Sunamp and Glasgow University win £2m collaborative project with China

Press Release ( - GLASGOW, Scotland - Feb 20, 2017 - Sunamp, an SME and world leader in high energy density, high power density Heat Battery energy storage, has led a successful funding bid jointly with Glasgow University and partners in China to boost the performance of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power plants that use clean, although intermittent, renewable heat sources for distributed heat and power supply in China.

By integrating Sunamp’s heat storage technologies with the ORC it is possible to produce a more dependable distributed heat and power supply using a wide range of renewable heat sources, such as solar energy.

ORC has the same working principle as a steam power cycle, except it uses organic compounds with low boiling points as working fluids. It is believed to be among the most promising technologies to use sources of renewable heat and cut pollution generated by fossil fuels, and it perfectly fits  the needs of a country like China, still mainly relying on coal for its heat and power needs, but with big plans to increase penetration of renewables.

The joint project has been awarded £2M (10M RMB and £815K GBP) funding from the China-UK Research and Innovation Bridges programme, a joint UK China initiative under the Newton Fund developing cutting edge solutions for agri-food, energy, healthcare, and urbanisation. At £21m it is largest ever bilateral call between UK and China. In addition, UK partners have contributed £182K towards project costs and Chinese partners contributed a further £577K.

The research consortium comprises Sunamp Ltd and University of Glasgow in the UK, and Chinese project lead Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) and business partner China Investment Yixing Red Sun Solar Energy Technology Company (CIYR), a medium sized SME focusing on solar thermal power generation technologies.

Andrew Bissell, Sunamp founder and CEO, said: “To overcome the intermittency of solar energy, Sunamp heat batteries will be integrated with  ORC power plants to store heat energy for power generation when the sun doesn’t shine.  This funding award allows us to bring together complementary expertise of the project partners in the UK and China to address the remaining technical challenges ready for commercial roll out.”

Academic leader Dr Zhibin Yu from the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering said: “We’re pleased to be working on this exciting project with Sunamp, Beijing University of Technology and China Investment Yixing Red Sun Solar Energy Technology Company.

“The Rankine Cycle is named after the University of Glasgow pioneer Professor William Rankine FRS (1820-1872), so it’s particularly fitting that the University of Glasgow is contributing to this project. Building upon on-going research on ORC power generation technologies at the School, this exciting project will facilitate knowledge transfer, delivering real impacts to the world.”


Newton Fund background

Launched in 2014, and now with a total UK investment of £735 million to 2021, the Newton Fund is a Ministerial-led, high profile programme managed by the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which aims to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and 15 emerging (knowledge) economies. The partnership countries are Turkey, Brazil, Chile, India, Colombia, Egypt, China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam. £375 million will be spent by the UK through the Fund over a 5-year period (2014-2019), with matched funding/effort being provided by the partner countries. The Fund forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), i.e. the UK’s support to developing and emerging economies for their socio-economic development (

Sunamp designs and produces heat batteries which store energy as heat when it is available and release it when it is required, thus overcoming the intermittent nature of many other renewable energy sources.

The company has worked closely with Professor Colin Pulham of the University Of Edinburgh School Of Chemistry in developing its products.  Sunamp uses phase change materials (PCM) to create the systems that are capable of storing and releasing heat.  The patented, non-toxic Sunamp Heat Battery technology stores and provides heat to warm a building or deliver hot water.

The University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering is a pioneer in power generation technologies. The team from University of Glasgow comprises Dr Zhibin Yu, a Lecturer in Energy Engineering, is an expert in thermal energy technologies including ORC systems and heat pumps; Professor Yun Li,an expert in intelligent systems and control engineering; Dr Keliang Zhou, a Senior Lecturer in power electronics, and Professor Paul Younger FREng, Rankine Chair of Engineering and Professor of Energy Engineering at University of Glasgow.

Source : Sunamp

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