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Research England’s second iteration of the new Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) was released at midday today, 27 September 2022.

The KEF highlights the rich and varied ways that English universities continue to engage with local and international communities. We’re delighted that our own London South Bank University (LSBU) has achieved some very impressive scores as its academics continue to maintain “high engagement” with London’s SMEs, start-ups, and residents.

South Bank Innovation (SBI) spearheads many of these connections and we can’t celebrate them all (no matter how hard we try). One of our key KEF development areas has been Net Zero and Low Carbon. In this sector we support new research, start-ups, SMEs, and the training of future net zero leaders by bringing together LSBU academics, current industry innovators, local businesses, and Londoners.

Here are just four examples of the Knowledge Exchange process at work over the last year in this sector alone.


Catarina Marques was the LSBU graduate at the heart of this knowledge exchange. The collaboration began with a short partnership in which Catarina was asked to use her expertise to reduce the noise of the Adande professional refrigerator.

After successful delivery of this small project, Catarina supported Adande to develop an A++ energy rated household refrigeration product. This was also part of a knowledge exchange partnership. This moved on to the development of a tempering cabinet.

“The tempering cabinet addresses an operational issue faced by many restaurants where food orders placed at different times can be delivered at varying temperatures – leading to customer complaints and wastage.”

Catarina also developed a product tool for Adande that determines the time cost required to develop new products. The tool allows Adande to analyse the commercial benefit of any potential new product quickly and effectively - prioritising sustainable improvements to its current range.

As a result of her hard work, Catarina has been appointed Adande’s Engineering Manager for the food service division, picking up a Business Leader of the Future Award along the way. Adande is building on the success of its A++refrigerator, recently launching the first professional cabinet on the EU market to achieve an A+ rating.

Photon Engineering Ltd

LSBU use their advanced equipment to test multiple new products. This included a zeolite-based cooling prototype for Photon Engineering Ltd. Zeolite cooling systems use water adsorption to provide refrigeration without the creation of chemicals. Photon Engineering Ltd takes new technology solutions and develops products for clean energy and communication markets. Aside from LSBU, their Chief Technology Officer, Barry Clive, has worked in partnership with some of the world's other leading research institutes including Imperial College London and the Fraunhofer Institutes.

Using LSBU’s environmental chamber(also used to replicate Sudan’s weather here), Dr Alex Paurine ran sanity check tests for system functionalities and commercialisation viability,establishing the system’s coefficient of performance as a measure of energy sustainability.

The Balanced Energy Network (BEN)

New design practices mean the buildings we construct today have less of an impact on the environment, but around 90% of the buildings that will comprise London in 2050 are already built. Most of the existing building stock in the UK is extremely energy inefficient, especially in regard to heating, which makes up half the UK’s energy use. The Climate Change Committee says the Paris targets are unachievable without a near complete decarbonisation from the heating sector. The UK currently has no answer to this challenge.

A consortium including LSBU experts might have a solution. A Balanced Energy Network (BEN) could have a big impact on reducing the UK’s carbon emissions. It works on a simple principle – managing the use of available heat before consuming grid gas and electricity.

BEN balances the delivery of heating, cooling, and electricity in a way that minimises costs and carbon emissions. The network is a complex system of innovative technologies working together to effectively manage heat loads across multiple buildings. Using water to transfer heat in winter and to cool in summer.

“The idea of heat sharing in itself isn’t especially new,” explains LSBU’s Andy Ford, Professor at LSBU. “What we are doing that is different is looking at scaling it up, so rather than a single well working to heat and cool a single building, we can develop and deliver a whole network of connected buildings that share the same system. That’s where the challenge lies.”

The pilot scheme will connect LSBU buildings to the same heating system, giving the team the chance to see how it works in practice, refine their idea, and increase the scope of the project again. Explore how LSBU represents the London microcosm here.

Southwark Council and Recycle Your City

Federico Rossi, Director of LSBU’s Digital Architecture and Robotic Lab, has started a collaboration with Southwark Council called Recycle Your City.

They will deliver a project focusing on local businesses and schools to help set up recycling workshops.These will be aimed at all Londoners to offer and find alternative recycling ideas, using robotic 3D printing to turn recycled materials into public furniture.

A Civic University

We don’t just support big companies and local bodies in net zero innovation. We take our knowledge exchanges to London’s SMEs and start-ups. Most recently we supported the development of planet-friendly kids shoes. You can read about our work with sustainable children’s shoe start-up Dubs Universe here. Not only do we provide funding and business support workshops, we also pair our Sustainable Innovation programme SMEs with appropriate LSBU academics that will help them thrive, develop and innovate towards their next goal.

We’re also creating the pathways needed to home-grow the next generation of Net Zero heroes. As part of our tailored collection of funded training opportunities for Londoners, we’re offering fully funded training for net zero engineering and construction.

Whether you want to join a Net Zero Bootcamp, the Retrofit Revolution, or just plug yourself in the flow of knowledge at LSBU, you may be able to access training and upskilling through SBI.

Can we exchange knowledge and champion ideas with you? Get in touch via our website.

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