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    NAA Member News: Oaktec crowned champion in search for UK’s most promising low carbon business idea

    Lancaster-based business Oaktec has been crowned national winner of the 2014 Shell Springboard programme. Paul Andrews has 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, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for 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.

    Photo caption: L to R (bottom): David Moss (General Manager Retail, North Europe at Shell), Paul Andrews (Oaktec), Baroness Verma (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DECC; L to R (top): Simon Hindle and Dr Paul Wilkinson (Oaktec)


    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham