A Pioneering Team

Sunborne Systems was founded by a group of experienced scientists and engineers who continue to run the business today. Together, they represent an unrivalled body of expertise in the field of cracking ammonia to produce green energy.

Founders

DR JAMES BARTH

Chief Executive Officer

One of Sunborne Systems’ founders, James is the inventor of many of the advanced ammonia-based cycles that Sunborne’s technology enables. An aerothermal specialist by training, he has tackled problems ranging from multi-phase microscale flows to heavy industrial processes and hydrogen-fuelled aerospace propulsion systems. Elected a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 2021, James has proven leadership, strategic and business development skills in the field of engineering.

PROF BILL DAVID

Chief Scientific Officer
As both Professor of Chemistry at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford and Senior Fellow at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility, Bill’s scientific research focuses on the development of new materials and technologies that will move us away from our dependence of fossil fuels. He is a leading figure behind Sunborne’s ammonia-based technology. As well as a number of national and international awards, Bill is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

DR HAMISH NICHOL

Chief Programmes Development Officer
A specialist in leading the commercialisation of new technologies, Hamish combines deep technical understanding with extensive commercial experience. He is passionate about helping create strong partnerships with customers and stakeholders – driving mutual commercial growth whilst ensuring operations are firmly focused on the drive to net zero.

Dr Tom Wood

Head of Chemistry

A co-founder of Sunborne Systems, Tom has spent the last decade developing the STFC catalyst technology, aiding its evolution through several generations. Tom is also responsible for developing bespoke software for the analysis of ammonia cracking (and synthesis) catalysts, with many published papers on these systems to his name.

TOM SCROPE

Tom joined Reaction Engines as CFO as an executive Board director there in 2014. Tom established Sunborne as a spin out with the other founding shareholders, to enable the venture to operate rapidly, independently and with singular mission focus. Tom has a Natural Sciences degree from Durham University and a Business Administration Masters from INSEAD. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants.

DR LIZ KIRBY

With a degree in Chemistry and a DPhil in Physical Chemistry from the University of Oxford, Liz is vastly experienced in leading the delivery of business and innovation strategy. Her main focus is the commercialisation of early-stage technologies and business incubation – she has an extensive knowledge of IP strategy, IP licensing, contract negotiation, and spin-out company formation.

RICHARD VARVILL

A passionate advocate of achieving net zero through rocket science, Richard began his career with Rolls-Royce Military Engine Division – working on advanced gas turbine concepts. He was responsible for engine design work on the RB545 air-breathing rocket engines for HOTOL and winged launcher studies for the European Space Agency. Richard is a founding Director of Reaction Engines Ltd and helped devise the SABRE concept with its innovative precooler technology.

ROBERT TREZONA

As Vice Chairman and co-founder of Kiko Ventures, Robert works hands-on with founders of hardware businesses – supporting them to help unlock advances in clean technology. Robert has been working in cleantech since 2000, when he started his career as a hydrogen and fuel cell scientist. He is a McKinsey consultant and is passionate about growing a community focussed on climate technology innovation.