The cleantech startup Sunswap has successfully secured two Innovate UK grants worth €420K (£376k), working in partnership with Imperial College London and Cenex, to develop their zero-emission transport refrigeration technology.
Founded in the beginning of 2020, Sunswap is building new technology to create zero-emission transport refrigeration products that reduce noise and air pollution. The majority of transport refrigeration units (TRUs), commonly used by all supermarkets, rely on secondary diesel engines to provide power for cooling. With looser restrictions on secondary engines, they are a major cause of pollution.
The initiatives are being funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. Both projects will expedite the development of Sunswap’s technology helping to tackle a major source of global emissions.
The first-generation Sunswap TRU was launched earlier this year, marking a key milestone in the company’s product development roadmap. The next-generation Sunswap TRU will be specifically designed to have a much lower environmental impact than alternative, incumbent technology.
The collaboration with the Imperial College London will focus on developing a high-efficiency TRU that is compatible with a low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant. The project will deliver a refrigeration system that is optimised for a battery electric TRU, resulting in significant efficiency, financial and environmental benefits.
The Sunswap team will also be working with leading emissions research organisation Cenex on the project Zero Emission Refrigerated Operations, to develop next-generation electrical architecture for TRUs. The project will involve Cenex consulting industry, including four major UK supermarkets, on their TRU requirements, which will then feed back into Sunswap’s design process. Findings will be shared with fleet operators and made available to benefit the public.
Sunswap previously secured £150k funding in April 2020. Afterwards, the startup has built a working prototype of their clean refrigeration technology. The new projects mentioned above will enable the team to build a product incorporating direct customer feedback, that will be unveiled on UK roads in 2021.