Newcastle graduates’ heating invention is launched
University graduates Roland Glancy and Simon Barker of Heatwave UK Ltd have been overwhelmed by sales of the ‘Radfan’, since its launch just a couple of weeks ago following support to get it off the ground from Newcastle Science City, Newcastle University Careers Service, The North East Angel Fund managed by Rivers Capital Partners and Santander Bank.
The device works by fitting on to the top of a conventional radiator and distributing the warm air horizontally across a room – instead of letting it rise to the ceiling. It makes homes up to 2°C warmer at a cost of around just £2 a year in electricity.
Simon and Roland are among a team of local residents, businesspeople and scientists to have thrown their weight behind Science Central – lending their faces to a campaign promoting the site around the world as a new flagship location for science and technology, a thriving environment for business and commerce, and a beacon of sustainable living and leisure.
The Radfan is now being produced from Heatwave UK Ltd’s assembly base in Byker, constructed using products almost entirely made in the North East of England, and are being sold via the company’s website www.radfan.com.The company is also in talks with a number of universities, housing associations, and energy companies about distribution and making sure the unit gets to those who can benefit from it the most.
Roland said: “We are at an extremely exciting stage of development and it has been thrilling to take our idea from the drawing board, into production and ultimately launch it into the marketplace. It’s a moment we have been waiting and working hard for.
“The Radfan is a simple idea but it could have significant impact on living conditions – especially those of people affected by fuel poverty. We are really excited to learn how the first series of products are received by their buyers.”
Roland came up with the idea for the Radfan when studying for an MSc in renewable energy because his wife was continuously complaining about being cold even though the radiators in their home were working. He realised the radiator heat was not being distributed efficiently and decided to tackle the problem as an academic project.
When his Radfan idea won a business plan competition at Newcastle University he began to recognise the commercial potential of the product and joined forces with Simon to bring the product to market.
Newcastle Science City’s business support team worked with the pair to take their idea from the drawing board to the marketplace, organising testing facilities for the product, and helping Radfan take the crucial first step towards achieving independent verification which is critical to the success of their product.
Matt Hindhaugh, business mentor at Newcastle Science City, said: “Radfan is a perfect example of the ground-breaking technological ideas that are being developed in Newcastle and have potential to positively impact on the rest of the world.
“With their innovative fans now in production, Radfan could revolutionise the way people heat their homes and will be particularly useful in the fight against fuel poverty. The company is exactly the type of science and technology business that will benefit from premises on Science Central in the future.”
Radfan is one of hundreds of businesses that Newcastle Science City has worked with to commercialise new insight-led ideas, helping them to innovate and grow. Science City is focussed on helping businesses find and develop commercial solutions in Newcastle’s science themes of ageing, sustainability and medicine – the big growth areas in society, which are areas of strength for the city and are most in need of innovative thinking for future sustainable development.