Plans approved for £12.5m R&D facility for low carbon technologies

Ideal Heating has received the green light to establish a new £12.5m research and development facility to support low carbon technologies, including heat pumps.

Plans approved for £12.5m Ideal Heating Research & Development Facility to Drive Low Carbon Technologies

The company has been granted full planning permission for the UK Technology Centre at its headquarters site in Hull. The R&D facility will create a testbed for product development and advancements in heating solutions to aid in decarbonising UK homes and business premises.

The state-of-the-art facility will also expand Ideal Heating’s R&D team, representing a significant investment from Ideal Heating. It will be key in the company’s transition to low carbon heating solutions, including heat pumps.

Construction set to commence following planning approval

Following planning approval from Hull City Council, construction of the UK Technology Centre is expected to begin this October, with completion anticipated in late 2024. The R&D centre is set to be operational in early 2025.

Ideal Heating engineering director Helen Villamuera said: “Our UK Technology Centre is part of a major £60m investment we’re making in our Hull site, to support heat pump manufacturing, distribution, and innovation in heating technologies.

Plans approved for £12.5m Ideal Heating Research & Development Facility to Drive Low Carbon Technologies

“From the outset, Hull City Council has been fully supportive of our plans, which will create highly skilled jobs and expand our existing R&D capabilities at our site in Hull.

“We’re delighted to have secured full planning permission for the UK Technology Centre. We will now begin a competitive tender process to appoint a contractor to deliver this project.”

Technological progress

The two-storey building, with an additional partial storey to accommodate plant rooms for the centre, will contribute to developing and refining low carbon heating technologies, including heat pumps, required to decarbonise the UK’s 25 million homes.

The Government has set ambitious targets for heat pump deployment, including installing 600,000 heat pumps in domestic properties annually by 2028.

The UK Technology Centre will provide a purpose-designed new home for Ideal Heating’s expert R&D team, covering an increasing range of engineering roles related to design, development, electronics, simulation, and product testing.

Advanced laboratory facilities

Laboratory facilities within the 38,000 sq ft (3,500 sq m) building will enable Ideal Heating’s R&D team to simulate various scenarios and conditions to test innovations and advancements. The centre will also house environmental chambers, a heat pump testing area, workshop spaces, and a training room.

In designing the building, Ideal Heating has practised what it preaches. The R&D facility features roof-mounted solar panels to generate renewable electricity for the building, with air source heat pumps serving the mechanical heating system.

LED lighting and controls will help reduce energy consumption within the building, and high-performance building fabrics will minimize heat loss.

A string of investments

Construction work on a heat pump production facility and expanded distribution centre has been completed, totalling £20m of investment. Ideal Heating also recently announced the commencement of production for its new monobloc heat pump, Logic Air, in Hull, as part of the company’s support for the rollout of renewable heating products.

Ideal Heating has also inaugurated a £2.2m National Training and Technology Center in Hessle, on the outskirts of Hull, with the capacity to train up to 5,000 installers every year to acquire the skills needed for supplying and maintaining heat pumps.