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10 Feb 2011 04:02:50

Call for Energy Innovators 2011 launched

Call for Innovators 2011
Today sees the re-launch of the popular Call for Energy Innovators initiative which invites inventors to come forward with their ideas for making the power networks more efficient.

Funding and product testing support is available to assist innovators developing these products and services.

The Call for Energy Innovators, led by Cheshire's world-class Energy Innovation Centre, is backed by four of the UK's leading energy firms; distribution network operators CE Electric UK, Electricity North West, ScottishPower Energy Networks and Scottish & Southern Energy.

With rising energy demand and ambitious de-carbonising targets, innovation has an increasingly important role to play in enhancing the way power is transported, monitored and stored.

The aim of the Call for Energy Innovators initiative is to seek out technologies and processes with the potential to revolutionise existing power networks.

It is an opportunity for innovators to get their ideas before the decision makers and make a real difference to future energy provision in the UK and beyond.

Industry expert and chairman of the Energy Innovation Centre's Investment Forum, Clive Deadman, predicts this emerging market for innovative energy related products and services will be worth over £1 billion per year in the UK alone by 2016.

The Energy Innovation Centre, launched in 2008, is a specialist business incubator dedicated to fostering innovation and accelerating cutting-edge energy products to market.

Denise Massey, director of the Energy Innovation Centre, said: "When we launched the Call for Energy Innovators in conjunction with our industry partners in October 2010, we saw a 50% increase in enquiries to the centre. As a direct result of these enquiries we are now assisting a number of individuals and SMEs in the development of some exciting early stage technologies. "The Energy Innovation Centre was created specifically to help innovators navigate the complex route to commercialisation and we hope the new Call for Energy Innovators 2011 campaign will encourage even more innovators to come forward with their ideas for improving the energy industry."

Examples of recent technologies the Energy Innovation Centre has helped to take out into the industry include the CombiSave thermostatic valve for combination boilers from Furlong Innovations Ltd, which reduces the time taken for water to run hot, creating typical savings of 54,000 litres of water and 0.5 tonnes of carbon per household per year, and a smart grid compatible platform from Irish company FMC-Tech, which uses line mounted sensors and associated technology to rapidly detect faults and increase the capacity of conductors.

The Call for Energy Innovators 2011 is open to both early stage development and existing technologies with the potential for deployment within the energy industry. It could even be a technology which is already operational in another industry, such as telecoms or retail.

Distribution network operators have a number of roles including maintaining the performance and safe condition of the networks, restoring supply quickly should a fault occur, operating telephone systems in relation to network faults and providing new connections to the network.

Lawrence Fletcher, head of performance and innovation for CE Electric UK1, said: "The Call for Energy Innovators 2011 provides the perfect platform in which innovators or SMEs can bring their innovations to fruition and optimise their commercial opportunities."

Mike Kay, network strategy director at Electricity North West,2 added: "Innovation will be a key enabler of change as we prepare the way for the low carbon economy and initiatives such as the Call for Energy Innovators 2011 could help us to find and develop a technology with the potential to revolutionise energy provision not just here in the UK but globally. Electricity North West is pleased to support the Call for Energy Innovators 2011."

Mark Mathieson, director of Power Systems at Scottish & Southern Energy,3 said: "The Energy Innovation Centre provides the ideal outlet for innovators to champion their innovations, and end users to quickly appraise potential ideas and identify projects. We hope that innovators will take advantage of the funding and product testing support available via the centre."

Diyar Kadar, technology manager at ScottishPower Energy Networks,4 added: "We see innovation and collaboration as having a vital role to play in developing our electricity network to facilitate the introduction of renewable and smart grid technologies. The Energy Innovation Centre provides an ideal platform for distribution network operators and technology providers to collaborate on projects that will benefit both industry and customers."

The Energy Innovation Centre offers a complete range of services including product development, funding assistance, business support and access to power experts, and is committed to turning energy saving ideas into commercial reality.

For more information about the Call for Energy Innovators 2011, send us an enquiry.

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