Innovators shine at the Second Annual Energy Innovation Awards

June 24th, 2011

Individuals and companies flying the flag for energy innovation and sustainability have been honoured at the Second Annual Energy Innovation Awards.

Leading figures from across the energy sector descended on Manchester for last night’s (Thursday June 23) glittering ceremony at the Hilton Deansgate Hotel, hosted by comedian, author and broadcaster Mark Steel.

The awards, the brainchild of Cheshire’s world-class Energy Innovation Centre, attracted entries from across the UK and Europe, with entries up 34% on last year’s inaugural awards.

Greg Barker MP, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, was unable to attend the awards but sent his congratulations to all of those who had worked to make the awards such a success, and particularly commended the winners.

Companies from Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Wales were among the award winners.

The Energy Innovation Awards 2011 are supported by a host of leading organisations including the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), CE Electric, EA Technology Group, Electricity Northwest, Energy Networks Association (ENA), Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET), The Northwest Fund for Energy & Environmental, ScottishPower Energy Networks, Scottish and Southern Energy and UK Power Networks.

Oxford’s Cella Energy Ltd scooped the ‘Consumer Benefit’ award for its nanotechnology which encapsulates complex hydrides. A major outcome from this development programme is a method of high density storage for hydrogen in a chemical or mineral form. The adoption of this technology will make hydrogen a fuel that could be handled safely in the open air and pumped like a fluid. Judges felt this was an innovation with tremendous consumer benefits, making hydrogen an alternative fuel source price competitive with oil, whilst providing greater energy security and the elimination of carbon emissions at the point of use.

Cardiff firm G24 Innovations Ltd collected the ‘Best International Trade’ accolade after impressing judges by becoming the first company in the world to commercialise a new 3rd generation photovoltaic technology known as Dye Sensitised Solar Cells. Using low cost material on a roll to roll manufacturing process similar to ink jet printing, G24i’s technology offers a low cost alternative to traditional sources of energy.

The ‘Existing Performance Improvement’ award went to Greater Manchester’s MHA Lighting Ltd, a collaboration between MHA Int-Elect and Luminanz to supply energy efficient LED lighting solutions to public and private sector organisations throughout the UK. MHA impressed the judges with its unique use of LED technology for low level lighting, which uses 70-80% less electricity than conventional lamps. Its LEDs shine light sideways into an encapsulation and reflect outwards to avoid direct contact with eyes. Further features include zero maintenance, safe close proximity applications, no flicker, and their application is ideal for workplaces such as hospitals, offering significant annual savings.

While the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Innovations Technology Access Centre (I-TAC) in Daresbury, Cheshire, collected the ‘Best Service Provider’ award for its high-tech innovation research and development facility, which is already home to five companies working within the energy sector and aims to maximise the impact of local knowledge, skills and facilities for the benefit of North West Energy Environment and Biomedical sectors.

The University of Bolton’s Institute for Materials Research& Innovation (IMRI), which specialises in smart/multi functional materials and systems for applications in the field of renewable energy, collected the ‘University Spin-out’ award. It has developed a unique fibre which is capable of being woven into fabric.

This flexible hybrid system made of fibres is capable of making large and small structures that can harvest the sun, rain, wind and tides and convert it into usable energy.

Two companies were honoured in the ‘New Energy Generation’ award category. Warrington company Atmos Technologies Ltd was awarded the‘New Energy Generation’ award and a Commendation in this category was awarded to Wirral-based E-Energy Enterprise Ltd.

Atmos Technologies Ltd is developing a new form of low cost solar cell which could transform the viability of photovoltaic power generation. By using plain glass with a transparent conductive oxide coating the cells could cost as little as 5% of traditional technology, and testing of the first prototype has shown output is half of that achieved by traditional Silicon technology.

E-Energy Enterprise Ltd was commended for its ability to convert low-temperature waste-heat into electric power without any additional fuel and no additional carbon emissions. The electricity generated can be sold, providing financial payback of less than 18 months, at standard meter rate and with no subsidies.

The ‘Rising Star’ award went to engineer Lee Summers, technical director at Warwickshire’s EOS Energy, which develops and supplies a range of renewable energy systems. Lee has installed some of these developing technologies on his own company buildings, thus proving their viability in reducing demand and creating financial savings in many areas. His primary goal is to become one of the foremost experts on the deployment of photovoltaic systems in the UK, all this while undertaking further academic study.

The highlight of the Awards, the ‘Energy Innovation Grand Prix’Award, was awarded to the company judges believed to have shown the greatest overall innovation. This went to Greater Manchester’s MHA Lighting Ltd

Speaking at the ceremony MHA Lighting managing director Tom Harrison said: “What an amazing evening for UK innovation and particularly for the MHA Lighting team.

“We have put so much effort in to building the business this year and to have our efforts recognised by our peers in this way is a major boost.

“We are a forward-thinking firm that takes pride in providing innovative lighting solutions. It is an honour to see our work being recognised and celebrated in this way.”

Addressing the 200 strong audience, Denise Massey, Director of the Energy Innovation Centre, paid tribute to all of the winners and finalists as she said: “These awards celebrate the sheer skill and determination of individuals and teams who are working so hard behind the scenes to develop cutting edge-energy products and services which will benefit the environment, customers, and strengthen the energy industry moving forward. Tonight was their chance to shine. Well done to all of the winners and finalists. We hope that these awards inspire further innovation and we look forward to building upon the success of these awards again in 2012.”

As a special element to this year’s Energy Innovation Awards, the audience heard from two winners of the 2010 inaugural awards, who revealed how their innovations had progressed during the 12 months since winning their awards.

Mike McCormack, managing director of Irish firm FMC-Tech, which won last year’s ‘Best International Trade’ award for its innovative smart grid compatible real-time power line monitoring technology, ealed his company is to be acquired by GE, with the deal set to complete in early July 2011.

While Lisa Thomson, project manager at Merseyside-based Furlong Innovations, which scooped last year’s ‘Consumer Benefit Award told, how its innovative CombiSave boiler technology is now in manufacture, and the company has gone on to win several other environmental awards.

The Energy Innovation Centre, located in Capenhurst, Cheshire, fosters innovation and provides a gateway to accelerate cutting-edge products and technologies to market.

Manchester-based company Out There Events supported the Energy Innovation Centre in staging the awards.

The results:

Consumer Benefit Award
Winner Cella Energy Ltd (Didcot, Oxfordshire)

Best International Trade Award
Winner: G24 Innovations Ltd (Cardiff)

Existing Performance Improvement Award
Winner: MHA Lighting Ltd (Atherton, Greater Manchester)

Best Service Provider Award
Winner: I-TAC, (Daresbury, Cheshire)

University Spin Out Award
Winner: University of Bolton, Institute for Materials Research& Innovation (Greater Manchester)

New Energy Generation Award
Winner: Atmos Technologies Ltd (Warrington)
Commended: E-Energy Enterprise Ltd (Wirral, Merseyside)

Rising Star Award
Winner: Lee Summers of EOS Energy (Southam, Warwickshire)

Energy Innovation Grand Prix Award
Winner: MHA Lighting Ltd (Atherton, Greater Manchester)

For more information about Energy Innovation Centre please visitwww.energyinnovationcentre.com

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