REL and IT Carlow enter Strategic Innovation Partnership

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To develop smart refrigeration systems for the commercial and hospitality sectors, supported by Enterprise Ireland, partnership positions Carlow as centre of excellence in refrigeration research and manufacturing

A strategic innovation partnership between the Institute of Technology Carlow’s Design+ Gateway and Carlow company REL will see a major Research and Development project into new applications and smart refrigeration systems undertaken at the Institute. The research is being supported by Enterprise Ireland and will be led by Dr Cathal Nolan and Dr. Paddy Buckley.

The strategic partnership between IT Carlow and REL is positioning Carlow as a centre of excellence in innovation and refrigeration research, development and manufacturing. This is the third innovation project between IT Carlow and REL which employs 35 people and is one of Ireland’s leading specialists in dispense, commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Previous collaborations, which were also supported by Enterprise Ireland, included both thermodynamic analysis and bespoke “Pump & Pipe” sizing models which led to the development of REL’s innovative Glycol Beer Dispense System. The purpose of these collaborations was to develop a methodology of modelling a cooling system to suit any business or venue. The REL Glycol system is now installed in over 170 hotels, licensed premises, conference centres and arenas across Ireland.

“The purpose of our new innovation partnership with IT Carlow is to research and develop new applications and a smart refrigeration system which is capable of monitoring zonal energy and cooling usage and reacting to changing demands. Such a system will be more energy efficient, more economical to operate and unique to the market. This new research project will allow us to continue to be a market leader in the refrigeration industry, opening up new markets for REL at home and abroad. By leveraging the expertise of Dr. Nolan and his team, together with the resources of IT Carlow we will be able to bring the new product to market more quickly,” said Liam Byrne, Managing Director, REL.

“IT Carlow has been actively involved in developing its research capacity and strategy over a number of years and has a proven track record of excellence in engineering, product design and innovation. Partnering with REL provides us with the opportunity to develop further research and commercialisation projects and to play an active role in helping build more successful businesses located in Carlow and the South East. This in turn will provide fantastic opportunities for our graduates and for the establishment of Carlow as a centre of R&D excellence“, said Dr. Cathal Nolan.

Gearoid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland’s Divisional Manager for Research and Innovation said, “Research, development and innovation are key components of thriving businesses. They are essential to maintaining a competitive edge in the market. REL has been investing heavily in R&D and is now reaping the benefits with an expanding customer base and new markets. In the process, REL has created 30 new jobs in Carlow in the past five years. Enterprise Ireland is pleased to support this new collaboration between REL and IT Carlow through our Innovation Partnership Programme.”