Dearman completed the APC’s pilot Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP) in February 2016, having progressed through three stages of concept evaluation, business planning and technical development during an 18-month period.
In each stage Dearman was supported from specialised organisations providing market research and application reviews to establish a “route to market” creating a credible business case as well as providing the manufacturing and engineering support for a proof of concept for which they have successfully secured a real-world fleet trial with a major supermarket chain.
It was during these evaluations that Dearman focused on replacing the lightly regulated diesel engine, used to power the cooling systems of Transport Refrigeration Units used by supermarkets to deliver foods. The current engine used is highly polluting and is often operated in urban environments; it is therefore crucial to achieve air quality improvements with the replacement.
In addition to developing this technology, the APC project has helped Dearman develop as a company, resulting in:
- Increasing the workforce by 8 FTE
- Opening the Dearman Clean Cold & Power Technology Centre in 2015
- Leveraging approx. £16m of additional investment
- Beginning trials of the Dearman powered TRU in the UK and Europe
The innovative engine that has resulted, is fuelled by liquid nitrogen and warm water. When the warm fluid mixes with the extremely cold nitrogen, this enables a near constant expansion, producing torque with high efficiency. The system is zero emission, quiet, efficient and cost-effective – outperforming the conventional diesel unit’s cooling power. Importantly, the only emission from the new engine is air or nitrogen, with no emissions of NOx, CO2 or particulates.
Following on from TDAP, Dearman has been able to organise a consortium of technical partners and succeed in securing further support from the APC through it core competitions, including access to £3.7m match funding to develop the engine to the point of commercialisation.
This is an effective example of the UK funding eco-system that develops SMEs giving them the capability and credibility to become lead partners in major projects. Applications to be developed in the core competition are:
- Transport refrigeration units
- Heat hybrid systems for commercial vehicles
- Auxiliary power systems for mass transportation