Tech to ‘Transform’ Electronics Worldwide Carbon Impact

HiMag Solutions Limited last night received the Shell Springboard Award for the best low carbon business idea in the UK. The award was given at a ceremony in central London to recognise the innovation of its planar transformer which could dramatically increase energy efficiency in electrical devices across the world.

The company’s planar transformer, which operates at 99% efficiency compared to 85% for a conventional transformer, is central to generating carbon savings in a wide variety of applications, from aeroplanes through to solar panels and electric cars. Transformers control the voltage and current of the electricity that flows into electrical equipment and is used by consumers and businesses every day. As an invisible but integral component of millions of electrical devices, the Planar Transformer could have a huge impact on our domestic and global carbon footprints.

The Shell Springboard programme has awarded over £1.6 million to 43 UK-based small businesses and this year celebrates its fifth anniversary. Eight companies have been given no-strings awards of £40,000 each at regional events in February. HiMag Solutions impressed the UK final judging panel, and out of the 6 UK finalists came top to gain the further title of Shell Springboard UK winner. The judging panel comprised Tom Delay of the Carbon Trust, Lord Oxburgh, Ben Goldsmith of Wheb Ventures and Dr Douglas Parr, Chief Scientist, Greenpeace.

HiMag Solutions will use the £40,000 prize money to recruit a product engineer and a design engineer, enabling it to take on contracts from high profile manufacturers. The company aims to double its workforce, currently 15 people, by November of this year.

Dean Curran, Director of HiMag Solutions, said:

“The financial boost from the Shell Springboard award will unlock the huge market potential for our energy efficient transformers – a fundamental component of thousands of electrical devices. We can now realise our ambition of providing a technology which tackles energy inefficiency at the very core to manufacturers far and wide. Without this award we wouldn’t be able to grow as fast but, above all, it’s the accolade of being named the Shell Springboard Winner which gives us real credibility in the eyes of our customers and potential investors alike.”

James Smith, Chairman of Shell UK, said:

“Over the last five years, through Shell Springboard we have provided £1.6 million to a broad range of cutting edge low-carbon projects, from turning waste distillery fumes into biodiesel, to recycling dead leaves into fuel. The winners are great examples of low carbon innovation. I wish this year’s winner, HiMag Solutions, and all the finalists every success.” was named runner up for its ‘eBay’ of the freight world, an online marketplace for transporting goods which has saved over 2,985,881kg of CO2 since it launched in June 2008. Transport accounts for approximately a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions in the UK, 25% of lorries run completely empty of cargo and over 50% run only part-full. matches people needing to move goods with transport companies going there anyway. By enabling consumers and businesses to make use of this spare capacity, dramatically cuts down on CO2 emissions, increases the profitability of transport companies and saves the consumer up to 75%.

HiMag Solutions and will both receive consultancy to help develop their businesses further.

The other four finalists who competed last night were:

  • Cryomation for its environmentally friendly alternative to conventional cremation.
  • Aeristech Ltd for its Hybrid Turbocharger which eliminates ‘turbo lag’ and has the potential to save 25% of the energy of a conventional petrol engine.
  • Pulse Tidal Ltd for its innovative tidal power station design which can be used in shallower waters than its competitors thus opening up many new coastal locations.
  • Trendform Ltd for its ‘Eco-Slab’, a polystyrene-based, modern, cost-effective alternative to pre-cast concrete floors that could have a significant positive environmental impact.

2009 award winner, Ma Innovation Ltd, used the award to further the development of their idea to make green, hybrid cars with smaller engines even more fuel efficient and powerful. The Supercharger Air Hybrid uses the energy created from braking to boost the downsized engine, which means a more powerful drive for less carbon emissions. Since receiving their award, Ma Innovation has teamed up with an automotive service provider to concentrate on developing the Supercharger Air Hybrid for urban delivery vans, receiving strong interest from companies in the UK and China.

The award has also allowed 2008 winner Carbon8 Systems Ltd to develop its system of making building materials from ash produced by waste-to-energy plants, a concept which has captured the attention of high profile investors and even the Prime Minister, who invited them to a summit of leading low-carbon businesses in December last year. They have used their £40,000 prize money to pioneer the capture of the carbon dioxide generated from landfill gas within their building materials.

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