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Innovation Birmingham accelerator: €100,000 shared across seven low carbon start-ups

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€100,000 (£72,484) of initial investment cash is being shared across seven start-ups on Innovation Birmingham’s Low Carbon Accelerator programme, which is part of the European-funded Climate-KIC initiative. The start-ups pitched for the investment funding, in front of a panel of three industry judges. The process was facilitated by one of the programme’s Entrepreneur s in Residence.

The grant funding will be used to pay for research and development, and other activity to enable the low carbon products and services to be launched to market in an accelerated timescale. Four Birmingham-based start-ups have been selected to receive the maximum amount available per company, which is €20,000 (£14,482).

The four start-ups comprise Intesys Ltd, which is developing the i-Magine predictive heating controller – a device that learns the dynamic thermal characteristics of domestic properties. Borroclub.co.uk is a marketplace for people to rent out their idle household items to others who live in the locality. SPICA Technologies is developing Devicepoint™ – a risk management tool to control Legionella, powered by a secured wireless network and low-energy sensors. Truckulus is a combined transport management system and return loads marketplace with a smartphone component, designed to significantly reduce the number of empty journeys made by hauliers.

Matt Dredger, CEO of Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Borroclub.co.uk said: “On average, a drill is used for a total of 12 minutes a year. The rest of the time, it’s taking up space in a home or garage and gathering dust. By lending it out to people in the local area, the owner of the drill can make a bit of money, while feeling like they’re actually contributing to their local community. In the past couple of weeks, our borrowers have saved over £1,300 and in the process, over 300kg of CO2 has also been saved.”

On 29-30th October, the annual Climate-KIC Innovation Festival will take place, bringing together over 300 low carbon entrepreneurs, stakeholders and partners from across Europe. The annual event is held in a different European city each year – for 2015, the Festival will take place at The ICC, Birmingham.

Katharine Fuller, Innovation Birmingham’s Senior Project Manager for EU Projects said: “Early stage grant funding makes such a difference to start-up businesses. The timetable required for an entrepreneur to launch their product or service to market is critical, and the funding available through the European Climate-KIC initiative enables the best businesses starting up in the low carbon sector to receive a helpful grant.

“In addition to this grant funding, all of the businesses will continue to work alongside our Entrepreneurs in Residence who have been specifically appointed as advisers to the Low Carbon Accelerator programme. The ultimate aim is to help to launch as many sustainable start-ups as possible.”

The three judges awarding the grant funding were: Clayton Shaw from Sampad, Dan Licari representing the Knowledge Transfer Network and Dr Ben Onyido from Innovation Birmingham’s Climate-KIC team. The judging process was facilitated by Steve Harris, a Climate-KIC Entrepreneur in Residence.

The Low Carbon Accelerator is a Climate Knowledge Innovation Community (Climate-KIC) project, which Innovation Birmingham is a delivery partner for. Climate-KIC is the EU’s main climate innovation initiative, and was one of the first Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in 2010. The EIT is the European Union body tasked with creating sustainable European growth and jobs while dealing with the global challenges of our time.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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