Vortex Power Systems was founded on the vision of making power from atmospheric vortices a reality. Our origins come from research undertaken by Professor Richard Flay and Neil Hawkes at the University of Auckland, investigating how dust devil's and other vortices form in nature. After analyzing data from an old NASA experiment, our founders realized that if we provide the right set of conditions we can re-create this phenomena and thus Vortex Power Systems was born.
Since our inception in 2017 we have developed and built our own proprietary testing rig at the University of Auckland's aerodynamics lab and used this to prove the physics that underpin our technology and are now focused on designing and building our first in field - demonstration unit. This unit will enable us to create full scale vortices that can prove our technology's commercial potential and assist in our development of our first electricity generating pilot plant.
Richard is an expert in the fields of aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamic, wind and yacht engineering. He has consulted and researched in the areas of wind engineering, wind energy, wind tunnel design, wind tunnel testing. A highlight was his design of the world’s first wind tunnel capable of producing twisted flow for testing yacht sails. This wind tunnel was used by Team New Zealand, and helped them win the America’s Cup in 1995. He is a member of the Australasian Wind Loading Standard Committee. His expertise in the design of fans and wind turbines is particularly relevant to the present proposal, which requires the design of an innovative wind turbine to operate near the vortex core.
Neil is a mature and proven entrepreneur with over 30 years of commercial experience and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (First Class Honours). Neil is pursuing his PhD in the development of this technology. Neil served as a business director for Inductoheat (Tewkesbury) Ltd in the UK and Freedom Mobility Ltd in New Zealand. Neil has extensive experience in process and machine design and development in induction heating and laser systems. He completed a Master of Engineering research degree in the VPS technology in 2015, with first class honours and is studying for a PhD in the development of this technology, which is expected to provide additional resources to Vortex’s development programme.
Perzaan is an experienced engineering and deep-tech start up executive. Prior to Vortex Power Systems he was General Manager for Orbis Diagnostic limited where he led the development and execution of its pre-Series A round to commercialize its progesterone test. Perzaan was also an Associate at Deep tech Venture Capital firm Pacific Channel, where he led the due diligence efforts into clean tech. He holds degrees in Mechatronics Engineering , Finance, and Economics from the University of Auckland.
Billy is a driven Chemical & Materials Engineer and Project Manager with a depth and breadth of experience of New Zealand’s major process industries, gained through his time with Dobbie Engineers. With a conviction for developing New Zealand and the World’s clean energy infrastructure, he is great fit in the team. Billy drives our commercial pathway forward and spends his down time as a Multisport Expeditionist.
Gary is an experienced clean tech engineer and start up executive who provides strategic commercial and engineering advice to the R&D development. Gary previously served as the CEO of Eco-Diesel - a start up that developed technology to produce bio-diesels in NZ, whose assets were later acquired by Z energy. Gary also has led the technical development, design and implementation of major plants globally.
Paul is a professional director and experienced finance professional. He is a Chartered Accountant and a long-standing member of the Institute of Directors and is currently a director of a number of listed and private companies. Paul has held senior executive experience in start-ups, public companies, multi nationals and an SOE. His experience included 12 years with Sky Network Television as its founding Chief Financial Officer and 4 years as Chief Financial Officer of Meridian Energy which included serving as a director of Southern Hydro, Australia’s largest renewable energy company.
Jaco Pretoruis, has over 25 years of experience in product development. Jaco started his career as an aerospace engineer and has designed, built and space qualified equipment that is on-orbit in the Space Station today. Later in his career, Jaco focused on high technology commercialization and counts US government institutions such as NASA, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, as well as Fortune 500 companies in the aerospace, chemical, energy and transportation sectors as his clients.
Ashwath is an Investment manager at Deep tech venture capital fund Pacific Channel. Ashwath has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Canterbury with a MBA from INSEAD. Starting his career with Accenture in Australia where he was focusing on corporate strategy and digital tech. Ash has worked across different sectors including healthcare, telco, oil and gas and media sectors doing the due diligence, advising on joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions. Ash later joined Google where he was bought in to expand the consultancy business and later in the early stage commercialization space at Wellington UniVentures.