December 11 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 21, 2013
A wave energy device pioneered by a business launched only four years ago has been named as the overall winner of the East of England Energy Group’s EEEGR Innovation Awards for 2013.
Marine Power Systems (MPS) was presented with the trophy at gala dinner ceremony following pitches by the shortlisted entrants to a panel of judges earlier in the day.
MPS, which is based in Swansea, in south Wales, but also has a presence at OrbisEnergy, the offshore renewables hub in Lowestoft, was recognised for its WaveSub concept for the cost-effective harnessing of wave energy.
The WaveSub, two small-scale prototypes of which have already been built, can automatically adjust its position to the optimum depth for generating power. It can also protect itself from damage by dropping to a safe depth in the event of stormy conditions, and is easy to transport and install.
The pitch to the judges and audience at the event, who also had the chance to vote for their favourite, was made by managing director Gareth Stockman and Laurence Castle, who has helped the company with its business plan and development.
Graham Foster, technical director at MPS, said the WaveSub’s success could not have better timed as the company sought investment for full-scale trials.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” he added. “Winning this award means so much more to a small start-up business like ours. It could be three to four years before we are ready to go commercial when we hope the device will be bought and used by utility companies.”
Great Yarmouth-based Weatherford was runner-up for the main award with its Rapid Close Ram System, designed to isolate offshore wells rapidly in emergencies such as blow-outs.
A special Low Carbon Award was won by Lowestoft-based Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science) for its Liquid Robotics Wave Glider for ocean surveys. It features an array of sensors to measure pollution, acidification, algal blooms, oxygen and other data for science and industry.
Jo Foden of Cefas said the success was a “lovely surprise” and a great boost for for the wave glider team which included Tom Hull and Dave Sivyer.
EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray said the finalists had done the East of England proud with their pioneering ideas and groundbreaking technology.
The awards event, at which Mark Pendlington, group director for Anglia Water and a board member of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was guest speaker, was held at the Holiday Inn Norwich North.
The judging panel was chaired by John Balch of Nautilus Associates and also included Bill Cattanach from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, William Jones of IP21, Paul Rijks from the University of East Anglia, and John Knowlden of KTIB. Compere for the ceremony was Johnathan Reynolds, head of business development for OrbisEnergy.