Three innovative, low-carbon startups have won at the Shell Springboard semi-finals in Aberdeen, each receiving an award of £40,000 to help scale their business.
REOptimize Solutions, Farm-Hand Ltd, and Blow Moulding Technologies will join the winners of the Manchester semi-final at the national final, taking place in London in July, where one overall winner will be able to ‘top up’ their prize to £150,000.
The Shell Springboard programme which focuses on supporting cutting edge, innovative startups which can play a part in the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
REOptimize Solutions has developed a way to improve the operational efficiency of wind and hydro turbines with its Autonomous Continuous Turbine Optimisation System (ACTOS), a software platform that applies machine learning techniques with accurate system models to adjust the turbine control settings.
Farm-Hand has developed a new method of crop irrigation, with pump control that reduces over-irrigation (70% reduction in energy) and improves crop yield (30% increase in yield) with a two-year payback that has been developed with the farmers and can be delivered, by aggregators, through the existing farm infrastructure.
Based on 20 years’ worth of research at Queen’s University Belfast, Blow Moulding Technologies has developed simulation software that aims to optimise the design of blown bottles made from bioplastics. As most existing companies in this space use a trial and error approach, Blow Moulding’s software should help to accelerate the adoption of more sustainable packaging by providing the first validated bio-plastic software solution which is easy to use and accessible to all via software licence.
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The judging panel – comprised of Prof Gary McEwan, CEO at Elevator UK, Seamus McCabe, vice president at Green Investment Group, Morag McCorkindale, team leader at Aberdeen City Council and Prof Susan Roaf of Heriot-Watt University – looked at three key criteria in making their decision: the carbon saving potential of the business, its commercial viability and scale of innovation.
Gareth Thistleton, Shell’s head of UK social investment, said: “Shifting the UK to a low-carbon economy presents an enormous challenge, one that is much bigger than any single company or solution. This is why, alongside the steps we are taking within our own business, Shell is committed to supporting low-carbon entrepreneurs at every stage of their journeys.
“This year’s cohort of finalists are all hugely exciting prospects with the potential to drive the UK’s low carbon transition – and we are delighted to be part of their growth journeys.”
Founded in 2005, Shell Springboard has provided more than £4.3m of no-strings-attached funding to over 100 startups, supporting the creation of 350-plus new jobs. Every year, the programme awards six regional winners £40,000 each of equity-free funding to help grow their low-carbon businesses while the national winner receives an additional £110,000.
This year’s competition saw more than 100 entrants offering technology solutions for a huge array of areas such as renewable energy systems, sustainable agriculture, green buildings, and electric vehicles among many others.