The Japanese company Daikin has chosen Manchester, UK, as a testing ground for clean technology.

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Japanese industrial company Daikin has signed an agreement with the northern English city of Manchester to deploy heat pumps in selected public buildings and use the technology as a testing ground, the company told Reuters exclusively.

Daikin, one of the world’s largest air conditioner manufacturers, will supply heat pumps and cooling systems for public buildings, including social housing in the city, which will be monitored and tested remotely.

Demand for heat pumps, which use electricity to transfer heat, has skyrocketed in Europe amid soaring natural gas prices, and consumers in many countries have been waiting months for heat pumps to be installed.

Manchester, one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution, plans to become carbon neutral in 2038, 12 years ahead of the rest of Britain.

“Daikin’s goal is to showcase and promote carbon neutrality technology that can be deployed … around the world,” Masatsugu Minaka, chairman of Daikin Europe, told Reuters.

“The intentions of the two parties coincided, and they recognized each other as the most suitable partners, which led to the conclusion of this agreement.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the partnership with Daikin symbolized the city’s industrial ambitions.

“Obviously, with such ambition around 2038, we will be a place that will move faster. This opens up opportunities for organizations like Daikin,” said Burnham.

The installations will take place over the next two years, the parties said without giving any details.

Under the agreement, Daikin will also set up a heating and cooling skills training program in Manchester, which is lacking in the UK.

The deal, whose financial details have not been disclosed, is part of a wider initiative from the north of England to attract investment in renewable energy and green technologies.

Liverpool plans to become a world leader in tidal power, and the North East already has major wind power.

The story goes on

Manchester hopes its universities, renowned for their scientific and engineering excellence, will help spur foreign investment.

“I think having access to such a wealth of talent is a big attraction,” said Joe Ahmed, partner at accounting firm Deloitte and Japan’s honorary consul in Manchester.

Heat pumps, sometimes called reverse air conditioners, use electricity to concentrate heat potential and are comparatively more energy efficient than gas boilers.

Osaka-headquartered Daikin said last year it would build a heat pump plant in Poland as part of its expansion plans.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Holmes)

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