The UK Energy Innovation Awards, organised by the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), are an annual awards ceremony that showcase the latest and greatest technologies from the energy industry. This year over 300 of the movers, shakers and rising energy stars were out in force once again to applaud and honour those creating a positive impact.
Hosted at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, guests gathered for the unveiling of the winners who are making a progressive impact on the UK energy industry and benefitting energy customers through their collaborative partnerships.
Dermot Nolan, Chief Executive of energy industry regulator Ofgem, said: “Over the last few years, the Energy Innovation Centre has grown from providing a gateway to SMEs to now delivering projects with a strategic view. The EIC fosters collaboration and partnerships across many stakeholders and it’s great to see the energy networks stepping up to the challenge with these projects. As an industry, we should be proud of how far we have come in our bid to embrace innovation.
“The UK Energy Innovation Awards are about celebrating the innovators but it is also very much a celebration of this open collaboration, the opportunities that it creates for customers, the supply chain and the industry itself.”
Following an opening speech from the evening’s compere, actor and comedian Hugh Dennis, John Morea, CEO at SGN said a few words before the winners were announced.
He said: “In their own way, each nomination highlights the remarkable transformation our industry has undergone and the role that SME innovators have played in this as we seek to provide even greater value for customers and embrace the innovation that the broader supply chain has to offer.”
One of the evening’s winners was Cyan Technology who took home the Best International Trade award. The company, which is based Cambridge, was commended for its work towards tackling a world-wide energy issue.
With over 300 million citizens in India alone without access to power, the need to address energy in emerging markets is growing. Cyan Technology is delivering smart technologies to enable utilities in emerging markets, specifically in dense urban environments, to control and measure energy consumption.
John Cronin, Executive Chairman of Cyan Technology, said: “We are thrilled to have won this prestigious award, which provides further validation of Cyan’s success in emerging markets.
“Cyan has designed its solutions specifically for next-generation economies and has established in-country partner ecosystems across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America, supporting the transfer of skills and experience to facilitate customer ownership and generate local wealth. It is fantastic to gain this recognition from the Energy Innovation Centre and we thank them very much.”
Another SME recognised for its collaborative work with an energy network was Slough based, Industrial Noise and Vibration Centre (INVC) who won the Environmental Impact Award.
Peter Wilson, Technical Director at INVC, said: “As a small, specialist engineering noise and vibration consultancy, it can be difficult to spread the word about technical advances amongst organisations that can make best use of them. Winning this award will provide us with a high profile platform that both showcases our advances in noise control and gives more companies immediate access to the benefits of the latest innovations in the field.”
Another winner on the night was the University of Manchester which has developed ‘Acoustek’, an innovative technology that uses acoustics to detect and locate leakages and blockages within the gas network. This technology has the potential to reduce the number of disruptive excavations, saving time and money.
Professor Barry Lennox, Leader of the Acoustek Research Group, said: “The work we have been doing with the gas distribution operators and managed by the Energy Innovation Centre has been really successful. By being part of the Energy Innovation Centre’s awards programme, we should secure the right support to see our technology have a thorough evaluation around the UK’s gas distribution network over the next two-years.”
Denise Massey, Managing Director at EIC, closed the ceremony. She said: “Our future, and that of our children, is an energy system that has customers at its centre and puts them in control of their energy.
“Creating this future energy system is not the responsibility of the networks alone and there’s no blue print on how we will get there. But as the major players in our sector we have an obligation to facilitate others from beyond our sector and borders to collaborate with us, and create a movement that will take us towards that consumer centric future.
“As we’ve heard tonight, the shared opportunities that are created through network collaboration with SME innovators offer huge potential and will, ultimately, help us to accelerate the change that we need to achieve.”
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
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