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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:39 am 
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Hey there,

I am new to this forum and was hoping to ask a few questions.

I am student on an internship at the company Sunamp, a company who produces heat batteries which are similar in concept to the Tesla electrical storage device but instead stores heat instead of electricity.

They are a growing small and medium sized enterprise (SME) and are growing in size. They have taken me on board to promote the company via blogs and other means.

My questions:

1) Is it okay if I post material about the Sunamp product?
2) Can I publish articles I have written about Sunamp products? Some of these articles will be technical ie arguing how you can save with Sunamp products or just talking about the technology. Some may be talking about the company in less technical terms ie a day in the life of a Sunamp installer etc

I am keen to engage with the forum aswell specifically the central heating forum and would like to engage in the discussions and learn more about central heating.

This is an article written about the company last week by the BBC if you want to find out a brief idea of the company:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40188414

Looking forward to hearing from you guys

Elliot


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:50 am 
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You may fall foul of the rules regarding self-promotion please read the rules.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:53 am 
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1. Does it rely on taxpayer subsidies for installation or purchase?
2. What is the payback time-scale for a typical installation?
3. How is it any different from a standard solar-heating system with insulated water storage? - which is probably an order of magnitude cheaper and won't need subsidies to be installed.....

This site doesn't normally allow free advertising - which is what you're asking for really - and for items that (potentially) rely entirely on subsidies to exist........ :dunno:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:10 pm 
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Good questions. I will do my best to answer them all.

I will also read the rules to make sure I am not contravening any forum rules.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:16 pm 
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In fact if you have any more questions that would be great. I am not an expert in this field so I am trying to learn as much as possible in the next 10 or so weeks I have left with the company.

They are a small company so everyone is pretty busy. I have started writing articles and have learnt a good deal already but it would be good to find out what people in the know are looking for when evaluating a heat storage system.

So I ask you Kellys_eye and anyone else for that matter, what other questions would you ask when evaluating these types of devices and what would you compare them too?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:02 pm 
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Modern hot water storage tanks are pretty good at keeping their heat - the Sunamp system (I saw it on the Scottish news a few days ago) is just a fancy version - 'fancy' being the modern name for riding the back of the CO2 subsidy schemes.... :roll:

It does NOTHING that a simpler system can't achieve at a fraction of the cost. Whilst I admire the way they got their system to work I despair at these 'businesses' whose core financial model depends on taxpayer cash. Any business that does so isn't a business - it's a scam.

I'd love to hear that they're doing it all off their own back, with their own funding and that the final product will be both affordable and PRACTICAL - selling it on the back of CO2 reduction is hogwash. Pure and simple.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:54 pm 
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Thanks for the response.

I am not quite sure of the business model so I am not sure if CO2 subsidies play a large part of their income, albeit I was not aware that CO2 subsidies actually provided a substantial revenue stream.

This will be something I will look into.

From what I have seen though the technology is 'fancy' and innovative even without these subsidies. Admittedly I am pretty new to central heating systems but the phase change material (PCM) is pretty cool to me and I am not aware of other companies which have used PCMs in the same way.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:32 am 
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I have read the BBC page, there are systems already made, both simple water, and sodium crystals, both have their draw backs, the simple water tank is very big, the sodium tank would corrode, but the water system is used to integrate multi energy sources to heat the home.

It allows solar panels and wood burner back boilers to both feed in heat, which is taken out as required, the wood burner, well coal or any other non processed fuel is the same, needs to burn at a set rate to ensure there are no particular emissions from its burning, once the wood becomes charcoal it can be altered as to heat output, but while it is wood, peat or coal it needs a second air input and a very high temperature after burn.

However we don't always want the wood burner running flat out, so the way around the problem is to store the heat while the burner is running to be used latter, using water has a number of problems, one is the size of the vessel the other is it relies on electric to pump the cooling water, should one get a power cut you need to extinguish the fire in most cases. Also there has to be room to store the heat.

The water tank has hot coils both to heat it up and cool it down, plus normally an immersion heater, what was a surprise when I looked into it, was it is better to have electric solar panels powering an immersion heater than having the solar panel directly heat the water, seems the electric panel is more efficient and works for longer plus less losses in wires than in pipes, the inverters used with electric solar panels start getting power as soon as it gets light, no need for direct sun light, and the voltage into the inverter varies through the day from the panel to maximise the output of the panel, but inverter output remains at a fixed voltage. With simple water panels until the panel is hot it does nothing, and the power lost in pumping water is greater than power lost running inverter.

