16 May 2024

University researcher’s project part of government support to rebuild Ukraine’s energy system

muhammed imran.jpg

An Aston University researcher’s project has been selected as part of a package of support to help rebuild Ukraine’s energy system, phase out fossil fuels and support post-war recovery. 

In November 2023 it was announced that senior lecturer in engineering and technology Dr Muhammed Imran (pictured) and his collaborators were to receive almost £1 million from the UK government to develop and commercialise cascade heat pumps.

Using thermal energy, the new technology is designed to replace existing systems and be used for both cooling and heating homes. 

In May 2024 the government officially announced it was investing £16 million to support the recovery and future sustainability of Ukraine’s energy system. 

Dr Imran will be working with the Institute of Engineering Thermophysics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Heat Pumps VDE LLC and other partners on making heat the new technology easier to retrofit into existing domestic heating systems.

The project aims to swap conventional boilers for heat pumps without the need for expensive modifications to existing distribution systems. The team plan to do this by efficiently delivering significantly higher temperatures than existing technologies. A demonstration system will be installed in Ukraine as part of the project.

Dr Imran said: “I was delighted that the British government highlighted our work in their latest announcement. 

“The cascade heat pump system can provide high temperature hot water for space heating under a wide range of outdoor air temperatures - even under severely cold outdoor weather conditions. 

“This is important because Ukrainian winter temperatures usually range between 2C to -4.8C but can reach as low -21.6C. In addition, our system will allow Ukraine to save energy and reduce its dependence on natural gas for heating and decrease its reliance on imports.” 

The government initiative involves collaborations between over 50 UK and Ukrainian organisations and will receive an additional £5 million from private sector money.

The British ambassador to Ukraine Martin Harris said: “I am proud that the UK continues to support the recovery of the Ukrainian energy sector, particularly after recent brutal attacks from Russia. We want to see it greener and more resilient.

“Our support for these 13 innovations – which bring together the best of British and Ukrainian business, universities, and civil society – will help Ukraine recover in a more sustainable way. These projects showcase the depth and breadth of partnership between our countries.”

The various funded projects will carry out their work plans over the next two years and receive support from an accelerator programme for further investment and market entry.

Originally announced at the UK-hosted Ukraine Recovery Conference in June 2023, the partnership has been designed by the two governments over the course of the last 12 months.

Minister of Energy of Ukraine Herman Halushchenko added: “Today we have a chance to demonstrate that the struggle for energy independence is a fight for the future. The green transition goes way beyond ecology or distributed generation. 

“For Ukraine, this is a matter of national security. I am sure that the implementation of the project in the field of green technologies is of great importance for the future cooperation between Ukraine and the UK in the energy sector.”

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