Decarbonising heat is the biggest challenge the UK faces in terms of transforming the energy system to meet carbon reduction targets and innovation is crucial to that challenge.
Sunamp is a developer of ‘heat batteries’ that can absorb and store thermal energy when it’s cheaper or cleaner to produce and release it again when it’s needed. The ‘heat batteries’ can be connected to a range of technologies, from gas boilers to renewables like solar panels or heat pumps, to deliver hot water and space heating.
Energy Systems Catapult is working with Sunamp via the Innovator Support Platform to assess the current market landscape, model how the technology can best be integrated into heating systems, assess the value for consumers, and refine the customer proposition.
Sunamp heat batteries on the production line
The Thermal Energy Challenge and Opportunity
Heating accounts for 37% of total UK carbon emissions, with how we heat our homes and buildings responsible for around 20%. To achieve our 2050 target of Net Zero emissions, the UK’s 27 million households will need to rapidly adopt new low carbon heat solutions throughout the 2020s and 2030s.
There is a significant opportunity for thermal storage to provide one of those solutions, by shifting loads to away from times of peak demand or by taking advantage of times of excess renewable generation.
The Heat Battery Innovation
Sunamp develops thermal energy storage to homes and businesses. Their super-compact chemical ‘heat battery’ technology has been intelligently designed to provide clean, efficient water heating and highly responsive space heating and proven savings of up to 75% on utility bills.
Sunamp are focusing on the residential market and the opportunity to decarbonise the UK domestic heating and hot water demand through maximising the use of embedded electric generation in homes, the efficient utilisation of high temperature heat pumps and thermal storage during times of surplus renewable energy generation. This could be in-conjunction with existing gas heating systems and therefore allows an organic approach as the UK moves to zero carbon heating.
Our Approach to Energy Innovation
Energy Systems Catapult is home to the Innovator Support Platform (ISP) that draws on Catapult capabilities and assets, along with those of our partners. The ISP provides innovators with tailored incubation and acceleration support to selected SMEs to help address systemic barriers, de-risk innovation, help businesses scale and secure investment.
Acceleration Support provides scale-up support for selected high-impact potential SMEs, including Business Model development and validation, Access to demonstration environments like the ‘Living Lab’, Engagement with potential corporate customers, Investment Readiness and Partnership, Access to International opportunities and Investment partners.
Support offered to Sunamp, includes: The ISP is helping Sunamp to determine the revenue streams associated with connecting their heat batteries directly to the grid and any embedded generation, in order to provide heating and hot water to households.
- Market Landscape Analysis: Delivery Support Network partner Eigen Ventures are exploring the technology, alternatives (technology and competitors, direct and indirect), policy and market drivers, revenue opportunities (System, DNO, P2P/local) is required to developing a baseline understanding of the market and opportunity for heat batteries. Followed will be an outline channel sales segmentation strategy to enable Sunamp to focus its resources and achieve revenue targets.
- Building Energy Systems Modelling: Utilising our Home Energy Dynamics model we will look at Sunamp heat batteries in various configurations against occupier and building archetype profiles. Create half hourly demand and generation profiles to inform tariff creation, grid support, customer segmentation and targeting (geographically and by building type).
- Business Model Innovation: Exploring the value proposition by sector (ie. self build, on/off grid, social landlord, owner occupier, DNO etc.) and geography. Looking at the revenue stacking opportunities for heat batteries as part of a ‘smart home’ solution. Understanding the policy and regulatory considerations/implications for building an energy service business model (and what this model might look like).
- Consumer Insight: Access current installed base to gain insights into consumer experiences with heat battery, the benefits realised and any behavioural changes, to help develop the Consumer Value Proposition for residential.
Discover more energy innovation case studies here.