Why crowdfund?

crowdfunder logoIt is common for innovative projects at an early stage to get trapped in the ‘valley of death’ – that gap between having a good idea and accessing funds for development.

We’ve been able to make progress so far is by employing a super low-budget method of working and although we light-heartedly joke about our ‘shoestring durch technik’ methodology it can be frustratingly slow at times. Interestingly, working on-the-cheap and using adapted ‘junk’ can introduce new ideas and insights to a project in a way that using new components and materials cannot, but there are limitations. However, we think that we’ve developed our ideas sufficiently now to show that we’re on to something and that our concepts are workable. Crowd funding seemed the best way to take our ideas onto the next level, where we can continue working on similar lines as before, but with the crowd’s financial assistance the development process will be considerably faster.

In essence, we’ve been exploring the cheapest, the most ecologically benign, the most efficient and the mechanically simplest way to build and run an engine. Despite this being a somewhat mind-bending undertaking, we’re now reasonably confident that we can build a complete engine for trials, given that we’ve done much experimental development and testing of the principle engine sub-components. We don’t yet have a single ‘target market’ in mind and aim to have a flexible approach to this engine development project. However, trials of our first highly simplified prototype engine should inform us as to how we should further develop the idea; perhaps as a boat engine, or maybe for portable generator sets for off-grid applications, or even as D.I.Y. engine kits or plans. There are many many other examples we could mention, all of which would require slightly different mechanical designs and development strategies, but we first need to trial a simple engine.

Crowd funding not only brought in some much needed cash to tackle this tricky project with confidence, but has also connected us with many like-minded people. It has been a great boost to have the support of our 134 backers, many other offers of help and expressions of interest including from TV companies and even some future customers. In this respect, we would be most interested in building bespoke wood fuelled engines for specific applications for a customer’s particular practical requirements. We would also value any comments or thoughts about the Zennor Phoenix project in general.