Futraheat wins BEIS funding for novel heat pump

Futraheat, a London-based clean technology start-up, has won funding from BEIS to trial its high temperature ‘Greensteam’ heat pump.

Futraheat's 'Greensteam' heat pump can reportedly reduce energy consumption by up to 90 per cent
Futraheat's 'Greensteam' heat pump can reportedly reduce energy consumption by up to 90 per cent - Futraheat

The innovative heat pump prototype will be trialled at Sussex’s Hepworth Brewery in 2023, supported by £406,000 Phase 3 funding from the BEIS Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) competition. Manufacturing integration specialist Projective is also a partner on the project.

Futraheat’s modular Greensteam heat pump uses a new type of patented turbo compressor, known as TurboClaw, which cost-effectively recovers low grade waste heat – a by-product of many industrial processes – and boosts it up to 150°C, where it can be successfully reused onsite.

Hepworth Brewery currently uses a standard oil boiler for its process heat. Replacing it with Futraheat’s heat pump is expected to reduce energy consumption by up to 90 per cent, provide fuel cost savings of up to 40 per cent and reduce carbon emissions by up to 100 per cent when the heat pump is powered by renewable energy.

“Process heat generation by industry for 100°C-200°C heat is responsible for over three per cent of total global emissions – that’s more than the entire aviation industry,” commented Futraheat managing director Tom Taylor.

“Futraheat’s current prototype is to be modified to produce low-pressure steam for use at Hepworth Brewery. The 300kWt high temperature heat pump will have a temperature input of 100°C and raise this to deliver 130°C for the brewery’s existing wort boiling process.”

The project will enable Futraheat to validate its technology through testing in a real-world, operational setting, he added, before developing the first commercial Greensteam product due to go to market in 2024.

According to the UK government, industry accounted for 16 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, making it the largest emitting sector. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) estimated that decarbonising industry will take £8bn in public and private investment a year.

“We are pleased to be able to collaborate on this project with two organisations committed to making an environmental impact. Futraheat has a global market, and we see potential for this technology across industrial sectors around the world. It’s fitting that its first ever industrial trial will be so close to home,” Taylor said.

The IEEA is funded through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and managed by the Carbon Trust, with support from Jacobs and Innovate UK KTN. The high temperature heat pump demonstrator was originally designed and developed by Futraheat and Projective under Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), awarded in 2021.