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26 September, 2020 - 22:33 By Tony Quested

Cambridge companies in bid to revolutionise refrigeration

Grant Instruments has partnered with Cambridge University spin-out Barocal Ltd to develop a cooling system which uses the novel cooling and heating effects of barocaloric materials as a zero-carbon alternative to gas-compression cooling and heating.

The Cambridge partners aim to connect with manufacturers of air conditioning and refrigeration systems to deliver the zero HFC technology to global markets. The collaboration has the potential to completely eliminate hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants which are extremely potent greenhouse gases. 

They companies say the project will deliver a zero HFC, energy efficient cooling system combined with a new method for precise temperature control, using scientific cooling baths as a demonstrator system. The objectives are to develop barocaloric cooling technology which firstly can more precisely cool and control the temperature of fluids and cooling baths used in research and industrial laboratories, and secondly can demonstrate replacement of gas-compression refrigerants in a small market with early adopter capability.

The project builds upon an Innovate UK funded SMART feasibility study in which cooling was created by the barocaloric effect when an organic solid is subjected to changes in pressure. This transformative technology originates from the research of Dr Xavier Moya and his team at the Department of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain.

Grant Instruments brings decades of know-how and innovation in scientific refrigeration, used to develop and build products which are exported to all parts of the world. The company’s investment in the project with Barocal is one of several energy efficiency and climate change projects they are currently engaged in.

Mark Davison, CEO at Grant Instruments, said: “We’ve been pioneering new things for nearly seventy years, for customers like CERN, NASA, and many universities and corporations. Barocal’s revolutionary technology fits well with our strategic plan for the future and we look forward to helping them to grow and succeed”.

Will Averdieck, Managing Director of Barocal said: “Our groundbreaking technical innovation, with Grant’s industrialisation know-how, will enable us to develop refrigeration products which help the world get to zero carbon more quickly”.

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