Verco

Energy and sustainability advisory services

Shell Springboard competition

Area of expertise: Clean energy technology development

Springboard aims to give a financial boost to UK SMEs with innovative, carbon saving business ideas, providing awards of £40,000 to up to nine companies each year. Since the original pilot project in 2005, the programme has attracted over 1,000 applications from small business owners throughout the UK, with some great ideas to combat climate change, and has awarded a total of £2 million to over 50 businesses.

Our role has been to manage the on-line application process, including operating the Springboard website, and to assess all submitted applications each year in order to draw up a shortlist of finalists for each of three regional judging events. We also attends each regional judging event, as well as the overall UK final, providing technical and commercial advice on each application to the judging panels.The idea behind the programme is that the business response to climate change should not be all about regulatory compliance and cost.

There is a huge business opportunity if society is to adapt to a carbon-constrained world. Examples of winning Springboard ideas include:

  • Shiply.com: Just as eBay is an online marketplace for buying and selling goods, Shiply is an online marketplace for transporting goods. When transport accounts for approximately a quarter all carbon dioxide emissions in the UK, its hard to ignore that 25% of lorries run completely empty of cargo and over 50% run only part-full. Shiply.com matches people needing to move goods with transport companies going there anyway. By enabling consumers and businesses to make use of this spare capacity, Shiply.com dramatically cuts down on CO2 emissions, increases the profitability of transport companies and saves the consumer up to 75% on freight costs.
  • Aeristech: The main role of a turbocharger is to allow a smaller, more efficient car engine to do the job of a larger one by boosting its power with energy recovered from exhaust gas pressure. However, the fact that standard, mechanical turbochargers cannot store energy means that they are always one step behind, leading to ‘turbo lag’: the delay before the additional power is available. Aeristech’s hybrid turbocharger, by contrast, allows exhaust gas to drive a turbo-alternator, creating electrical energy that is stored in a low-cost capacitor, which is then available immediately on demand to power an electrically-driven supercharger. This eliminates turbo lag whilst enabling a greater overall vehicle efficiency.
  • 2D Heat: This company has developed a novel, flat-format electric heating element design capable of more effective heat transfer compared to the conventional, coiled wire heating elements used in electric stoves, immersion heaters, kettles, washing machines and other domestic appliances as well as in many industrial and commercial applications. Apart from reduced running costs through greater energy efficiency, the 2D Heat elements allow a lower operating temperature for the same heating performance (leading to enhanced user safety), and require less space within the appliance (leading to greater usable volume, in the case of an oven, for example). The energy saved by the 2D Heat technology will also lead to a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions: in the case of an electric oven, for instance, this could be a 40%-50% carbon emissions reduction compared to a conventional electric oven using coiled wire elements.

Further information on the Shell Springboard competition may be found on its website: www.shellspringboard.org

Matched categories: Misc | Innovation

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