Each of the six finalists has already won a £5,000 (US $7,100) Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award which rewards innovative entrepreneurs whose businesses are helping to meet the energy and resource needs of a growing population.
The final six provide an array of smart solutions, ranging from a new energy company that enables industrial refrigeration and storage facilities to be safely switched off, reducing demand on the National Grid during peak periods, to innovative hydroponics solutions that use ten times less water and land than traditional agricultural systems.
The six finalists are:
Josh Burton – ‘Metronome Energy’
Metronome Energy is a demand-side response technology company that aims to provide flexibility to the National Grid, district network operators and energy companies, by helping to reduce energy demand and fluctuating prices during peak energy usage. Targeted primarily at the farming industry, the data Metronome collects enables industrial refrigeration and storage facilities the ability to be safely switched off during times of peak electricity demand, reducing strain on the energy supply.
Adam Dixon – ‘Phytoponics’
Phytoponics develops commercial horticulture growing systems based around patent-pending inventions of a flexible hydroponic system. Phytoponics’ system grows vine crops such as tomatoes and peppers, and is composed of flexible growing modules with integrated features for growth control, irrigation and nutrient application. Hydroponics .uses more than ten times less land and water than traditional agriculture, freeing up fresh water usage for human consumption or environmental sustainability, and enabling land to be used for sustainable development or reforestation.
Henrik Hagemann – ‘CustoMem’
CustoMem uses nature’s capacity to make biomaterials to improve sustainability in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Contamination of water supplies by industrial micropollutants such as metal ions, pesticides and pharmaceuticals is a major contributor to water pollution. These micropollutants are persistent in the environment and dangerous to human health. CustoMem makes products to tackle this problem using a biological production toolkit. Its granular water filtration products capture micropollutants from industrial wastewater that are challenging to remove with current technology. The business can then safely dispose of , or recycle captured micropollutants into high-value products, enabling the circular economy in the wastewater treatment sector.
Douglas Martin – ‘MiAlgae’
MiAlgae is a novel microalgae production company that aims to revolutionise the £340bn (US $483bn) global livestock feed industry by producing microalgal products through the remediation of wastewater. The microalgal products will be used as nutrient substitutes for fishmeal in livestock feeds. By integrating nutrient recycling into the production process, MiAlgae is able to reduce the production costs of a product that has significant value, while reducing the pressure on fish stocks and reducing nutrient pollution of fresh water systems. The business’ products will significantly reduce the environmental impact of this industry, while simultaneously cleaning up Scotland’s fresh water.
Karina Sudenyte – ‘Wonky Drinks’
At least one third of produce grown globally is thrown away due to its size or shape. Wonky Drinks is a social enterprise that aims to tackle food waste, reduce packaging waste and help orchards that can’t shift ‘wonky’ produce. The business squeezes juice from ‘wonky’ produce, and is on a mission to create the most sustainable juice brand in Europe. Wonky Drinks do not contain any GMOs or additives such as sugar, powders or oils. Intended for the catering market, Wonky Drinks are packaged in five litre boxes together with a branded smoothie tumbler. It replaces between 15 and 25 plastic bottles, and reduces packaging waste by 70%.
Hugo Tilmouth – ‘ChargedUp’
ChargedUp is an external phone battery rental service powered by green energy. ChargedUp works in a similar fashion to London’s Boris Bike network, in that users can take a charger from one station and return it to any other station in the network. Estimates suggest that 17.4 GWh is used to power mobile phones in London each year, which is the equivalent of providing energy to over 750 households. The ChargedUp system will provide clean, renewable energy to its customers by offsetting their energy through a green supplier.
Who do you think will win? To find out if you’re right, check out Let's Go...Share on 15 May.