So the big question is how the new heat battery, compares with the old heat battery? can it be used to integrate multi heating devices, if not to put it simple, its useless, the whole idea is one set of radiators, and one control device which controls them, but many heat sources which all feed the central heat store. If it can do that, then it's what users of wood burners have been looking for.

The problem with my brother-in-laws system was installation cost, we are looking at thousands of pounds, if you look at the output side, step one is reduce what you use.

So heat recovery unit is the big one, but after that it is control, I tried simple eTRV to reduce what each room used to a minimum, however a radiator stores a lot of heat, so is both slow to warm up and cool down, if you want to be able to use PIR's so the room is only heated when in use, then the standard radiator is too slow, so it needs something like a car heater to be able to respond to demand quickly, however at the moment the Myson radiator does not have a WiFi control which will integrate in the same way as EvoHome does with standard radiators.

Even with standard radiators theory if the eTRV can connect to internet to show a current and target temperature it should be a simple software package to read this and start a boiler or pump to distribute the heat. However it seems there is a lack of if this then that apps to read the info from valves and operate a simple relay to start boiler or pump. All the hard ware is already made, just lacks software.

So with your heat store, unless some one is producing the software required to control it all, it can't be used. This is where EvoHome excels against MiHome, both make eTRV with WiFi links to a hub, but as yet the MiHome lacks the software to make it work A1.



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:21 pm 
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After a little bit of research I would like to post a reply to Kellys_Eye about the difference between a hot water tank of 120 litres and the SunampPV which is the mainstay product of Sunamp.

Yes, I 100% agree that the product is more expensive than hot water tanks if we are assuming that they have the same storage capacity. Like any new technology prices will be more expensive at first but with increasing demand, bigger production runs will become possible which will mean cheaper prices. The thermal hot water tank has been around for a long time and therefore is going to be cheaper.

The Sunamp uses the latent heat properties of phase change materials (PCM) as a way to store and release heat. Basically the PCM is heated to its melting point at 58°C. Due to the properties of the material, further heating will increase the amount of energy in the system but will not increase the temperature. This compares to a thermal hot water tank which can go as high as 80°C.

'Surely that's a good thing,' I here you say.

The problem with this is that the higher the difference between the stored temperature and the surrounding temperatures leads to an increase in the standing heat loss. The SunampPV has a standing heat loss of 0.579 kWh/24 hours. Compare this to an equivalent hot water storage tank of 120 litres for example the RM Stainless Direct Slimline which has a standing heat loss of 1.4 kWh/24 hours.
[*Note when I say equivalent I mean equivalent on the V40 test. The V40 test measures the number of litres released during a full discharge of a thermal store at 40°C. For the SunampPV this is 132 litres and about the same for a typical 120 litre hot water store.]

The SunampPV is also smaller. The volume of the SunampPV is 0.1113m^3 compared to the 120l RM Stainless Slimline (sorry RM) is 0.21m^3. Furthermore the SunampPV is a cuboid shape making it easy to slot into kitchen cupboards. Thermal hot water tanks are cylindrical and will not have as snug a fit.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Clever it may be, but you still haven't answered ke's question about whether subsidies play part of the business model.
Incidentally, if you look at the figures here:
http://www.newarkcoppercylinder.co.uk/heat-loss-info.html
You will see that a 120 litre cylinder with an "A" ERP banding gives a loss of 0.66kW.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:13 pm 
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Good spot Dave....

I'm sure the difference figures between heat loss were 'hand picked' to show the greatest span.... :roll:

Even taking the two 'exaggerated' figures, the difference between them is 1.4 - 0.579 = 0.821

0.821 kW of energy costs around (@ 15p/kwhr??) 12p. Even at 12p/day - a total of absolute worst case scenario of £43.80 annually - how many years would it take to recoup the cost difference between an existing fitted system and the cost of a total 'new' install? What's it's lifespan? Are there maintenance costs involved? etc

If you take the figures Dave linked to (0.66kW loss) then the 'savings' amount to around 1p/day. Payback is a LOOOOONG way off!

