A zero-carbon refrigeration start-up company has received funding to commercialise its refrigeration technology, which aims to cut global emissions.

Barocal, a spin-out from Cambridge University, has secured £1.3m to develop the solid-state temperature changing materials that work in both heating and cooling applications. The barocaloric materials offer a zero-carbon alternative to gas-compression cooling and heating.

The materials absorb and release heat at different pressures as they change volume. They are also cheap and non-toxic, and easy to recycle at the end of their lifetime.

Barocal co-founder, Dr Xavier Moya, says the plan is to explore the potential of its use for domestic and commercial heating systems – to provide a cost-effective, efficient alternative to expensive air source heat pumps.

“Heating and cooling accounts for 38 per cent of the UK’s CO₂ emissions,” he says.

“The government’s commitment to a 78 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2035 means there is a growing need for new low-carbon domestic heating systems.”

Barocal was a finalist in the 2019 Global Cooling Prize, selected out of 139 teams from 31 countries.

The technology began as a joint project among Cambridge’s Department of Materials and Metallurgy, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and the University of Barcelona. Barocal has a licence for the technology from Cambridge Enterprise.

Feature image courtesy of UKTN.


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