A Cool Project: Sheffield academic receives funding to create first zero energy cooled school in the Middle East

  • Engineering academic has invented a cooling system for buildings that requires no energy
  • System will be installed in an Abu Dhabi school to become the first zero energy cooled school in the Middle East
  • Technology can reduce temperature up to 15°C

An academic from the University of Sheffield has been awarded £400k from Innovate UK and the Zayed Energy Prize to expand his research into naturally cooling buildings, which could substantially save the cost and energy used in air conditioning.
Abu Dhabi school cooling installation

Dr Ben Hughes, a Reader in the Energy 2050 institute, has designed a novel cooling system inspired by traditional architecture design to bring cold air in and hot air out.

The system uses integrated water filled pipes to reduce incoming air up to 15°C without any mechanical intervention, providing free cooling.

His team has already tested the technology in one of the emirate states, Ras Al Khaimah. Results showed a temperature reduction of 10°C in the hottest month of the year.

The grant will fund a full scale demonstration site of the technology at a school in UAE (Abu Dhabi). This will become the first zero energy cooled school in the Middle East.

Dr Ben Hughes said: “Air conditioning systems are the biggest energy consumer in the Middle East. By creating a cooling system that uses no energy, this could have a massive effect on energy and costs for the region and the wider world.”

Additional Information

Energy 2050
One of the UK’s largest energy research institutes based at the University of Sheffield, our initiative focuses on energy innovation and knowledge exchange and brings together more than 120 academics, and 250 PhD students.

It's a research institute that goes beyond traditional research boundaries by delivering innovations to power producers and major consumers with technology providers, focused on competitiveness and the de-risking of large scale investment in new technologies both in the UK and internationally.

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

For further information, please visit: www.sheffield.ac.uk


For further information please contact:

Kirsty Bowen
Media Relations Officer
0114 222 1034