An innovative system using thermal paint has been developed by two friends to revolutionise the way homes are heated.
After spending years unsuccessfully trying to find a commercial use for the paint they had developed, Jean-Christophe Gérard and Nicolas Guilloux decided to see if the technology could be used instead for home heating.
They quickly found it could.
Warm the walls not the air
By painting it on metal they created a pioneering heating element that emits infrared waves which warm like sunshine.
“When you switch on one of our units, it radiates heat for three or four metres, like a conventional convection heater with a resistant element,” Mr Guilloux told The Connexion.
“But at the same time, it sends out long-range infrared waves to all parts of the room, and after two or three days the walls and the furniture heat up and radiate heat.
“Effectively, we seek to warm the walls and not the air, which is what convection methods of heating do.”
Good results compared to conventional heating
The pair formed a company called AquilOhm two years ago to develop the idea and moved from Mr Gérard’s garage into a small unit on an industrial estate in Brittany.
They have applied for patents for the system, and have also had it tested to compare with other forms of heating.
The company claims that conventional electric heating systems in France use 110kWh/m² for a price of €1,870 if householders have a standard €0.17 per kWh contract.
For heat pumps, the consumption falls to 51kWh/m² or €867 per year, to which annual servicing adds another €250.
The AquilOhm heaters are certified to use 45kWh/m² for €765 a year.
Tested in own homes
“Obviously, using less energy is good for the environment and for the household budget,” said Mr Guilloux.
“The system only works in well-insulated houses, or the outside walls just heat up and radiate heat outside.
“Both of us have it in our own homes and were warm all winter.”
Because the heating element can be any shape, the company has developed around 40 different forms of their heaters, including roof-mounted and decorative models.
A standard heater, which looks like an electric convection heater, costs €599 and uses 300W of electricity, compared to the usual 1,000W heaters found in many French homes.
“How many you will need depends on many factors, but usually people find they are warm with one unit in each bedroom, and one or two in other rooms of the house,” Mr Guilloux said.
The company is currently selling units put together “by hand”.
It is looking for investors to help set up a factory to mass-produce the heaters.