Analysis for Innovators Round 5: Phase 2 de minimis



Oxford nanoSystems Ltd (OnS) is a high-tech start-up located in Abingdon that has developed a unique coating technology to improve the efficiency of heat transfer. OnS was founded in 2012 and has spent the past 5 years developing nanoFLUX -- a nano-coating which dramatically improves the efficiency of two-phase heat-exchangers such as evaporators. Up to now, OnS has focused on the air conditioning and refrigeration markets, whose primary benchmark is to reduce the evaporator size to save environmentally damaging refrigerants and reduce production costs. Since our surface treatment can improve many different heat-transfer technologies we also branched out in other markets, i.e. electronic/ battery cooling and waste heat recovery. The world-wide thermal management market is huge (\> 9.6 B$) and of key interest to OnS.

Looking into future applications Oxford nanoSystems acknowledges the EU's drive for higher energy efficiency in data centres. One of the largest problems is clearly the inefficiency of the cooling system. Improving electric cooling systems, for example in data centres or in electric cars is a main target when it comes to reaching the new climate goals as reaffirmed by the Katowice Climate Conference 2018. To reach those the whole electronic/battery unit needs to be more efficient to substantially expand their lifetime.

In the last two years Oxford nanoSystems further improved their coating technology and developed MicroFlux, a pre-treatment of the heat exchanger surface preceding its coating with nanoFlux. In Innovate UK 133251 project 'MicroFlux' OnS successfully demonstrated micro-grooved surfaces which show extraordinary increases of heat transfer coeffiencies.

OnS research team built various thermal test rigs to measure, among others, flow rates, the heat flux and efficiency rates. Our test rigs were used to determine durability and sustainability of our coatings. In this project Oxford nanoSystems seeks to get its testing facilities (thermal test rigs) validated by an independent organisation. To scale up our process from our very successful R&D environment to industrial scale, we need to take test protocol and standardisation of procedures to the next level.

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