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3 minute read - 5th April 2023

Ideal Heating unveils plans for £10m R&D centre

Ideal Heating has submitted plans for a new £10m research and development facility at its UK headquarters in Hull. The new technology centre will play a key role in developing and testing low carbon heating solutions, such as air source heat pumps.

Around 70 people are currently employed in research and development roles at Ideal Heating’s site in Hull. The investment in new R&D facilities will enable that number to rise to 100 and underpin long-term employment at the site where 800 staff are based.

Ideal Heating supplies both the domestic and commercial heating markets and is part of Groupe Atlantic, a global leader in thermal comfort. A detailed planning application for the technology centre has been submitted to Hull City Council. Dependent on planning approval, construction is expected to begin this autumn, with the facility due to open in mid-2024.

Ideal Heating has submitted a planning application for a new £10m UK technology centre at its site in Hull / Picture: Karl Andre Photography

The proposed facility forms part of a wider £60m investment programme by Ideal Heating, supported by Groupe Atlantic, across the Hull site to increase manufacturing and distribution capacity and accommodate heat pump production and warehousing. The centre will help to develop the solutions needed to decarbonise UK homes and supports the government’s ambitious targets for heat pump deployment, including for 600,000 heat pumps to be installed in domestic properties annually by 2028.

Phil Kent, R&D director for combustion at Ideal Heating, said: “Domestic and commercial heating providers have a vital role to play in reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. As the market leader, we’re serious about playing our full part in meeting the challenge the UK faces in accelerating the adoption of heat pumps and other low carbon solutions. There is no single solution to the challenge and it’s clear that a mix of products and technologies will be needed. Our new UK Technology Centre will be a state-of-the-art, UK-leading facility which will enable us to develop and deliver future heating solutions and make big strides forward in our net zero journey.”

The technology centre will provide a purpose-designed new home for Ideal Heating’s R&D team, which has an increasing range of engineering roles related to design, development, electronics, simulation and product testing disciplines. Laboratory facilities within the 38,000 sq ft (3,500 sq m), two-storey building will enable Ideal Heating’s R&D team to simulate a range of scenarios and conditions to test new innovations and advancements. Among other facilities, the new R&D centre will house test equipment and environmental chambers, simulating the range and extremes of climatic conditions to develop heat pumps for future manufacture at Ideal Heating’s Hull factory.

These facilities can also be used to stress-test components and products, simulating lifespan in the space of just a few months. The new R&D centre will also include significant equipment to continue Ideal Heating’s pursuit of best-in-class performance and reliability, including chambers to verify noise and vibration levels and extreme condition testing.

Helen Villamuera, engineering director and Phil Kent, R&D director for combustion, examining plans for Ideal Heating’s Hull site which is undergoing a £60m investment programme / Picture: Karl Andre Photography

Helen Villamuera, Ideal Heating’s engineering director, added: “Since being acquired by Groupe Atlantic in 2015, Ideal Heating has remained a UK-leading manufacturer based in Hull and with other sites across the country. The huge investment being delivered across our main site, including in the new UK Technology Centre, underpins our position as a leader in the domestic and commercial heating markets and puts us at the forefront of the industry’s net zero transition.

“Our roots in Hull date back over 100 years and we’re investing now to position the business to thrive for generations to come. The new R&D centre is a key element of our development and growth strategy, in what is a rapidly-evolving heating industry.”

Ideal Heating is also investing in a new National Training & Technology Centre at Bridgehead business park in East Yorkshire, with a focus on low-carbon heating and up-skilling thousands of boiler installers across the UK to supply heat pumps to customers.

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