A collaboration between Dr Tadhg O'Donovan, of IMPEE, and the micro SME Soltropy Limited has been recognised at the inaugural Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.
The collaboration was recognised in the Category of 'Sustained Partnership - for a partnership that has demonstrated long term benefits to both the business and the academic teams.' Dr O'Donovan's work with the Company, stimulated by small grants from Interface, an organisation that is tasked with stimulating demand for innovation and encouraging companies to consider academic support to help solve business challenges, the business development programme 'Starter for 6' and the Energy Technology Partnership, has led to an innovative solution that allows a domestic water supply to be heated directly from solar thermal panels with high efficiency and lower-cost.
This is particularly important in the light of global efforts to decarbonise energy as solar thermal heating systems reduce CO2 emissions by displacing the use of fossil fuels saving between 230kg and 510 kg CO2 emissions per year. The partnership has since secured a large research and development grant from Innovate UK to further develop a mass produced, easy to handle, modular solar thermal panel aimed at the UK and European markets.
Dr O'Donovan said, “The use of renewable energy and energy storage is an important focus for my work and that of the Heriot-Watt Energy Academy. It includes modelling of the cost of energy from these renewable assets, system integration and the development of control strategies for new technologies which complement more basic research into energy materials from colleagues within the Energy Academy. I'm excited to be working with Soltropy and to watch it grow.”