The revolutionary Dearman Engine, which uses the expansion of liquid nitrogen to produce zero emission cold and power, is being exhibited at the UK-Qatar Business and Investment Forum hosted by the UK and Qatari Governments in Birmingham. Dearman is part of the University of Birmingham Energy Capital exhibition to demonstrate world-class UK expertise which can support the Qatari 2030 National Vision. The Forum aims to strengthen and broaden UK-Qatari trade and investment.
There can be few countries that appreciate the value of cooling better than Qatar; half the country’s electricity goes on air conditioning, and much of the rest on refrigeration. Demand is expected to triple over the next decade. Across the Gulf meeting the projected cooling demand growth in the Gulf countries to 2030 is estimated to cost about US$100 billion in new cooling capacity and over US$120 billion in new power capacity if it maintains its existing pattern of technology deployment.
Says Professor Toby Peters, Visiting Professor in Power and Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham and the founder of Dearman:
“Qatar is committed to enabling transformational change in low carbon energy systems infrastructure through innovation in policy, economic models and disruptive technologies. Key is an optimal energy system for cooling and the Dearman engine harnessing liquid air to deliver clean cold and power can be a core part of a sustainable cooling strategy for all three key areas, transport, data and the built environment.
“The challenge historically has been that when people talked about energy, they often meant electricity, and when they talked about energy storage, they meant batteries. This blurring of concepts matters because it fails to recognise that a large slice of energy consumption comes in the form of thermal energy, especially cooling, and that cooling would often be better served by energy storage technology other than electricity and batteries,” added Professor Peters.”
The trade show will bring together a host of senior UK and Qatari government representatives, including the UK International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, and the Minister of Finance His Excellency Ali Shareef Al-Emadi. They will be accompanied by hundreds of executives, high-profile business figures and council leaders with the ambition of advancing investment opportunities and commercial ties between the two countries.
The Midlands is already the focus of major investment into energy research with University of Birmingham and other Midlands universities- Loughborough, Aston, Warwick, Leicester and Nottingham and the British Geological Survey having been granted £60 million by the UK government for the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), which will focus on thermal, integrated systems and geo-energy to help tackle global economic challenges. The thermal energy workstream (T-ERA) has identified the need for more efficient cooling and refrigeration technologies. The investment unlocks a total of £180 million worth of investment, unveiled by then Chancellor George Osborne, in what the UK government has called the Midlands Engine.
Dearman is developing a suite of applications for the transport, energy, retailing and data sectors, the first of which is the zero-emission transport refrigeration system which recently held a successful trial with Sainsbury’s in the UK. With UK Government support, a range of new applications are on track to be demonstrated and trialed both in the UK and abroad.
Dearman will sit amongst a series of UK companies who are set to showcase a range of major high-profile ‘investment ready’ partnership opportunities. It is thought that this trade event will result in a number of milestone agreements and could lead to major levels of new investment in the UK.
“The UK government has given invaluable support to the city of Birmingham and its institutions to make the city a leader in energy research. We see the Energy Capital and its proposed Low Carbon Energy Systems Innovation Centre as further underpinning our leadership in the development of new, integrated, sustainable energy technologies that will meet society’s needs in the transition to a low-carbon economy. The visit of senior Qatari delegates to the Midlands Engine is a chance to showcase our pioneering research,” added Professor Peters.