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Thermal Energy From Renewable Sources

Request Number N568342
Need details

Unilever has an ambition to become carbon positive in our operations by 2030. The energy we use in our manufacturing processes is a third electrical and two thirds thermal, and therefore it is of great interest for us to understand technologies that create thermal energy from renewable sources.




In November 2015 Unilever announced a new target to become carbon positive in our operations by 2030. This means that we will eliminate fossil fuels from our energy mix and directly support the generation of more renewable energy that we can consume. By 2020 we will have eliminated coal from our energy mix and by 2030 we will only be using renewable sources of energy. Unilever own over 260 factories in 68 countries across the world, producing a wide range of products from laundry powder to ice cream and soups.


At Unilever we use thermal energy for a wide range of purposes. The most common uses are storing materials at temperature, pasteurisation and cleaning for which we use hot water or steam between 55 and 95 degrees C. We have some demand at some sites for hot air generation in excess of 140 degrees C for dryers. 


Our demand is not flat; our typical baseload is 20% when operational and 80% reactive. Some of our sites produce multiple kinds of products and so there is a large variation in the thermal energy required across the site.


In some cases, we use steam and hot water systems for space heating, and we are interested in more efficient alternatives for space heating.



Key Success Criteria
  • Able to deliver primarily reactive thermal.
  • Easily integrated into existing systems.


Possible Approaches
  • Heat pumps.
  • Geothermal.
  • Solar thermal.
  • Biomass thermal.
  • Open to receiving entirely new ideas and replacements for specific systems (such as space heating) as well as sources of thermal energy.


Approaches not of interest

Unilever will consider all proposals but will most closely consider those that can contribute in the next 1-3 years to its vision of eliminating coal (used to produce thermal energy) from our energy mix by 2020. Requests for proof of concept funding, for example, will not be considered.



Preferred Collaboration types
  • Technology Licensing
  • Supply Agreement
Items to be submitted
We are looking for concise non-confidential proposals, statements of expertise, or other enquiries if your expertise fits our needs. To Respond, please use the Respond button to submit your proposal. You will need to be logged in to NineSights in order to respond.  Your NineSights community profile should contain all required information in order to provide us with appropriate contact information for your responses.


For all responses please indicate your preferred collaboration approach (eg joint development, research) and capabilities (eg research, concepts, prototype, small scale manufacture, large scale manufacture).


Point of Contact
Oliver Worsfold
Area of Interest
  • Building & Construction
  • Commercial & Industrial Design
  • Manufacturing & Fabrication
  • Utilities
Due Date
September 9, 2016
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We have re-engineered the classic solar still and have increased the solar energy GOR by a factor of 5+. We can deliver 85% of the collected energy at temperatures up to 88 degrees C. We accomplish this in the process of producing distilled water from salt water. By introducing indirect cooling to the solar process enables the higher temperature using direct sunlight instead of solar concentration. The technology is available for licensing through University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). msilverstein@utep.edu . The technology is patented in the US, Australia, India plus pending US patents. Performance certified by engineers from the US Government.
Posted on 5/31/16 10:10 PM.