Two New Zealand companies are among the winners of GE’s first Australasian ecomagination challenge, receiving $100,000 each.
Outpost Central – a winner at last year's NZ Innovators Awards – and Auckland's Hydroxsys represented New Zealand at an awards event last night in Sydney.
They'll also have the chance to explore partnership opportunities with GE and GE customers, as well as potentially leveraging GE‘s technical infrastructure to boost their own development.
The five winners:
Outpost Central: James Riddell and Jedd Forbes have developed smart water meters that can help water utilities, mining and farming organisations achieve 20 percent savings in water usage within the first year. Meters collects data every five minutes and sends it for analysis through the cloud. Users are alerted of any irregularities.
The company was started in 2002 and has grown to a team of 15. It works with customers in Australia, Africa and Europe in industries from mining to farming.
Says Riddell: “My long-term goal is to have our device on every household water meter worldwide. To provide customers with the information they need to direct planning and infrastructure investments by having a better understanding of how residents use water."
Hydroxsys: Membrane technology that captures and recycles 90 percent of water and around 85-90 percent of energy from industrial processes to be fed back into the manufacturing process.
Daryl Briggs, an engineer with a background in dairying, started developing the technology out of his back shed in Auckland in 2010. His vision was to create a technology that could help solve water problems around the world and give traditionally dirty industries the technology they need to clean up their operations.
The technology is also relevant for traditionally water-heavy industries like mining, bauxite and oil and gas.
The company is working with two New Zealand universities and industry partners in mining and dairy to validate the technology.
Bombora Wave Power: Renewable energy generation technology. Each Bombora device could supply electricity for up to 500 homes.
After a career as a technical and commercial energy specialist in the mining industry, Glen Ryan saw an opportunity to take advantage of Australia’s largely untapped wave resource.
Working in partnership with his brother Shawn, he set out to develop a wave-based technology that was economically competitive with on-shore wind power generation, currently the lowest cost renewable energy source. The key was to create a cost effective device that was strong enough to withstand the storms often encountered by wave generators.
Bombora’s devices are placed at depths of just five to 10 metres, taking advantage of near shore wave power rather than deep water waves. This allows for greater reliability and uses the surge and heave motions of the waves to generate power. The technology also allows for direct conversion to electricity within the device and only requires a simple power cable back to shore.
Engineair: A carbon-free alternative to internal-combustion and electric motors. The rotary air engine, powered by compressed air, has up to 94 percent efficiency and zero polluting emissions.
Melbourne engineer Angelo Di Pietro closed his business to pursue his lifelong passion to develop a technology that he believes will eliminate unnecessary waste, inefficiency and excessive pollution in vehicle propulsion. This was based on an idea he had 30 years earlier when he was working on the Wankel engine in Germany.
"Compressed air-powered vehicles are not just environmentally friendly, they are cheap to build and could benefit cities and industries across the world. Our technology is many times lighter and smaller than a conventional engine, but capable of similar performance.”
It is already fitted to a number of motor vehicles. The electricity used to compress the air can come from renewable sources such as hydro, wind and solar.
“We can run a forklift on compressed air continuously for two hours, with a two minute refill time. This shapes up really well when compared to an electric forklift that will run for four hours but takes hours to recharge. We’ve also seen strong performance from vehicles including a burden carrier, a utility truck, motorcycles, and a car.”
Greensync: An advanced software tool that enables electricity network planners to find alternatives to capital infrastructure projects.
Greensync was started out of a garage to address challenges to the electricity grid from the instability of wind and solar penetration. Phil Blythe, a research scientist and an engineer by training, worked hard over a number of years to develop the software and analytics. It applies specialised big data analytics to the task of managing peak energy demand.
“By monitoring for residual loads, and curtailing loads at peak times, we typically demonstrate a three percent reduction in overall energy consumption, and around 10 percent reduction in energy costs. Overall, our contribution to greenhouse gas reduction through supporting the transition to renewable energy as well as direct emission reductions is forecast to be 88,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next five years.”