Oaktec crowned champion in search for UK’s most promising low carbon business idea
May 07, 2014
Lancaster-based business Oaktec was last night crowned national winner of the 2014 Shell Springboard programme. Paul Andrews developed a new small gas engine for burning any conventional fuel or biofuel efficiently.
Oaktec was a regional finalist in last year’s Shell Springboard, and has since proved the technology in a working prototype. Paul Andrews plans to put the prize money towards securing more funding and industrial partnerships.
The Shell Springboard programme aims to find the next big idea in low-carbon enterprise from UK-based SMEs. Each year, innovative companies are awarded cash injections to help scale up their products and services. In 2014, a total of £330,000 was given to nine businesses and, over the past nine years, Shell Springboard has awarded approximately £3 million of funding to 80 dynamic low-carbon SMEs.
Matthew Tipper, Vice President Alternative Energies at Shell, said: “The innovations of low-carbon SMEs like Oaktec and all our other Shell Springboard finalists are delivering dramatic growth for the UK economy, as well as being key to meeting the rising demand for energy while reducing carbon emissions. It’s great to be able to support these small enterprises and their entrepreneurial approach to producing truly ground-breaking technology through initiatives like Shell Springboard.”
Paul Andrews, Senior Partner at Oaktec, added "We're delighted to be this year's national winners of Shell Springboard. Ours is the world's first dedicated small gas engine and there are potential applications for our highly efficient, low emissions technology in every country, every city and every community around the globe. This award and the support from Shell will open up huge opportunities for us to scale up the technology and unleash its full potential."
Oaktec was announced national winner of the Shell Springboard Awards 2014 by David Moss, General Manager Retail, North Europe at Shell, and Baroness Verma from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
This year, Oaktec faced competition from over 110 companies in the build up to the final. An expert panel of judges from low-carbon business and academia was most impressed by its simple low emissions vehicle innovation. However, close runner-up Demand Logic was also highly commended for its technology which uses big data analytics to discover energy saving opportunities in large commercial properties.
The findings of a study by the Carbon Trust commissioned by Shell Springboard also report that the UK has an opportunity to increase its current £12 billion low-carbon exports to £30 billion by 2020, if the growth rate is increased to 10%*. According to the research, low-carbon SMEs are already more than twice as likely to export (45%) than SMEs in other sectors and 67% of SMEs have increased their revenue in the past two years.
Other finalists competing last night were:
- Storelectric – which is hoping to solve the problem of renewable energy intermittency with compressed air storage for electricity
- bio-bean – is pioneering the process and infrastructure needed to convert used coffee grounds into biodiesel and biofuel pellets
- MeshPower - developed mini renewable-powered electricity grids to provide affordable energy in the developing world
- Sentec – its “MicroMonitor” allows homeowners to track and reduce electricity usage on domestic appliances.
Shell International Media Relations +44 (0) 20 7934 5550
Notes to Editors :
* This forecast is modelled against a business as usual baseline of 4% growth (the global average growth rate for the low carbon market), using 2011/2012 as a base year.
Past winners of Shell Springboard include:
- 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 enabling them to work on their first fully-functioning prototype
- Select Innovations (2012) came out as winners 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.
- 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. With several new patents filed, the technology has progressed and Cella hope to begin full scale fielding testing in 2014.
Shell social investment activities are themed around science education, enterprise development and innovation.
- Shell Springboard is fully funded and managed by Shell International Limited. It provides a financial boost to UK based, small to medium sized enterprises with innovative, low-carbon, business ideas. In the 2014 awards, a total of £330,000 was given to 9 companies. In total Shell Springboard has awarded nearly £3 million of funding to 80 innovative low-carbon businesses in the UK over the last 9 years.
- Shell LiveWIRE has been running in the UK since 1982, when it was launched in the Strathclyde region of Scotland to combat the high level of youth unemployment. Since then it has helped thousands of young people in the UK to explore starting their own business and has spread to over 16 countries around the world. Shell LiveWIRE offers an independent and free online service and awards programme for young entrepreneurs.
- Shell Education Service provides a series of unique, interactive science workshops to primary school children. Workshops are designed to support the National Curriculum in primary schools, benefitting both the pupils and teachers. The Shell Education Service also organises science days for local communities and trainee teachers, building their confidence and skills in teaching science. Shell Social Investment has run this programme for over 50 years.
To find out more about Shell Social Investment, please visit: www.twitter.com/shell_society
About the Carbon Trust
The Carbon Trust is an independent company with a mission to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. The Carbon Trust:
- advises businesses, governments and the public sector on opportunities in a sustainable, low-carbon world.
- measures and certifies the environmental footprint of organisations, products and services.
- helps develop and deploy low-carbon technologies and solutions, from energy efficiency to renewable power.