Steve Lindsey - Founder and CEO, Lontra

Steve Lindsey is the man behind one of the most exciting industrial developments of this century. His new blade compressor – the first such innovation in 80 years – is at least 20pc more efficient than traditional piston technology. He founded Lontra to commercialise his invention in 2004 and has spent more than a decade proving the technology. Steve’s ambition is to revolutionise industrial machinery, in the same way that Apple revolutionised the way we think about phones.

Steve Lindsey Steve Lindsey


How has Lontra evolved over the years?

Lontra has transformed from an intellectual property company, which licensed its technology, to a compressor manufacturer and sales organisation. We’re going after many industries now, from water treatment to pharmaceutical and food manufacturing.

How hard was it to introduce a brand new technology to this market?

Lontra is challenging a vast and established industry. Early on, this was a worry for me. Could we really establish ourselves in such a vast industry filled with incumbents and people who were happy with status quo? But there has been real appetite from industry, especially in the US.

How did you succeed in reinventing the compressor – where many have failed?

I’m not an engineer. I actually have a chemistry degree. But I am a natural problem solver. I was reading a history of the engine and was amazed by how many people had tried and failed to make progress. The consensus was that everything that could be attempted with the technology had already been tried. I love a challenge, so I thought I’d have a go.

What does the future hold?

Lontra is a big story for the UK in terms of exports. We drive efficiencies of 20pc or more in every industry we tackle, which is really exciting for our customers. In time, we will compete with some of the industry’s largest companies worldwide. My ambition is to revolutionise industrial machinery, in the same way that Apple revolutionised the way we think about phones.

Fast facts:

  • Steve is 46
  • Lontra employs 22 people
  • Steve Lindsey founded the business in 2004
  • The blade compressor is the first major improvement to the compressor for 80 years
  • The air compressor market – just one of Lontra’s target sectors – is worth $60bn a year
“It has taken almost 14 years to develop the technology behind Lontra and bring it to market. This shows the depth of Steve’s commitment to the business, and his drive to make it succeed. His faith has not been misplaced. Pretty soon his blade compressor could be in everything from industrial machines to domestic air conditioning systems. Companies all over the world are clamouring for the efficiencies the blade compressor can bring to their business. This could well be a future household name in the making.”

Rob Schofield, LDC