Scottish innovator Biskit Controls is testing a patented technology called the Hydro Genie – that is designed to improve the performance of central heating systems.
Testing in the Living Lab – a unique real-world trial facility of 100 connected homes – allows innovative businesses to rapidly design, market-test and launch new energy products and services, or as in the case of Hydro Genie, demonstrate and validate existing innovations.
The Challenge and Opportunity
The water circulating within central heating is the most inefficient part of the system. Water contains dissolved oxygen that, when heated, forms as bubbles on the heat exchanger in a boiler. This acts like bubble wrap, slowing down heat transfer and producing rusty black sludge that clogs the system.
Biskit Controls received a patent for their Hydro Genie in 2018 and have carried out testing with the Scottish Environmental Technology Network in conjunction with Strathclyde University. The tests showed energy and carbon savings of up to 49.8% for domestic homes and up to 39% for commercial buildings.
The Living Lab will provide real-world validation as Biskit Controls aim to apply for accreditation under the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme for energy efficiency products that help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty..
With almost 300 units so far installed, their ambition is to scale up in the medium term, with discussions underway to keep the innovation manufactured locally by veterans from Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company.
Fitted alongside an existing boiler or heat pump, the Hydro Genie removes oxygen bubbles from the water circulating in a central heating system to improve heat transfer from the boiler to the water and from the water to radiators.
The innovation applies Henry’s Law, which predicts that dissolved gasses are released from liquids when pressure is reduced (assuming constant temperature). The absence of dissolved oxygen improves the efficiency of heat transfer and retention.
So using applied physics, fluid dynamics and electronics, the Hydro Genie cleans, enhances and regulates the heat transfer to the circulating water in a central heating system. This also leads to up to 20% more heat being generated across the radiators.
This should deliver heat more efficiently, saving energy and reducing bills and CO2.
Living Lab: Home energy innovation
Biskit Controls gained access to the Living Lab through a competition run by Energy Systems Catapult at the end of 2019, looking for SMEs developing innovations that enable the adoption of low carbon retrofit measures to improve home comfort, energy efficiency and drive down consumer bills.
Services being delivered as part of the Living Lab trial, include:
- Technical performance analysis – the Hydro Genie system was fitted into five homes within the Living Lab in late winter 2020 and a further five will be fitted in autumn. The Catapult will collect, analyse and report on data collected from the homes through its digital research platform during the trial (e.g. gas consumption, air temperature, relative humidity, local weather).
- Consumer insight analysis – the Catapult will gather feedback from consumers in the Living Lab on the installation, set up, early use and longer-term use to identify ‘positives/negatives’ and opportunities for improvement.