Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


There is a significant ammount of waste heat generated in UK costing the economy billions and causing environmental damage. This heat cannot be effectively utilised using currently available technologies due to their limitations of cost, size, portability, complexity of integration with other energy sources and the need for high operating temperature. This project aims to utilise a new approach based on the adsorption / desorption characteristics of highly porous metal organic frame work material to store this waste heat in the form of dried adsorbent material. Such dried adsorbent material can be
transported to any other sites where it can be easily integrated to exiting infrastructure to release the stored heat for either space heating/cooling or power generation. This novel approach of handling waste heat outperforms existing waste heat recovery technologies in terms of cost, efficiency and carbon emmissions. To demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, a partnership between Weatherite Manufacturing Ltd and the University of Birmingham was established. The proposed project is crucial to the development of an effective energy storage system that hanress waste heat and contribute to the security of UK energy supply. The research will cover:

a) Assess the thermal performance of the MOF material in an adsorption cycle for heat storage application.

b) Map the thermal performance of the proposed system for space heating, cooling and power generation.

c) Explore various manufacturing techniques to develop a light weight, compact adsorber bed design.

d) Demonstrate the integration of a dried adsorbent material bed into central heating system for domestic heating applications where the dried adsorbent material will undergo an adsorption process releasing the stored heat to be used for producing hot water for heating purpose.

e) Integrating the adsorption beds with a turbine to demonstrate the power generation capability using the adsorption cycle.

f) Demonstrate the integration of a dried adsorbent material bed into air conditioning system to provide cooling.

Planned Impact

The primary potential impact of the proposed project is the emergenece of a paradigm shift in the way waste heat can be stored, transported and integrated to existing infrastructures to provide for heating, cooling and power generation applications. Practically, it is the development of a new "heat battery" where heat can be stored for an indifinite period of time and also effectively integrated to available energy systems to suit the end user energy requirements. The thrust of the
proposed technology is to exploit the superior water adsorption characteristics of MIL101Cr MOF material to store and transport waste heat in the form of heat of adsorption. In this technology the waste heat will be used to dry the MOF adsorbent stored in sealed containers (beds) which can be transported to any other locations where it can be integrated to an existing infrastructure to generate heating, cooling and / or electricity. With the nature of the adsorption process where
heat can only be released when the MOF adsorbent is subjected to water vapour, then as long as the MOF container is kept sealed from any vapour leak, the MOF remains dry and heat will be stored for any indefinite period of time without the need for any sort of thermal insulation. This advantage allows heat to be stored for longer periods suitable for seasonal usage which cannot be achieved with existing technologies.

The outcome of this project will allow the applicants to acquire detailed knowledge regarding the effectiveness of using such highly porous materials in handling waste heat, the logestics associated with storing, transporting and interfacing with existing energy infrastructures, manufacturing techniques to achieve a cost effective product and the market dynamics.

Economic benefit
The success of the UK industry in developing this technology and effectively harness waste heat will alliviate energy demands, reduce carbon emmissions and ensure profitable outcomes to the industry. It is very important to point out here that this issue of energy demand and waste heat exploitation is a global issue and is not related to UK only. Therefore, development of this technology will have a global dimension. One example of the market potential for this proposed system is the size of the world cooling market valued at £448 million for absorption chillers and £4.1 billion for the mechanical vapour compression system driven by electricity. The proposed system based on utilising waste heat can compete and outperform current technologies.

Environmental Benefits
Data from a study conducted by the Institute of Civil Engineering indicated that every one TWhr of waste heat used can reduce CO2 emmissions by 0.32 MtCO2. As outlined before, the proposed system utilises waste heat to provide heating, cooling and / or power geneartion. Therefore, it will contribute significantly to the energy security and help in achieving the UK legislated 80% reduction in Carbon emmissions by 2050. Based on real data from a waste heat driven cooling system based on silica gel / water developed by Weatherite Manufacturing Ltd and installed at Tesco in Swindon, and if all supermarkets in UK utilises this proposed system, this will result in energy savings of 2TWh per annum and reduce the CO2 emmissions by 0.72Mt.

Social Benefits
The impact of improved environment on public health is significant (like respiratory diseases), where reduced CO2 emissions will improve the quality of life and social interactions. The significant energy savings associated with this product will also lead to financial advantages to the public in terms of lower shelf prices and increased employment levels. As for Weatherite, the increased sales will benefit the local economy within one of the UK's most deprived areas (Sandwell) through securing the current employment level (over 240 people).


