John Lewis: Low Cost Alternatives to Heat Pumps, Targeting Social Housing, Low Income Family Homes

August 9, 2022

Development & production of very energy efficient, low carbon electric heating systems for Net-Zero delivery. Low cost alternatives to heat pumps, targeting social housing, low income family homes. Very low set-up, maintenance & running costs.

Tell us about yourself?

Following 38 yrs career in ICI/ Astra-Zeneca as senior manager, used my problem solving & development skills to invent & develop something very different!

After becoming involved in a very novel heating business, totally changed the technology being used, the economics required for mass-market scale and the sectors being addressed to develop an alternative answer to low carbon heating solutions to address Net Zero delivery.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

You’ve done your home-work thoroughly, don’t listen to the ‘nair-sayers’ who say the development risk is too high and don’t accept the barriers thrown up by (mis-informed) regulators who want to protect the status-quo!

What problem does your business solve?

Low carbon, energy efficiency, at low installation & running costs for the ca 9 million social housing/ low income houses in the UK where the Govt’s proposed air-source-heat-pumps solution is simply too expensive to install, run & maintain.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We invented (& patented) a brand new technology to generate rapid-response heating, which can be auto-dialed-down with a SMART controller, to generate low-cost, high-comfort heating using renewable energy, just as the PARIS Accord was being signed.

What is your magic sauce?

Our patented technology, which uses a low cost additive manufacturing process, robot controlled, to make our unique Infra-Red heating panels.

Though other IR heater products are already on the market, they cannot compete with our ‘turbo-charge’ instantaneous heating performance that rapidly takes the chill off even a cold room in winter before the SMART controller kicks-in to progressively reduce energy consumption to economic levels.

Even with room ventilation (as an anti-covid measure) we deliver low energy consumption!

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

To scale-up manufacturing to address the UK’s (as yet unmet) low-cost/ high-efficiency home heating needs to enable COP26 delivery, particularly to meet the (ca 9 million) low-income, social housing sector needs where the Govt’s currently proposed solution of ASHP’s is failing on a number of key factors – notably installation costs, associate retro-fit costs & routine servicing & maintenance costs. Thereafter to address export markets which match the UK market size of £5bn pa potential.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Ironically it is the Govt’s appointed regulators (BRE SAP-Q energy efficiency regulations & the energy certification requirements in the Building Regulations (DLUHC) that (mis-guidedly) insist on large scale field-trials, costing an estimated £1m to run over a 12 month period) but (mistakenly) insisting that these must be operated to generate a room temperature of 21degC in the test rooms to enable ‘meaningful’ energy efficiency comparisons to be made with convection heating systems.

This totally ignores that IR heating transfers heat (to room occupants) by a totally different mechanism than do all convection heating systems, which heat the air and transfer warmth by that medium.

Like the sun, IR transmits energy ‘waves’ which directly heat bodies (especially human bodies) in the room by heating the body fluids themselves, thereby delivering great comfort even when the air temperature is at lower levels!

We are therefore setting up (wider-scale) trials with housing associations to generate our own meaningful energy efficiency data trials, extending the very successful trials we did last winter, successfully heating even poorly insulated premises with low energy use, and averaging ca 0.5kwh/h energy consumption across a winter’s day!

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Initially we need access to further housing associations (who have ‘problem houses’ to heat, and where they currently have problems securing energy certificates) to include in our trials – preferably in the mid-NW of the UK for ease-of-access reasons.

Then we need serious investors to accelerate the initial scale-up production rate (which will then be further expanded in phased tranches, as we become self-funding).

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