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SPRINT to support development of first UK-produced thermoelectric generators and coolers for space

NEWS: European Thermodynamics signs up to SPRINT programme

Funding from national SPRINT programme enables collaboration between European Thermodynamics and University of Leicester

Leicestershire-based European Thermodynamics, an SME developer and supplier of thermal management components to the electronics, medical, telecoms and industrial sectors, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme. SPRINT will provide European Thermodynamics with funded access to the expertise, research and facilities from the University of Leicester. This project will enable European Thermodynamics to develop the first space-qualified, UK-produced thermoelectric generators and coolers for space applications and other extreme/challenging environments.

The project concept is to develop the end-to-end capability, processes and quality assurance framework to produce a new range of robust thermoelectric generators and heat pumps, previously unavailable in the UK.

The University of Leicester team has expertise in the development and qualification of space systems and the associated laboratories. European Thermodynamics will gain access to this and a range of other specialisms including space industry standard design infrastructure.

Kevin Simpson, Technical Director at European Thermodynamics said: “We saw a market opportunity based on a long-term demand from the space sector for robust thermoelectric devices for more extreme applications. However, the reliability of data captured in elevated temperatures is sketchy and not entirely supportive of producing rugged devices. This element of risk can be reduced significantly by proven validation and testing from expert partners.

“The project is something that we wanted to do but critically, needed a partner that was strong in space and could provide validation. We’ve been working with the University of Leicester on various projects since 2010. The SPRINT project takes this work forward by utilising the University’s expertise and knowledge to enable us to build and verify a device that is suitable for space applications. The data and capability of the devices for the space sector is also then transferable to improve rugged devices for terrestrial applications.”

Richard Ambrosi, Professor of Space Instrumentation & Space Nuclear Power Systems at the University of Leicester added: “In addition to state-of-the-art facilities such as the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester, our team has great experience in developing and qualifying systems for space applications. As we’ve been working with European Thermodynamics on space-related projects for several years, the SPRINT project is a natural progression.”

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