Originally dismissed 17 years ago as a “wind-up” by Lord Alan Sugar, Dearman engine inventor Peter Dearman received a surprise message from the British business mogul as he was celebrated at a Royal Society dinner.
In November 2001, Dearman wrote to then Sir Alan Sugar saying he had invented an engine that could run on air, produced no pollution, and was cheap to manufacture.
The TV star’s reply, published in the Daily Mirror at the time, said “I was not sure whether your email was one of my pals trying to wind me up” before asking engineers to contact Dearman and warning “if you are trying to pull the wool over their eyes, forget it, as any credible organisation will just have a good laugh”.
The engine invented in a garage in Bishop’s Stortford has now grown into a south London-based company employing 70 people.
The Dearman Engine Company’s liquid nitrogen (N2)-powered transport refrigeration units, which are zero emission, have displaced diesels in the fleets of Sainsbury’s, Unilever and Marks & Spencer.
The dinner saw Dearman presented with a frame of Lord Sugar’s original message, alongside a new message he had signed ahead of the dinner, saying “Well done Peter, you finally got there!”
The event was opened by the Dearman Engine Company’s Member of Parliament, Rt Hon. Tom Brake MP, who led a Q&A with Dearman about how his invention came about and what it has now become.
The Dearman Engine Company CEO Scott Mac Meekin said, “This was a long overdue celebration of Peter Dearman, and we are finally seeing the incredible potential of the engine he invented in his garage in Bishop’s Stortford.”
“A huge thanks to Lord Alan Sugar for being a good sport and sending a surprise message for Peter. Framing it alongside his original reply from 17 years ago shows how far the Dearman engine has come, to now have a company of 70 people working on it.”
“We were also delighted to have our Member of Parliament, Tom Brake, open the event. And having major industry players attend the dinner, in the grand surroundings of the Royal Society, just shows the high regard that Peter Dearman is rightly held in.”