Josh Burton, an energy innovator from the UK, has won the top award in the Energy Solutions category of the 2018 Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Awards, the global competition, in partnership with Shell Retail, which highlights and rewards entrepreneurs that demonstrate excellence in innovation.

Josh’s company, Metronome Energy, which targets the agricultural sector, provides low-cost demand-side response technology which balances demands on the national energy grid during peak times.

Josh received his US $20k prize following an intense business pitch competition in Kuching, Malaysia, during Global Entrepreneurship Week, in which he beat off stiff competition from two other start-ups in the Energy Solutions category from France and Nigeria.

The Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Awards also presented top prizes to entrepreneurs who have developed outstanding innovations in Retail Supply Chain and Social Enterprises categories, with the winner in each category collecting US $20k and two Runners-Up receiving funding of US $10k. All nine winners also receive an awards package including: mentoring support by a Shell expert; the opportunity to benefit from market linkages; and, the possibility to be considered as a vendor to Shell’s Retail business.

The nine entrepreneurs, from six countries spanning four continents, were judged by an international panel of business leaders chaired by Joerg Wienke, VP Global Retail Marketing at Shell, who said, “It’s been incredibly inspiring to see passionate entrepreneurs from around the world share innovative business ideas designed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.”

Metronome Energy has found a unique opportunity to become the energy company of agriculture by optimising power assets on farms for the growing balancing services market, providing on-site energy management services to reduce farm energy bills by 20%, and ultimately to become the supplier of on-farm low-carbon power.

Metronomes are smart boxes that attach to a power asset, such as a motor, and measure grid frequency and voltage, and use these inputs to decide the amount of power to draw from an energy generating or energy consuming asset. The data Metronome collects enables industrial refrigeration and cold storage facilities to be safely switched off during times of peak electricity demand, reducing strain on the national grid.

Delighted at receiving his Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Award, Josh Burton said, “I couldn’t believe it when I realised we’d won. This $20k and the accompanying support will help us to scale up the business. This means we can help hundreds more farmers to develop new income streams that benefits not just them, but also the grid and all other energy users.

“What we take from this is not just the valuable additional funding, but the endorsement from a global energy giant and proof that we are on the right track with the technology we are creating to help agriculture manage its energy. It’s great to have the support of Shell helping Metronome build a cleaner, greener future.”

The two Runners-Up, each receiving US $10k, are HySiLabs from France which has developed an innovative solution to facilitate hydrogen transportation, by charging and releasing hydrogen in a unique liquid carrier, and Alternate Energy Ltd from Nigeria which provides solar and wind powered community solutions, including for water treatment and off-grid solar farms.

Commenting on the potential of Metronome’s technology, Josh said, “We believe that a low-cost scalable balancing technology with a complementary software suite may be the keystone to unlocking renewable power globally.

“As traditional sources of energy supply are replaced by new ones, and demand becomes more dynamic, the energy system will become more complex to manage. Responsive balancing products and services will be essential to deliver this flexibility.”