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publication icon
Al-Mousawi F (2020) A new physisorption power generation system using advanced adsorbent materials in IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering

Description The project aimed at developing a heat storage / power generation system utilizing the superior adsorption characteristics of metal organic framework materials. The following are the key findings:
1- The team developed an adsorption heat storage system using CPO-27Ni an MOF material that was produced by Johnson Matthey and using the finned tube adsorber bed manufactured by Weatherite Air Conditioning ltd.
2- CPO-27Ni has water adsorption uptake of 0.447 (two times that of silica gel) and 50% higher than that of advanced zeolites.
3- With this adsorption capability, the adsorption heat storage system achieved an energy storage density of 4-The system was also able to store the energy for long period of time (tests carried out for 1day, 3 days and 7 days) without any loss in the stored energy (i.e. no loss in the adsorbed water).
5- For heating applications, the CPO-27Ni adsorption system was able to produce specific heating power of around 900W/kg while for cooling applications, the specific cooling power is found to be around 530W/kg.
6- As for power generation, based on theoretical analysis for a two bed adsorption system, the predicted specific power generation is 40W/kg of CPO-27Ni adsorbent material.
Exploitation Route The developed technology will have great potential in all industries (chemical, steel, power generation..etc.) where waste heat is available. Also, the proposed technology can be used to store surplus electricity at night time and from the intermittent renewable energy sources like solar, wind and wave energy. This waste heat and surplus electricity can be stored, transported and sold to be used for heating, cooling and power generation. The use of the stored heat for cooling application will be useful for the air conditioning and food industries. While the use of the stored energy for heating can be used for heating of buildings. As for the electrical power generation, this is necessary for all applications.
The findings of this project in terms of the water adsorption capability of various MOF materials have been used to secure funding from the British Council and the Qatar NPRP research funding organisation for solar powered adsorption water desalination and cooling. This will lead to application of the adsorption technology in countries with water shortage like the MENA countries.
Two prototypes of MOF based adsoption system was developed, constructed and shipped to Egypt. The first prototype utilised CPO-27Ni MOF and was developed for cooling photovoltaic panels. It was installed in Sohag University of Egypt. With funding from the British Council, the second prototype was developed to utilise solar energy to produce desalinated water and cooling. The prototype was developed, tested in UK and shipped to Alexandria University.
Currently another prototype is being constructed for Qatar.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Construction,Energy,Environment,Retail

Description Due to this project, Johnson Matthey (JM) have developed the mass production process for producing the CPO-27Ni MOF in large quantities rather than lab scale samples. This put JM in a position to market this material. Also this JM ability to produce large quantities of CPO-27Ni was publicized through various publications from the academic team due to its potential advantages in various applications. The research team also developed strong links with another UK company called MOF Technology. Both Johnson Matthey and MOF Technology supported applications for funding to develop solar powered adsorption systems for water desalination and cooling in Egypt using MOFs. A number of grants were successfully obtained from British Council, Qatar NPRP and University of Birmingham Global Challenge Fund. The findings were used to develop prototypes for solar powered MOF adsorption systems which were shipped to Sohag and Alexandria Universities in Egypt. In Souhag University, the MOF adsorption system is developed for cooling Photovoltaic panels while the prototype delivered to Alexandria is to be used for water desalination and cooling. The research on metal organic framework material is progressing with more funding grants achieved from the British Council Newton Impact Fund Scheme and the Research Environment Link. New MOF material witch outperform the previous MOF material in terms of water adsorption kinetics and uptake. This has lead a company called Sustainable Energy Technology Research Limited to sponsor a researcher to assess the performance of this material in atmospheric water harvesting application.
First Year Of Impact 2022
Sector Chemicals,Education,Energy
Impact Types Economic

