Energy firm set to create 700 new jobs in Ipswich through launch of ‘game-changing’ gas boiler

Flow Energy chief executive Tony Stiff stands by the boiler that could revolutionise heating.

Flow Energy chief executive Tony Stiff stands by the boiler that could revolutionise heating. - Credit: Su Anderson

An Ipswich-based energy firm plans to create around 700 jobs over the next two to three years as it launches a revolutionary new gas boiler.

Felaw Maltings-based Flow Energy, which sells gas and electricity to householders, says it will be expanding its Suffolk sales and backroom staff workforce following the launch of its new electricity-creating ‘mini power station’ for the home in January.

An American manufacturing giant, Jabil, will be making the boilers for Flow in Livingstone, Scotland, and the first of these should roll off the production line in about a fortnight.

Flow boss Tony Stiff said the product will revolutionise the heating market in the UK.

“It’s a world first. It’s a game-changing product,” he said. “It’s a gas boiler. It looks like a gas boiler, but when it runs it generates electricity as well.”

The company, which has a research and development site in Chester, bought the patent for the product from America about 10 years ago.

It developed the idea at a cost of about £60million, and a year ago, Westerfield-based Mr Stiff, who started out as its commercial director, set up a 100-strong sales operation from a standing start in Ipswich. He felt the town was the ideal base for the operation because of its strong energy sales sector and established skills base.

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Because of the high cost of the first boilers to come off the production line, Flow has decided to offer suitable householders a deal whereby they pay their own installation costs, but the company will foot the bill for the boiler through a finance arrangement. The customer buys electricity from the company under a contract which has got the thumbs-up from energy watchdog Ofgem.

Because the boilers are doubling as electricity generators, they will consume slightly more gas than a modern boiler when they are operating, and this is expected to increase the annual bill by about £40.

“It reduces carbon by about 20% in your home,” said Mr Stiff. “It’s not a renewable technology. It’s using gas, but it uses gas far more efficiently then we would in a power station.”

He added: “If you have a million of these units installed, you would have a couple of the large power stations that you would would not need. We think this will increase the security of supply in the UK and will enable us to help UK plc as well as the customer.”