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