The covaxe® team

Here at covaxe® we work with long-established experts in the design of two-stroke compression ignition engines, tribology, combustion simulation and specialist manufacturing.

We are led by an experienced management team and benefit from both private investment and that from the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre.

Please see below for an insight into the four members that comprise our management team.





Managing Director and Chief Engineer, Professor William Fairney FREng FIET

William (“Bill”) developed the concept of combining a barrel engine architecture with a constant volume, 2-stroke diesel combustion cycle and founded covaxe® to develop and market the engine. Bill is a chartered electrical engineer and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

A high-achieving career in the electrical power industry culminated in positions as Director of Plant Engineering at the Central Electricity Generating Board and Director of Engineering and Construction with National Power. Bill has been a Business Adviser to Young Enterprise Gloucestershire and Visiting Professor in Engineering at Durham University. He is an author, was a private pilot and light aircraft owner, and counts astronomy and mathematics amongst his interests.

Project Director, Nigel Vaughan BSc, CEng FIET

Nigel is a chartered electronics and systems engineer with over three decades’ experience of large, complex, highly integrated projects and programmes. Nigel was the founder and MD of a highly successful systems engineering and engineering science consultancy, acquired by a large US engineering services corporation at the end of 2010. He has also fulfilled senior engineering roles in the UK’s Ministry of Defence and in several UK Defence and Aerospace Prime Contractors.

He has managed and personally undertaken research, system study and system engineering activities. He has provided strategic review and advice to MoD and industry relating to critical programmes and research portfolio. He is a Fellow of the IET. As well as being Project Director for the development of the covaxe® engine, Nigel provides training in the engineering management of large, complex engineering programmes, is a Trustee of a Trust Port and splits his “hobby time” between sailing and boats, flying a light aircraft and motorcycling.

Commercial Director, Rick Denniff

Rick is a business focused IT professional with experience of system design, project delivery and operational management in the agricultural and automotive finance industry. Rick has held roles at senior management and director levels for large corporates (Barclays and Daimler) but has also been involved with several start-up businesses, which he finds both exciting and rewarding.

For the last few years Rick has been engaged as a wholesale finance consultant working on projects in the USA, Russia, Europe and South Africa. Rick brings a wealth of commercial expertise to the covaxe® team. In his leisure time Rick enjoys fishing, trekking and printmaking.

Investor and Adviser to the Board, Dipl. Ing. Herr Rolf Schwartz

With a career which began as a toolmaker, Rolf is now an industrialist and professional engineer with over five decades of design and manufacturing experience related to large, complex and advanced industrial heat treatment plants for metals, ceramics and glass. Rolf was the founder of the Schwartz Group, an international leader in heat treatment systems. Rolf received more than 30 successful patents, some of them worldwide. Having sold his company, Rolf is now free to pursue new goals, both as a businessman and an engineer.

He is actively engaged in the design and manufacture of new machines, and brings to covaxe detailed knowledge of materials, material treatments and mechanical engineering design. Rolf is married to Gabi, has three daughters and a grandson and spends most of his leisure time flying light aircraft, but has also been active in running marathons, sailing, mountaineering and motorcycling.

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