London-start-up Deciwatt was last night named national winner of the 2015 Shell Springboard programme to develop GravityLight, a technology which uses the force of gravity to generate electricity that can be used off-grid.

An expert panel of judges drawn from academia, the engineering sector and business awarded a total of £150,000 to Deciwatt. Their cutting-edge low-carbon technology stood out from over 150 applications to the 2015 programme as an affordable, reliable and safe alternative to kerosene lamps used by the 1.3 billion people around the world living without access to electricity.

Using only a 12kg bag threaded through a patented electricity-generating device to power a small light, the technology eliminates the significant carbon emissions created by the kerosene lamps it replaces. GravityLight enables families in the developing world to break out of the ongoing poverty trap caused by the costs of buying kerosene for traditional lamps. It provides a safe light, at any time, to work and study by with no risk of burns, house fires or kerosene fume related illnesses.

Caroline Angus, Commercial Director of Deciwatt, said:

"Support from Shell Springboard has come at a critical moment for Deciwatt. The funding will help us to convert existing links in the relief market into orders and sales, as well as further refining our technology. We are targeting three key sectors across the developing and developed worlds – kerosene replacement, humanitarian relief, and disaster preparedness. Shell’s support will allow us to pursue all three, improving quality of life while reducing carbon emissions."

Erik Bonino, Shell UK Chairman, said:

“I’m continually inspired by the innovation displayed by the low-carbon enterprises supported by the Shell Springboard programme, and Deciwatt is no exception. The cutting-edge ideas coming out of these businesses are not only essential stepping stones in helping to create a lower carbon energy future – they are creating future jobs and economic growth in the UK. Deciwatt embodies the purpose of Shell Springboard, and I look forward to seeing how our support will contribute to the growth and development of the company over the years to come.”

Shell Springboard’s focus on supporting commercially viable, innovative businesses is reflected in the enduring success of the community of 80 low-carbon companies that have participated in the programme over the last decade. An average of 81% of Shell Springboard winners are still operational three years after starting up their business, compared to a national average of 40%.

Shell Springboard’s 2015 national final judges were: Professor Dame Julia King, Chair of Judges and Vice-Chancellor of Aston University; Martin Powell, Head of Urban Development at Siemens; Professor Tim Green, ‎Director of the Energy Futures Lab; and Jonathan Grant, Director of Sustainability and Climate Change and PwC.

To date, over 250 new jobs have been created in the UK by the 80 enterprises supported through the programme. These enterprises have generated a combined annual turnover of more than £60 million.

Jim Reeves, Technical Director of Deciwatt, added:

"Shell Springboard really helped us crystallise our pitch and better tell our story, and it has been invaluable to refine our business proposition and investment case through the judging process".

Through its funding and long-term support, Shell Springboard aims to help UK low-carbon enterprises to meet the scale-up challenge. A new study by Imperial College in partnership with Shell Springboard, ‘Engineering growth – enabling world-class entrepreneurship in the low-carbon economy’ shows that the UK low-carbon sector is valued at £130 billion. However, significant scale-up challenges are hampering entrepreneurs from taking advantage of this opportunity, and failure to address this could see us miss out on £6.7 billion of annual economic growth in the sector by 2023.

Other finalists were:

  • Bactest, with its sludge monitoring management system, Shepherd, that reduces the energy used by water companies for sludge aeration, dramatically cutting carbon emissions.
  • Oxsensis, for its technology that measures pressure and temperature in environments of up to 1000 degrees, lowering carbon emissions by allowing engines to run using less fuel.
  • Econic Technologies, which has developed cutting-edge, patented technology that can transform CO2 into plastic for everyday consumer use.
  • Witt Energy, for its technology that collects energy from water, wind or any other type of movement from all six degrees of motion with no impact on the environment
  • Yomp, which has created innovative software to encourage workers to take up low-carbon travel options for their commute, such as walking, running, cycling and car sharing

For more information about Shell Springboard and how to join the programme, please visit: http://www.shellspringboard.org/

For further information about the report itself, please contact Taryn Strautins in the Shell Media Office on +44 20 7934 5550 or email T.Strautins@shell.com

 

Notes to editors

Past winners of Shell Springboard include:

Oaktec (2014) was awarded £40,000 for its high-efficiency engine, which is optimised for gaseous fuels such as natural gas or hydrogen. Reformatting the architecture of a traditional piston engine, the company’s innovation improves gas flow and combustion to achieve significant energy savings. The award has helped them to unlock further support in the form of the Technology Developer Accelerator Programme and in February 2015 Oaktec was selected to present the technology to investors and industry leaders in the Cleantech Innovate final.


Vantage Power (2013) received £40,000 to help their development of the B320 system: a diesel electric hybrid powertrain technology which can be retrofitted to double-decker buses across the UK. As well as a deal with Ensign, Britain’s biggest used bus dealer, Vantage secured fully-funded status which enabled them to incorporate their retrofitted Trident into Ensign’s active fleet service.


Select Innovations (2012) won for their EnLight technology, which delivers savings for councils by improving the efficiency of street lights. In the past year, the company has been awarded Affiliate Membership of European Climate KIC, opened a new sales office and are currently rolling out their technology into the commercial lighting sector, with their latest installation delivering 50% energy savings for ARM Holdings Plc. The company also addressed the Smart Lighting conference in Barcelona recently on how streetlight infrastructure can be used as the backbone of smart city applications.


Cella Energy (2011) was awarded £40,000 for its innovative hydrogen storage technology, bringing hydrogen fuelled cars one step closer to reality. Since winning, Cella Energy has attracted further investment from a wide variety of investors including NASA, the latter having allowed them to open a new laboratory at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. At the end of 2014, Cella Energy entered a deal with Safran, a leading international high-technology group giving Safran exclusive access to Cella Energy’s hydrogen storage technology in the area of aerospace.


Shell’s UK social investment focuses on the core themes of enterprise development and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education. We believe these will play a central role in the UK’s ability to drive economic growth and meet the growing energy demand in sustainable ways. Our national programmes consist of:

Shell Springboard
Shell Springboard provides funding to UK-based small to medium sized enterprises with innovative, low-carbon business ideas since 2005. With total funding of £350,000 available in 2015, six regional winners will receive awards of £40,000 each – and for the first time one national winner will also receive an additional £110,000 at the Shell Springboard national final in March 2015.

Shell LiveWIRE
Shell LiveWIRE has been supporting young entrepreneurs in the UK since 1982. The programme offers an independent and free online service, business mentoring and awards programme for young entrepreneurs with innovative, smart and sustainable business ideas that meet the challenges of a fast-growing population. Monthly winners are automatically entered into the annual Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year award which includes a £25,000 grant to the winning business to further develop their idea.

Shell STEM education
Shell has long recognised the vital importance of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills to our business and the UK’s long term economic health. Shell recently announced an investment of over £1million in Tomorrow’s Engineers, a national programme that provides 11-14 year olds with hands-on engineering experiences and helps them understand the incredible range of opportunities that a technical career can provide.

To find out more about Shell Social Investment, please visit:

www.shell.co.uk/socialinvestment

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