Case studies

A clean break

Dearman is a technology company developing zero-emission cold and power systems for transport and the built environment.

Dearman engineThe transport of food and medicine management of data, and modern transportation all demand cooling; however, the need for cold is generally met without-dated, disproportionately polluting diesel systems. Dearman is working with the Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage (BCCES) at the University of Birmingham, and partners across the Midlands, such as the Manufacturing Technology Centres (MTC). Dearman is rapidly developing applications for this clean cold technology.

Partnership with BCCES has enabled Dearman to conduct durability and efficiency testing on the engine with a focus on tribology – the study of friction, wear and lubrication. More importantly, collaboration with BCCES has enabled Dearman to develop the knowledge and skills needed to develop the revolutionary clean cold technology, as it moves quickly from idea to commercially available product. 

Dearman’s first application on zero emission transport refrigeration unit, began on-road trials in 2015. New applications, such as hybrid systems for buses and a back-up power and cooling system for buildings, are being developed at the company’s own facility, the world’s first dedicated clean cold R&D facility.

As the company grows, so is it recruiting more talented engineers and analytics, a number of which have joined the company as graduates from the University of Birmingham. 

A heated exchange

British Gas, South Tyneside Home and Spirax Sarco were interested in developing new storage technology that could be retro-fitted to heat pump installations to make use of off-peak electricity to generate savings, and approached the University of Warwick for assistance with developing different thermal storage designs.

Modular stores were developed that were constructed from polypropylene sheets containing narrow channels effective plate heat exchange. However, although polypropylene is lightweight and chemically resistant, it is difficult to bond.

A team within The Interdisciplinary Centre for Storage, Transformation and Upgrading of Thermal Energy (i-STUTE), at the University of Warwick investigated different thermal energy storage materials and exchanger designs to overcome the issue of providing a low cost modular storage system that could be retro-fitted in unused spaces.

The team identified and tested suitable storage materials and demonstrated the efficacy of the heat exchanger design. Experimental results were used to develop a validated system performance model that was used to predict potential economic savings.