WORCESTERSHIRE: Energy Minister Lord Hunt visited Worcester, Bosch Group last week to commemorate the opening of the heating manufacturer's new £2m research and development site at the company's headquarters in Warndon.

Tobias Geibel, director of engineering at Bosch Thermotechnology, said: "This project is a huge landmark for the business and places Worcester at the forefront of heating technology development in the UK.

"The increase in our research, testing and evaluating capacity as a result of this new laboratory is exceptional. It will make a huge impact on our ability to bring new and refined products to the market sooner for the benefit of customers, the industry and the environment."

The ground floor of the building has been divided into sections. Engineering new technologies accounts for about one-third of the new facility's activity, It will see the development of micro-CHP appliances, new concepts to link in with existing products and other technologies.

Gas development will account for about half of the building's activity with product development of mid/low current appliances and the next generation of wall hung gas-fired boilers as its key operations.

Part of the laboratory is dedicated to the product development of oil-fired/off mains gas, floorstanding boilers, with current projects based on quality improvements.

Product reliability – the entire first floor has been allocated for testing the reliability of Worcester products. The additional state facilities will prove "the robustness of components and appliances before they are released to the market", said the company.

The new facility also includes an efficiency laboratory with GASTEC test rigs, new automated development test rigs, a wind generator to simulate typical wind conditions and an acoustic chamber to measure noise levels to meet market requirements. The R&D site is 757m2 in size and has been specially designed to operate at a reduced level of energy consumption.

It does this by utilising heat generated by appliances in the product reliability laboratory to heat the main development laboratory and by extracting heat from the waste water and re-circulating it into the plant room. To maximise space, the plant room has been built on the roof of the building.