Q: Hello Rui. Can you briefly present Heaboo, please?
When I was working with phase-changing materials as a researcher at the University of Aveiro, I realised that they could offer great possibilities for systems that need to store heat. Later, I developed a concept applying these materials to domestic hot water systems, and currently Heaboo offers two types of product: a 'Plug-and-Play' shower column for DIY fitting that replaces the old shower, and a product designed to be incorporated in the hot water system during construction.
Q: In what way are your products particularly innovative?
Well, as I said, we work with phase-changing materials to store heat. These are extremely non-heat-conductive, which demands a specific approach for energy applications requiring constant power output; and while the materials themselves are nothing new, our patented heat-exchanger uses them in a novel way to store and release heat with constant power. In the shower column, for example, the heat recovered during a shower will heat the water remaining in the pipes at the next use, even the following day, and thus provide hot water from the very first moment.
Q: And what is your story with ENGIE?
The first contact was at Frankfurt last year, at EIT Innovation Day, where we went specially to meet the ENGIE team... who invited us to Vivatech!
Q: Why are you participating in Vivatech with ENGIE?
We are looking for not only commercial, but also industrial partners, who can help us both develop our technology and seek other applications, perhaps in which Heaboo could start out as a service provider to validate product concepts before handing over: for applications using fluids other than water, for example. Investors will be welcome too, of course; and France was among our 'kick-off' markets, so we will be very pleased to develop our contacts there.
Q: And what will you be presenting at Vivatech?
Our thermal batteries, certainly. And we hope also to show a shower column so that visitors can appreciate the 'Plug-and-Play' aspect.
Q: Is there something you would like to add?
Current solutions for hot water distribution, based on continuous hot water circulating loops, hide the problem. Over 50% of energy used to heat water with these systems is wasted, but this is rarely mentioned; nor is the 'waiting time' for hot water, which in fact means water wasted. There is a tendency to choose between energy efficiency and water use efficiency: our products provide both.
Q: And a phrase about innovation?
Innovation means tackling a problem at its roots, not just adding value to existing solutions.
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