Talented innovators were honoured at the fourth annual UK Energy Innovation Awards 2014 which took place at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate.
An audience of over 370 guests attended the event which was an endorsement for the impact that collaborative innovation is having on the UK’s energy sector as it looks to address the challenges of the future.
Many of the winners on the night were examples of collaboration between partners drawn from across small business, big industry and academia.
London-based ProHeat Systems won ‘Best Network Improvement’ for developing a way of preheating gas that fits with the gas distribution networks’ requirements for reduced carbon footprint on the network and reduced lifetime costs. Partners in the initiative included the University of Swansea’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Division (ASTUTE), a leading supplier of industrial burners and a specialist heat transfer firm.
Smarter Grid Solutions from Glasgow took home the award for ‘Best Smart Grid Innovation’ for its partnership with SSE Power Distribution to launch the UK’s first “smart grid” in Orkney. The active network management system monitors power flows around the system enabling generator output to be reduced before problems occur. This enables the same amount of renewable generation as conventional network reinforcement at a fraction of the cost.
Collecting the award for ‘Best Innovation Implemented or Adopted by a Contractor’ was the Western Gas Alliance which has worked closely with Wales & West Utilities to carry out a major programme of gas mains replacement across Wales and the South West of England.
The award for ‘Best Innovation Contributing to Customer Quality and Reliability of Supply’ went to CISBOT, a robotic system developed by US firm, ULC Robotics, which internally repairs leaking cast iron mains. The resulting repair work requires fewer excavations, eliminates service interruptions and is performed much faster than conventional joint sealing methods.
Other companies celebrated at the awards included Orbis Asset Integrity from Wrexham for its environmentally-friendly Oxifree anti-corrosion polymer coating that offers long term protection of critical assets across all energy sectors. Open Grid Systems Ltd from Glasgow was recognised for its strong overseas performance.
Alan Gooding of Smarter Grid Solutions said: “We’re always delighted with recognition of what we do and to be associated with delivering an innovative product. The Energy Innovation Centre does such a good job and helps to nurture small businesses with bright ideas in what traditionally is a very difficult sector. We look forward to our innovation being deployed more widely.”
Denise Massey, managing director of the Energy Innovation Centre, organisers of the awards, said: “We are proud to host these awards which continue to go from strength-to-strength each year. Their evolution over the past four years reflects the development of innovation within the energy sector which has gone from being aspirational to an accepted part of business as usual.
“The stories we’ve heard tonight are further proof that with a degree of courage and a willingness to collaborate we can deliver transformational practices and processes that have the power to benefit both customers and the environment, and help to strengthen the industry moving forward.”
Sponsors of the UK Energy Innovation Awards 2014 were Amey, Earth Capital Partners, Northern Gas Network, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, SSE Power Distribution, UKTI and ViaSat UK Ltd. The event was also supported by: Electricity North West, the Energy Networks Association, National Grid, Northern Powergrid, SP Energy Networks, Scotia Gas Networks Plc and Wales and West Utilities.
The UK Energy Innovation Awards 2014 winners in full are:
Best Network Improvement – sponsored by Amey
ProHeat Systems Ltd (London)
Best Innovation Implemented or Adopted by a Contractor
Western Gas Alliance (Newport)
New Energy Innovation Start Up – sponsored by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
Orbis Asset Integrity Ltd (Wrexham)
Best Innovation Contributing to Customer Quality and Reliability of Supply
International Trade Award – sponsored by UK Trade & Investment
Open Grid Systems Ltd (Glasgow)
Best Safety Innovation – sponsored by SSE Power Distribution
Scott’s Hire Ltd (Cheshire)
Environmental Impact Award – sponsored by Earth Capital Partners
OSDS Ltd (Liverpool)
Best Smart Grid Innovation
Smarter Grid Solutions (Glasgow)
Best University Technology – sponsored by ViaSat UK Ltd
Synaptec Ltd (University of Strathclyde)
Rising Star Award
Lynne McDonald – UK Power Networks (London)