Description Accelerating the Impacts of Solar Driven MOF Adsorption System for Water Desalination and Cooling in Egypt.
Amount £199,983 (GBP)
Funding ID 624607380 
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 01/2024
Description Adsorption desalination
Amount £31,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Peter Youssef 
Organisation Weatherite Air Conditoning Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2013 
End 09/2016
Amount £47,973 (GBP)
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 01/2023
Description EPSRC Global Challenge Fund - University of Birmingham
Amount £370,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 1516GCRF027 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2016 
End 04/2017
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account: Knowledge Transfer Secondment (KTS)
Amount £33,495 (GBP)
Organisation University of Birmingham 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2018 
End 08/2019
Description Libyan Government
Amount £62,730 (GBP)
Organisation Government of Libya 
Sector Public
Country Libya
Start 09/2016 
End 10/2019
Description MOF adsorption based water desalination
Amount £52,500 (GBP)
Funding ID Eman Elsayed 
Organisation University of Birmingham 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 10/2017
Description MOF adsorption system for cooling and power generation
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Fadhel AL-Mousawi 
Organisation Iraqi Government 
Sector Public
Country Iraq
Start 04/2014 
End 05/2017
Description Solar Driven Water Treatment System using MOF Adsorption integrated with Nanomaterial Pre-Treatment and Real Time Water Quality Sensor for Egypt
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 332436905 
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 03/2020
Description University of Birmingham Global Challenge Research Fund
Amount £21,303 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 03/2018
Description Development of Heat Driven Adsorption Desalination / Cooling System Using Advanced Metal Organic Framework Material 
Organisation Carnegie Mellon University
Department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We submitted an application for the UK - Egypt British Council Institutional Link Newton - Musharrafa fund regarding the development of solar powered MOF adsorption system for water desalination and cooling.
Collaborator Contribution Collaborate to submit a funding application.
Impact Funding application was submitted in September 2015.
Start Year 2015
Description Feasibility of using waste to energy conversion technology to reduce indoor and outdoor pollution in Nigeria 
Organisation University of Lagos
Country Nigeria 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project aims to investigate the feasibility of exploiting the abundant agricultural / domestic wastes in Nigeria to produce clean fuels for electricity generation, cooking and heating through the following objectives: (1) Map the waste resources including types, quantities, location and suitability for conversion to clean fuels; (2) Assess everyday practices of households waste management and the impact of air pollution on the wellbeing of Nigerians (desk-based research, scoping literature review and consultations with local stakeholders); (3) Assess various technologies for waste conversion to clean fuels and electricity and identify the best one in terms of efficiency, production rate and cost; (4) Assess the cultural acceptability of the various applicable technologies (desk based research, scoping literature review and consultations with local stakeholders) (5) Develop a mathematical model of the identified technology to predict its impact on emission reduction.
Collaborator Contribution collaborator
Impact grant
Start Year 2020
Description Hosting a visiting Scholar to work on MOF adsorption from China. 
Organisation Nanjing Medical University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The work involves developing methods for assessing the thermal performance of MOF adsorbents packed in adsorber beds.
Collaborator Contribution The collaborator will provide a quantity of MIL101Cr to be used in the project.
Impact We will submit an application to the UK - China Bridge Funding call.
Start Year 2015
Description Solar powered MOF based adsorption system for water desalination and cooling. 
Organisation Qatar Foundation
Department Qatar National Research Fund
Country Qatar 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Submitted a grant application for the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) to develop a solar powered adsorption system for water desalination and cooling using Metal Organic Framework Materials.
Collaborator Contribution Develop the solar power system.
Impact A funding application
Start Year 2015
Description Adsorption Water Desalination Using MOF Materials 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Two workshops were held, one in Cairo (19th February 2018) and one in Alexandria (21st February 2018) where around 100 professionals attended. Different types of people attended including Academics, high ranking officials (governor of Elbehaira, ex-minister of water resources, representatives from the Egyptian Army who manages large scale water desalination projects). The workshops were intensively covered by local media and national TV. The impact was (i) increase awareness of the technology developed at UoB; (ii) potential collaboration for further funding with leading Egyptian Scientist and interest from high government officials in piloting the technology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Birmingham Energy Institute Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Panel Debate on harnessing social and open innovation in renewable technologies to achieve sustainability and address energy poverty.
The panel included international scholars from Mexico and Norway. They are Dr. Sid Sareen a human geographer with expertise in the governance of energy transitions, and Dr. Karla Cedano an engineer with specialism in innovation and renewable technology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description Clean Cooling - the new "Frontier Market" for UAE and GCC region 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The workshop intends to provide an overview of relevant best practices and technologies from the EU and the UAE/GCC. The aim is to use the workshop as a catalyst to create dialogue and new EU GCC academic and industry collaborations to share knowledge; build capacity, underpin and galvanise novel "clean cooling" technology demonstration and advancement opportunities around the local and global challenge of sustainable cooling. In so doing, it will build on existing leadership and expertise in energy and specifically cooling across the two markets (UAE/GCC and EU) at a unique time where delivering clean, sustainable cooling is being recognised globally as key to our energy and environmental challenges.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description MOF Based Adsorption for Water Desalination and Cooling 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Science Collaboration Symposium on Water in Oman (16th and 17th of March 2016) and Saudi Arabia (21st and 22nd of March 2016), funded by the British Council.
I will be presenting my research work on MOF based adsorption technology for water desalination and cooling.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Panel Discussion at the Future Tech Festival held in Delhi 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Panel discussion on the importance of clean cooling for the agricultural industry in India.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018