Founded in 2011, Vantage Power is in the process of developing the B320 system: a diesel electric hybrid powertrain technology which can be retrofitted to double-decker buses across the UK, helping operators to save £20,000 per bus per year in fuel costs as well as reduce noise pollution and maintenance costs.
The company’s young co-founders, Alex Schey (25) and Toby Schulz (27), have extensive experience in the world of hybrid and electric vehicles having travelled the full length of the 26,000km Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina in a 400bhp electric supercar in the 2010 Racing Green Endurance project fresh out of university.
Vantage Power hopes to install the first B230 pilot system in the first double-deck bus by the end of the summer. In a similar way to the workings of a mobile phone contract, bus operators will be able to avoid an expensive upfront cost and make periodic payments for the system.
Run by Shell, the Shell Springboard programme aims to find the next big idea in low carbon enterprise and innovation by small and medium enterprises. Winning companies receive a cash prize of £40,000 to support the next phase of their business’ development.
Vantage Power beat off stiff competition from more than 120 companies to be named this year’s national winner and impressed judges with its hybrid, powertrain technology which can be retrofitted to double-decker buses across the UK. Oxford based business, Ventive, were named runners up for their Passive Heat Recovery Ventilation Unit that mimics nature to reduce domestic heat loss by up to 97%.
Now in its eighth year, Shell Springboard has awarded £2.58 million of funding for innovative low carbon businesses in the UK that have developed new ways of cutting CO2. According to a new report – “Low carbon entrepreneurs: the new engines for growth” - launched last night by Shell and the Carbon Trust, small firms are playing a pivotal role in helping the UK to tap into a global low carbon sector now worth over £3 trillion and forecast to be worth £4 trillion by 2015.
This revealed that the number of SMEs successfully targeting low carbon exports had doubled since 2011, with half creating new jobs in the past year, and two-thirds planning to hire in the next two years. It also showed that SMEs make up over 90 percent of the UK low carbon economy, now worth £120 billion.”
Alex Schey, co-founder of Vantage Power, said: “Winning the 2013 Shell Springboard Awards is a great honour and demonstrates Shell’s faith in our company’s potential to reduce CO2 emissions. The prize money and national recognition will propel us into the next phase of Vantage Power’s development where we will finalise our prototype and commercialise the hybrid retrofit system.”
Edward Daniels, Shell UK Chairman and Executive Vice President of Downstream Technology added: “As a society we face an unprecedented and inescapable challenge - to meet rising demand for energy whilst reducing carbon emissions. Dynamic, hi tech companies like Vantage Power show the big innovation and huge economic potential of small UK low carbon enterprises. They embody the best of British business - the entrepreneurial spirit that is helping to generate growth and jobs in the UK while winning valuable contracts overseas.”
Past winners of Shell Springboard include:
- 2011 winner, Cella Energy, whose hydrogen power technology has attracted investment from NASA and allowed them to open a new laboratory at the Space Kennedy Centre in Florida
- 2012 winner, Select Innovations, whose partnership with local councils has allowed them to quite literally keep streetlights on and help Norfolk County Council make energy savings of 43 percent
Other finalists competing last night were:
- Ventive Ltd aim to reduce domestic heat loss by 97% and counter ‘sick building syndrome’ by combatting poor air quality. Their ultra-efficient heat recovery system mimics nature to save energy and improve ventilation, and can be easily retrofitted to existing housing stock
- KiWi Power Ltd aims to reduce the need for the National Grid to turn to inefficient, carbon-intensive energy sources during times of high electricity demand with its Demand Response system
- Anataco UK Ltd have pioneered a ‘biocoal’ product which represents a means both of processing leftover food, sewage and agricultural waste and creating a low cost substitute for fossil fuel coals which can be used in existing power stations
- Firefly Solar Generators Ltd have developed a portable solar generator for both events and companies looking for a reliable and clean source of energy
- AlbaTERN designs wave energy devices that capture energy from ocean waves and converts it into sustainable low-carbon electricity by using a series of road transportable base modules that are interconnected mechanically, hydraulically, and electrically