Magneto: Developing breakthrough heating and cooling technology
Based in Delft (NL), Magneto Systems are on a mission to create efficient heating and cooling solutions without greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier in 2023, Magneto was awarded projects by the Eurostars and EIC Accelerator funding programmes, winning grants of €500K and €2.5M respectively. With the funding Magneto can fuel the development of their groundbreaking sustainable cooling technology to the market. Catalyze is proud to have supported Magneto towards both successful submissions. We spoke to Managing Director, Ivo Dusek, to learn more about their technology and how they can make a significant impact on the cooling and heating market.
Pictured: Ivo Dusek, Managing Director at Magneto Systems.
Magneto’s magnetocaloric heat pump technology
Magneto is developing a groundbreaking magnetocaloric heat pump innovation that utilizes the magnetocaloric effect of Magneto’s patented material. It heats up when inserted into a magnetic field and cools down when removed. The magnetocaloric effect is then utilized in magnetocaloric heat pumps, which deliver highly-efficient heating and cooling with the help of water instead of refrigerants. Refrigerants – gases based on hydrogen, fluorine and chlorine – are either explosive, flammable, poisonous or cause environmental damage. Magnetocaloric heat pumps represent a safe and green alternative.
Ivo describes how Magneto started: “Our technology comes from Delft Technical University from the team of Prof. Ekkes Brück. The core of Magneto’s team is researchers from this group. Later on we added experienced business executives to our management team and advisory board. We transferred the patents from the university to our company and started its commercialization.”
Ivo explains how Magneto has prepared the technology for market-wide introduction:
“Magneto solves three historic problems of the technology. First of all, it was the limited temperature span which prevented the technology from wide application. Magneto’s solution can be applied within range of -80 to +200°C, so it opens many doors.
“Secondly, the used magnetocaloric material was too expensive. The composition we use is based on a large percentage of waste product from steel manufacturing. Our costs for raw materials is below 1% of the costs of our nearest competitor.
“The last problem was shaping the material into an efficient heat exchanger. We bring our super-efficient patented geometry and additive manufacturing process, allowing manufacturing at scale.”
Addressing global demand for sustainable cooling solutions
Initially, Magneto is aiming to address the urgent need for environmentally friendly solutions for the cooling industry, which is based on refrigerants. In fact, the refrigerant-based cooling industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. International conventions banning the use of several predominant refrigerant gases, such as HFCs, have created an urgent need for alternative solutions that meet higher levels of sustainability and energy efficiency.
Furthermore, global demand for cooling solutions will increase dramatically over the coming decades due to climate change, population growth and urbanization. Magneto’s technology provides an urgently needed solution.
Ivo explains, “Over the next couple of decades we will have a chance to completely replace the existing technologies with our magnetocaloric technology thanks to the low cost of the starting materials and large economies of scale. The heat pumps use 30-50% less energy and no harmful refrigerant gases. It is completely green. It also meets the European strategy requirements as it doesn’t create any dependency of materials outside of the EU.
“When you look at the big picture, for example, the International Energy Agency estimates that worldwide 40% of the newly needed electricity until 2050 will go to cooling. If that is true, then cooling would be a bigger problem than electrification of cars, for example. Big countries like India, Indonesia and China have a rapidly growing demand for cooling systems. Our technology is groundbreaking because it is not only green, but it can save a lot of electricity for households and businesses as well. It truly has the potential to completely replace the current cooling and heating systems.”
Magneto Systems collaborating with Catalyze towards Eurostars and EIC success
Magneto’s Eurostars and EIC Accelerator enable essential R&D activities to bring their platform technology to market. Their Eurostars project focuses on the validation of Magneto’s proprietary magnetocaloric heat exchangers in a heat pump from their first customer. In the EIC Accelerator project, Magneto will focus on industrialization of their production methods and running their first pilots in the commercial cooling sector.
As Ivo points out, the value in the collaboration with Catalyze came even before they received the news of their €2.5 million EIC Accelerator grant:
“I said to a colleague, the whole process of working together on the application generates enough value, even if you don’t get the grant. Catalyze put together a team of people that was helping us. Going through the application with them, and shaping our business model, financial plan, our impact, and all other aspects of the business was very helpful. The most fruitful discussions, we had, were probably regarding our take-to-market strategy and the wider impact of the technology.
“So basically for quite a small fee you are getting a team of consultants who are helping you think about your business and formulate it on paper. This also means you become more prepared for future potential investment rounds. So I saw a big value in the preparation alone. Of course the grant helps us enormously for our take-to-market – without Catalyze we would have had a much harder time.”
Looking ahead towards the market
Ivo looks ahead at the coming years for Magneto and identifies the market as the ultimate goal.
“Magneto’s business model is that we are a developer of the key components of a magnetocaloric heat pump that contains the magnetocaloric materials, and which is sort of the heart of the technology. In order to accelerate the uptake from the market, we then teach other companies how to build their own magnetocaloric heat pump, so that they can add it to their product portfolio and bring it to their existing market. Siemens, Bosch, Samsung, LG – these are our ideal customers.”
“Together with our first customer we are developing a heat pump for the commercial cooling sector because they see increasing operational costs and a whole set of new pains coming from compliance to the new regulations. Our technology can solve them all. We are working with the largest Dutch cooling system installation company. Together, we are preparing demonstration of the technology for the supermarket during 2024. Then we aim for a pilot supermarket in 2025.”