Smart heating and cooling innovators to be propelled by Catapult
Five SMEs working on innovative heating and cooling solutions have been selected by Energy Systems Catapult to receive tailored business incubation and acceleration support as part of its mission to foster clean growth and boost innovation in the UK energy sector.
As the second intake to the Catapult’s Innovator Support Platform (ISP), the five firms will receive specialist business support to help them commercialise or scale-up at speed.
The ISP combines its own advanced energy-focused tools, assets and capabilities with wider business support delivered by the Catapult’s network of around 40 firms. The aim is to help innovators unlock new routes-to-market whilst breaking down barriers to growth.
A significant driver of carbon emissions and energy use within the UK is from heating systems used in both commercial and domestic applications. The focus of this latest cohort was around smart, digital, connected heating and cooling solutions which use data to deliver better comfort for consumers.
The Catapult consulted with industry to identify the innovation gaps for developing smart heating and cooling technologies. It then invited a shortlist of SMEs already working on relevant solutions to attend a two-day workshop and interview to assess their suitability for the programme.
The ISP received applications from across the UK, all of which were robustly evaluated by the ISP panel. Following the workshop and interview, five innovators were invited to take part:
- iPower – a social enterprise with the charitable object of promoting sustainability and addressing fuel poverty, iPower has developed a virtual power plant using a digital control system that wirelessly monitors and manages homes, businesses, energy generators and energy storage systems to help create a more stable, greener energy system.
- Logicor – an energy-focused R&D business, Logicor has developed an all-electric infrared heating system specially designed for use in homes that delivers comfort more efficiently than conventional radiators.
- Senergy – has developed lightweight yet strong polymer and nanomaterial solar thermal panels which can integrate seamlessly with commercial roofing systems to support a substantial element of a building’s heat demand and can be integrated with a ground-source heat pump.
- Sunamp – developer of a chemical ‘heat battery’ that can store energy when it’s cheaper to produce and release it again when it’s needed. It can be connected to a range of technologies, from gas boilers to renewables such as solar panels or heat pumps to deliver hot water and space heating.
- Ventive – has developed an intelligent ventilation system to deliver fresh air into buildings while reducing heat loss at minimal energy cost – called Passive Ventilation with Heat Recovery (PVHR).
The range of support being offered to the firms includes developing the customer offer, defining and strengthening their business model, product development, developing intellectual property strategies, gaining access to test and validation facilities, forming partnerships and helping to secure investment.
During 2018-19, Energy Systems Catapult engaged with 228 businesses, including significant support for 37 SMEs and collaborated with 88 industrial partners.
Last year, the ISP launched the Incubation and Acceleration services to help SMEs commercialise and prepare for investment. The success with the first intake of six companies has made the service a permanent fixture in the Catapult’s offering, and there are now plans to work with around a dozen SMEs each year.
Paul Jordan, Innovator Support Business Lead at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “We were overwhelmed by the calibre of the businesses that approached us to work with the ISP, and whilst choosing the final shortlist was tough, we are really thrilled with the diverse mix of SMEs that have signed up to our programme.
“Energy Systems Catapult was set up to drive innovation in the energy sector and foster clean economic growth. Through the Innovator Support Platform, we wanted to give energy-focussed SMEs with the potential to achieve high levels of growth and impact on the energy system the chance to benefit from our advanced range of tools, assets and capabilities, as well as our network of 40 firms who are on hand to provide wider support on a range of areas key to any growing business.
“Our team of highly experienced staff know the tough challenges that the sector poses for new entrants inside and out. They will work closely with these innovators to tailor our support to the unique needs of their business and put them in the best position possible to succeed.
“We look forward to working with the five SMEs and discovering how we can take them to the next level.”
David Bowen, Managing Director of Logicor, said: “We are very pleased to have been recognised and accepted on Energy System Catapult’s Innovation Support Platform.
“We would like to thank the Catapult team for considering our Clear Heating System for this programme and look forward to working with the team to help support and develop ideas in assisting the acceleration of our system to market.
“As a research and development company, it is great to receive recognition for the progress and developments we have made with our heating system and have the Catapult championing our cause in helping people to reduce energy consumption which in turns helps the environment and helps reduce carbon emissions.”
Jon Cape, Managing Director of iPower, said: “I am delighted that iPower has been selected by the Energy Systems Catapult to take part in the accelerator stream of its Innovator Support Platform. It was a highly competitive process.
“We look forward to working with the Catapult to further develop our low carbon solutions that are kind to the wallet as well as the climate.”
Rob Morrison, Managing Director of Ventive, said: “We are delighted to hear that we are one of the five UK companies to have been chosen for this programme, which is pivotal in driving innovation in the energy arena. The UK is in a very challenging position. As our energy supply profile changes and we move toward a more decarbonised grid, the challenge of demand management and balancing becomes ever greater.
“This is excellent recognition of the hard work our team has put in over the years to push the boundaries on efficient design in commercial and domestic energy use. We look forward to the outcomes of the project and in continuing to drive the smart energy revolution.”
Andrew Bissell, Sunamp Founder & CEO, said: “We are excited about participating in the Innovator Support Platform. It will enable us to develop products and solutions which decarbonise heat and cooling utilising demand side flexibility, and thereby maximising renewable generation.
“We are already being approached by companies from around the world who want to use our unique range of products, which shows the massive export potential that exists for Sunamp and our partners.”
Christine Boyle, Chief Executive of Senergy, said: “For Senergy, the ISP opportunity will allow us to test the integration of Senergy solar panels with the optimum renewable heating system and smart home energy system, whilst also integrating our technology with a strategic business model that will deliver exactly what the customer wants.
“The value the expert teams within the Energy Systems Catapult will bring and the detailed focus of the ISP programme will ensure speed and success as we introduce the Senergy Panels to our first customers.”
Find out more about how the Catapult is supporting these SMEs via the links below.