Seems like there is also the cost of the 'solar' part of it too - it just keeps adding up.

Yes, the product cost is higher and will come down in time but who in their right mind has money to 'throw away' on what is essentially a personal choice based on dubious environmental reasons? Current business models are (or should be) on offering cheaper and more reliable systems than the current range - not MORE EXPENSIVE version that do the same job!!!! What numpty thought that a business model like that would work? I'll tell you who - the snake oil charmer who will use the taxpayer to subsidise it.

Sounds like the OP has partaken of the official company kool-aid :lol: Sadly, as an intern, the student will have zero incentive to question the politics or company policy. Which is a shame.

BTW - what IS the cost of a typical system - all-in, fitted and working? Their website unsurprisingly doesn't reveal any details.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:30 pm 
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As far as I can see, the only real advantage of this system is that it's smaller than a cylinder. Which might be useful in properties where space is really at a premium, although it still takes up space and has to have the associated pipework, which is inevitably going to limit the usefulness of the space where it is fitted as storage.
My concern, like your's k-e, is that it's going to be sold as part of a "green" system, utilising "free" solar energy from heat exchangers etc.
We know of course that such energy is far from "free" for the average person, because of the initial cost of the systems.
If people want to pay for that themselves, then I have no argument against it, but that won't happen and it will be back to subsidies.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:29 pm 
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Sunamp don’t receive any government subsidies for their commercial products, in cases where people already have a hot water cylinder we always recommend that they use that to store their excess electricity, however a great many people don’t. The product is ideal for those people with SolarPV and a combi boiler, as it provides hot water in much smaller footprint than a water tank, it has very low heat losses, and a 35 kW power output.

To answer some of your specific points the heat losses were independently verified by Enertek. We agree that worse case a saving of £43 could be saved purely on the heat loss, when compared with a high end new tank. We have never chosen to quote payback, on our product or a new water tank, although we accept that’s an industry standard.

There is no significant maintenance and we have tested the product to over 30,000 cycles with no degradation of the material so it has a very long life.

I’ve never drank cool aid and came on this site, seeking to learn more, and you have helped me to understand the benefit of the Sunamp so thank you for that.

Finally, our prices are not secret and we would be happy to share, off this forum (don’t want to transgress any forum rules about directly selling), as well as put you in touch with a technical member of staff, you have been on the website so you have the number.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:52 pm 
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Sounds like you're not so much the intern as the employed - you've gone from 'Sunamp' to 'ours' rather suspiciously..... someone leaning over your shoulder? Or taking over your keyboard perhaps? Never mind.....

What's the 'secret' about pricing though? We know how much standard water heating cylinders cost, you can get them from any Screwfix or Plumbase website in seconds.... but Sunamp "call our sales team...." :lol:

I'm almost certain this will involve a home visit 'to determine your individual needs' and sounds very much like the old Double Glazing method to get you to sign on the bottom line - 'if you sign today we'll give you a 60% discount' etc.

Pardon my cynicism but I've heard and read nothing - including on your website and through the media articles - that tells me anything in DETAIL. Up front costs, maintenance costs, payback time... all things that should be there without having to 'work' to get them - or is there something to be hidden?

"BS baffles brains" is the saying - except you've come to a website where we actually have some expertise and ask questions that are pertinent to the user as well as the buyer. If your product has any merit then give us what we want to know - the costs.

As for Sunamp not receiving Government subsidies you seem to sidestep by stating 'for their commercial products' - what does that mean? It kind of implies that you get subsidies for 'something else'...... :dunno:

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:35 pm 
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We have obviously got off on the wrong foot, appreciate you are an expert on hot water tanks and so are we, which is why we have tried to develop something better, you might not agree, but we believe this to be true.

Anyone who rings for a price is given the price over the telephone, we don’t suggest a home visit for a SunampPV, and we don’t offer 60% discounts. As you may have found in your searches our Sunamp store is being developed and is coming soon (google- Sunampstore).

Also, I am going to have defend him but the CEO (Andrew Bissell) is a switched on person. You should read his profile to see some of his previous accomplishments.

We receive no subsidies for our products, once again call us and I am sorry if I have upset you.


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