May 21, 2012

Underwater Turbine Wins Australian Engineering Award

3 min
  Elemental Energy Technologies Ltd has taken out the top honour in the annu...


Elemental Energy Technologies Ltd has taken out the top honour in the annual Engineering Excellence Awards sponsored by the Newcastle Division of Engineers Australia.

In a field of 16 finalists, which included BHP Billiton's $100M plus remediation of the Hunter River and the $1 billion plus Ballina By-Pass project, the SeaUrchin™ secured the Overall Winner GHD Award for Engineering Excellence, the UGL Award for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering and an excellence award.

Other projects assessed by the judging panel included the design of the $120 million Mardi to Mangrove Water Transfer Link, establishment of infrastructure for Xstrata Coal's $1 billion Mangoola Coal Mine in the Hunter Valley and Ampcontrol's design and construction of a road-transportable mobile 132kV substation for use during scheduled network repairs and in case of emergency outages.

EET's Research director and inventor, Michael Urch, said "The success of The SeaUrchin Marine Power Generator can be attributed to contributions by e3K, ATSA and RPC Technologies and Prysmian Cables in Australia, as well as KITL in India. This diverse engineering team joined forces to bring to market a new technology that will assist in the challenge to provide renewable, predictable or baseload energy for the global market."

The SeaUrchin is a revolutionary technology designed to economically capture the vast kinetic energy of the world’s ocean streams, tidal currents and river flows. The SeaUrchin operates in an extensive range of flow rates making it deployable in the largest range of ocean and river locations around the world.


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The SeaUrchin turbine is uniquely adaptable to a number of different generator configurations, with or without a gearbox and, with as few as one moving part, depending upon local conditions or a customer's particular requirements. It harnesses up to four times more power and is up to 70 percent more efficient than the commonly used conventional propeller-based marine turbines.

The SeaUrchin can be mass produced at significantly lower cost than competing products resulting in a lower cost per megawatt-hour of predictable power.

“The commercial viability of the SeaUrchin enables it to rapidly meet the large and growing market for renewable energy technologies,” said the Engineers Australia judges.

Based on original research conducted by Michael Urch and e3k over the last six years, SeaUrchin prototypes have been designed, manufactured and tested by a consortium of engineering organisations based in Newcastle Brisbane and Sydney in Australia and Pune, India.

The Judges went on to say, “the SeaUrchin was a very clever solution requiring excellent collaboration between the inventor, research, design and development team. Its combination of simplicity and sustainability, in conjunction with the increasing demand for reliable renewable energy, will ensure its commercial success".


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May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

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