ECCI's Low Carbon Innovation Award winners Sunamp secure £1.2M investment

22 May 2015

Sunamp Ltd, the renewable energy and heat storage business, announced today that it has received over £1.2 million of investment from private equity investors, in a two stage round led by Par Equity and Equity Gap. Investors include former SSE Chief Executive, Ian Marchant.

Sunamp, a company supported by ECCI's Low Carbon Innovation programme for four years, were awarded Most Innovative Product in ECCI's Low Carbon Innovations Awards last month.

Sunamp designs and produces innovative heat storage batteries that help overcome the issue of energy wastage by storing excess energy as heat for later use. The company, which is based in East Lothian, was founded by successful technology entrepreneur, Andrew Bissell, and to date has been funded by a mixture of grants, loans and private investment.

Picture: Sunamp CEO Andrew Bissel accepts the award from ECCI and Edinburgh Napier University's Sean Smith

Sunamp also enjoys an excellent and productive relationship with the University of Edinburgh, ranging from applied research, high quality PhD partnerships and now investment from Old College Capital. The University is a key partner in Sunamp’s success.

Bissell said: “It’s fabulous that within the University of Edinburgh family, with which Sunamp work closely, there’s an organisation pushing the boundaries of low carbon technology and policies and we are delighted that in interacting with ECCI they have supported us and recently awarded us their ‘Most Innovative Product’ award.”

Alongside Par Equity and Equity Gap, the recent investment was raised from the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, North American based private investors, Highland Venture Capital and Old College Capital – the venture investment arm of the University of Edinburgh.

Bissell said: “We are very pleased that these investors have recognised the huge potential that Sunamp has to offer, both to consumers looking for energy cost saving opportunities, and to businesses looking to make efficient use of renewable heat. The Board was delighted the round was significantly oversubscribed, helping accelerate our plans. It is an exciting time for Sunamp, with a large customer pipeline and many innovative products being developed.”

Professor Pulham, from the University of Edinburgh, said of his work with Sunamp: “This is the most rewarding and enriching academic/industrial collaboration that I have been involved in. It is particularly gratifying to see the impact of fundamental research being applied in real world applications in such a short time.”

Kerry Sharp, head of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “Sunamp is a great example of an innovative forward thinking company, which continues to develop and grow. We look forward to continuing to work with them as they expand their market base and realise their long term growth ambitions.”

The investment follows recent news that Sunamp has been awarded funding by the Local Energy Challenge Fund as part of a £4 million project to develop innovative local heat storage solutions. The project will help alleviate fuel poverty in the central belt of Scotland and has created a pipeline of business for Sunamp to install over 750 products.

Sunamp uses phase change materials (PCM) to create high energy density, compact systems that are capable of storing and releasing heat. The patented, non-toxic Sunamp Heat Battery technology stores and provides heat to warm a building or deliver hot water. The energy is released in much the same way as a hand warmer works.

Whilst two and a half times more heat is consumed than electricity globally, heat has been significantly under-innovated in recent years. The move to higher production from renewable energy sources creates demand for energy storage, especially heat. Energy storage dramatically improves the economics of many intermittent generation technologies and allows production to better match demand for electricity and heat across the day.

Bissell’s vision for Sunamp is to make individual homes and buildings more energy efficient and self-sufficient, and deliver substantial cost savings to the householder or business, while cutting CO₂ emissions from inefficient energy generation.

Sunamp has a number of products under development including SunampPV, which allows homes with solar panels to store excess energy for future use rather than sending it back to the grid. This consumer product is the first-to-market of Sunamp’s range, ahead of SunampStack, an advanced heat storage design that will save consumers and businesses money by optimising the operation of renewable heat sources such as heat pumps. The third product is SunampCube, which responds to the need for commercial and industrial scale heat storage to deal with grid constraints.

Bissell is a seasoned entrepreneur who sold his previous company, the 3D medical imaging business Voxar, for €39 million to Barco NV in 2004; Barco subsequently sold it to Toshiba and it continues to thrive in its original Edinburgh base.

Sunamp employs 15 people and plans to increase headcount by a further eight to 10 employees in the next 12 months, in highly skilled roles including design engineers and chief technology officer.

About Sunamp

Sunamp produces innovative heat batteries that store energy produced by small-scale renewable generation, releasing the heat when required. This solves the problem of intermittent generation by many renewable energy sources while lowering the cost of heating and hot water to the customer.

The company was founded by successful technology entrepreneur Andrew Bissell. Sunamp launched its solar PV product first and is in discussion with major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for additional applications. Recently it secured a major contract to provide over 750 units in the coming months, integrating these with a range of existing systems and new renewable installations.