Cleantech engineering firm Sunswap raise £500k to scale up production of their zero-emission transport refrigeration tech

Cleantech engineering firm Sunswap has secured half-a-million pounds in crowdfunding that will be used to rapidly scale the business and deploy their zero-emission TRU technology on the roads by the end of 2021. 

The crowdfunding campaign, launched on Crowdcube in January this year, saw Sunswap raise £500k in just four days.

The funds will be used to finalise the development of their latest generation sustainable transport refrigeration unit (TRU) ahead of deployment later this year. To achieve this Sunswap will be growing the team and moving into larger facilities that will enable the firm to accelerate scale-up.    

TRUs play a vital part in society, being used to transport essential supplies such as vaccines and chilled food, however they currently use diesel engines to keep products cold.

Diesel-powered TRUs pollute the environment, are expensive to operate and will become even more costly in 2022 following the Government’s ban on the use of cheap red diesel, increasing costs by 47p per litre of diesel. 

Following the funding round, Sunswap is in the final stages of confirming manufacturing partnerships that will enable the firm to become a major provider of zero-emission TRUs in the coming years.

Sunswap continues to build relationships within industry, having already announced this year that they will be working with social impact start-up OX to develop solar powered mobile chilling capability for their zero-emission trucks in Rwanda. 

Michael Lowe, Sunswap’s CEO, said: “The closing of this funding round marks an important stage in Sunswap’s journey, following a significant year of growth for the firm. We successfully built our first prototype, secured government funding and began the expansion of our team. 

“It is set to be another busy year for Sunswap. We are delighted to have a host of new investors on board and are putting in place the foundations that will allow us to scale rapidly as the demand for zero-emission TRUs significantly increases.

“Engaging industry remains a key focus, we are in discussion with major logistics operators and looking forward to working with these partners to get Sunswap’s TRU technology on the roads this year.” 

About Sunswap 

  • Sunswap exists to decarbonise the cold chain with zero-emission Transport Refrigeration Units (TRUs). More information can be found here: 
  • Sunswap ran a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube in January 2021. 
  • Transport refrigeration units are seen as a significant barrier to the UK Government’s target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Sunswap estimate there are currently 5.6m TRUs on the road globally. This is anticipated to rise to 8m units, with a market worth £13.4bn by 2030. 
  • Currently transport refrigeration units, commonly used by all major supermarkets, use diesel engines. Due to the energy required to keep produce cold, one TRU diesel engine can produce the same level of emissions as sixty Euro 6 diesel engines. 
  • Sunswap previously secured £150k funding in April 2020 and is developing electric transport refrigeration technology utilising energy prediction, adaptive battery capacity and solar power. 
  • Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. Sunswap received a £157k grant to develop a high-efficiency TRU that is compatible with a low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant, alongside the CEP Laboratory at Imperial College London. Sunswap received a £219k grant to develop next-generation electrical architecture for TRUs in partnership with Cenex. 
  • OX deliver affordable transport in emerging markets to create a self-reinforcing cycle of economic growth and social impact. 

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