develop a supersized filter unit that maintained the same performance standards as their original model by optimising the design and performance of their primary filter unit.
MasterFilter was recently successful with an Analysis for Innovators (A4I) R7 R&D grant from Innovate UK. The successful A4I application will allow MasterFilter to not only build their first supersized MasterFilter prototype, but to also test it for flow rate, pressure and filter efficacy alongside the existing MasterFilter product.
By collaborating with National Engineering Laboratory on this project, the team will also be able to publish a technical report detailing the relative performances of both products. The data will be able to demonstrate that the filter performance can be directly applied to any wind turbine of any size and built by any OEM. National Engineering Laboratory will also certify both products, which will provide the confidence and assurance customers need and demand before purchasing or even trialling such a product.
Most recently, MasterFilter signed an NDA with a global energy company.
Reflecting upon Launch Academy, Managing Director, Paul Clark said: “Launch Academy has been amazing. We’ve really tried to take advantage of every opportunity that this programme has provided. MasterFilter had struggled to move forward during the Covid times, and we’d not benefited from any government Covid financial assistance so funds were stretched. Launch Academy gave us the shot in the arm we needed to revitalise and galvanise our determination to bring MasterFilter to market.”
The team has made great use of the modules available such as Legal and IP advice and working on their presentations and storytelling. Launch Academy also offers mentoring opportunities which the team has hugely benefitted from.
Paul added: “Personally, the biggest benefit I’ve received is the access I have with my mentor Tim from SSE. We have developed MasterFilter by making assumptions of what a customer wants and needs. What Tim provides is the true voice of a potential customer, which is invaluable. He has been incredibly helpful and I would like to make a special declaration of thanks to him for this. When you’re a micro-SME, it is virtually impossible to get access to huge global companies. We had tried for four years to do this and Launch Academy facilitated it.
“Launch Academy provides us as an SME with a credibility that is invaluable when initiating engagement with global companies.”