Our research

Founded in 2018 as the Sustainable Thermodynamics Lab and renamed in 2022, our mission is to develop efficient and environment-friendly technology for heat-pumping, refrigeration, cryocooling, and power generation.

One of our core areas is the Stirling cycle which is the most efficient thermodynamic cycle possible. We carry out fundamental Stirling research, develop new design solutions, and build and test prototypes. With the increasing use of superconductive materials in electric propulsion and other applications, THERA is also focused on cryocooler research and development.

THERA aims to contribute to the research and development of environment-friendly thermodynamic cycles, mainly the Stirling cycle, to:

  • Turn heat into power
  • Use power for heat-pumping
  • Use power for refrigeration
  • Turn heat into cold
  • Achieve cryogenic temperatures

Research themes

Fundamental Stirling Cycle Research and Refrigerator Development

  • Hysteresis loss
  • p-V relationships in Stirling machines
  • Liquid pistons
  • Piston seals
  • Flexure bearings
  • Continuous Stirling cycle

Heat-actuated refrigeration

  • Solar-powered Stirling refrigerator
  • Vuilleumier cryocooler

Cryocooler research

  • Development of a cryocooler for a fully-superconductive electric motor (MBIE Advanced Energy Technology Platform project)

Research networks

  • Callaghan Innovation, Christchurch
  • Fabrum, Christchurch
  • Robinson Institute, Wellington
  • SKOPE, Christchurch
  • Fisher & Paykel Appliances, Auckland
  • Frauscher Thermal Motors, Austria
  • KIER, Daejeon, South Korea
  • Sum q Inc., USA
  • University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim, Germany
  • TesTneT GmbH, Germany
  • Energon Industries, Mexico

Meet the team

Find out about our researchers and their expertise.

Our people