20 Mar 2013

Science City helps Newcastle University graduates to launch heating device

Radfan sml

When Newcastle University graduates Roland Glancy and Simon Barker first came into contact with Newcastle Science City, their fan invention which makes houses warmer without the need to turn up the heating was at the prototype phase.

But an introduction to a major funder at a workshop run by Science City and NEA2F led to a six-figure investment to pay for tooling, product design, packaging and research and now Radfan has been launched.

Radfan is a low-powered fan unit that fits on to the top of a conventional radiator and distributes the warm air horizontally across a room, instead of letting it rise to the ceiling – making homes up to 2°C warmer at a cost of around just £2 a year in electricity.

The pair have now produced their first 1,000 units at their assembly base in Byker and are in talks with national energy companies and housing associations about distribution.

Roland came up with the idea when studying for an MSc in renewable energy because his wife was continuously feeling 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 recognised the commercial potential of his product and after meeting Simon, the pair became business partners and set about bringing 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.

Roland said: “Science City helped us take the crucial first step towards achieving independent verification which is critical to the success of a product like ours. What it allowed us to do was understand the type of testing we need to do and how to go about doing it.

“The support helped us to start a relationship with a testing facility and we are now building on that to plan our next stage of ‘live’ testing in people’s homes.”

The Radfan is priced at £44.99 and can be purchased at www.radfan.com

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