Energy storage innovator wins UK’s Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Sep 03, 2017
Carlton Cummins of Aceleron has scooped £30,000 (US $37,000) in equity-free funding to help develop his technology, which aims to tackle battery waste by transforming end-of-life batteries into energy storage solutions.
Having already won £5,000 (US $6,100) through Shell LiveWIRE’s Smarter Future Programme, Carlton has now secured a total of £35,000 (US $43,200) from Shell LiveWIRE to take his business to the next level.
The funding will help Aceleron to develop its technology, which aims to tackle battery waste by transforming end-of-life lithium-ion batteries into affordable energy storage solutions. The UK lacks facilities to waste manage lithium-ion batteries – instead batteries are exported at cost for recycling. To combat this problem, Aceleron has developed a process to identify used batteries for re-use and then package them into energy storage modules for other applications. They have designed hardware for the process that they say is ‘sustainable, scaleable’. The modules are integrated with remote monitoring to ensure safety. To date, more than 1,000 batteries have been processed using Aceleron’s technology.
Commenting on his latest Shell LiveWIRE award, Carlton said, “I’m stunned and surprised at this amazing achievement. When I entered Shell LiveWIRE, I never thought I’d get this far. It’s a fantastic endorsement for our business, and I’m personally very proud to be named Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
“The financial support and feedback we’ve received is going to make a huge difference to taking our battery waste technology to the next level.”
Commenting on the standard of this year’s Shell LiveWIRE finalists, Jane Pritchard, Enterprise and Culture Director at Business in the Community, and Chair of the Shell LiveWIRE judging panel, said, “You can’t help but be inspired by the young entrepreneurs who entered the Shell LiveWIRE programme. The ambition, creativity and intelligence on display is remarkable, and Carlton Cummins’ business Aceleron is a fantastic example of that.”
The Shell Enterprise Development Awards brought together the national finalists from both Shell LiveWIRE and the Shell Springboard programmes. Shell Springboard helps SMEs with commercially-proven business models that reduce carbon emissions to take their businesses to the next level. Upside Energy was named the Shell Springboard National Winner and received an award of £150,000 (US $186,000) to support the scale-up and commercialisation of its technology. The company has developed a cloud-based energy aggregation service that creates a Virtual Energy Store that can be sold to the grid to help balance supply and demand. It also helps reduce the need to turn on the older, most polluting and expensive power stations during times of peak demand. Upside Energy was chosen from six national finalists, out of a total of 131 applicants to the Shell Springboard programme.
With a total of £440,000 (US $545,000) in funding available in 2017, The Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard programmes are designed to support UK entrepreneurs in starting-up and scaling-up innovative businesses that have the potential to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.
SMEs account for over 90% of the UK’s low-carbon sector, yet less than half of UK SMEs survive beyond their first five years. Encouragingly, the survival rates for Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE winners outperforms the national average, with over 70% of winners surviving beyond five years.
In addition to financial awards, both programmes provide marketing support and networking opportunities with some of the key players in the low-carbon and sustainability sectors through annual awards ceremonies, coaching sessions and exhibitions.
Commenting after the event, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, Sinead Lynch, Country Chair, Shell UK, said, “Congratulations to our Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE 2017 winners. Upside Energy and Aceleron are excellent examples of the innovation, creativity and hard work that is driving entrepreneurial growth in the UK today.
“SMEs are an important force within the low-carbon economy. We know accessing finance is a key barrier to growth, and our programmes aim to provide a vital foothold in the funding ladder. In addition, through our wider business support activities, such as coaching events, networking and publicity, we aim to help these inspirational entrepreneurs build successful businesses.”
The judges of the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, comprising leading experts in the sustainability and enterprise sectors, were: Jane Pritchard, Enterprise and Culture Director, Business in the Community; Tom Robinson, Founder of Adaptavate and winner of the 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award; Sabrina Kiefer, Venture Coach, Imperial Enterprise Lab; James Byrne, Venture Director, Sustainable Ventures; and, David Bunch, Global VP, Shell Retail Marketing & Chairman, Shell Brands International.
In addition to Aceleron, the other five Shell LiveWIRE UK finalists were:
Alex Bond, Fresh Check: a PhD student who has created a technology that detects levels of bacterial contamination in food through the use of a bio-reactive sticker.
Charlotte Slingsby, Moya Power: has created a new type of flexible sheet which harvests light winds to generate electricity.
Elena Dieckmann, AEROPOWDER: uses excess feathers from the poultry industry to create insulation materials for homes.
Fergus Moore, Revive Eco: transforms coffee waste into fertilisers and biomass pellets.
Terence Chung, FRUU: converts fruit by-products into a range of organic cosmetics.
Now in its 12th year, Shell Springboard has awarded £3.85 million (US $4.77 million) to 98 low-carbon enterprises, creating over 60 new jobs with a combined annual turnover of almost £5.6 million (US $6.9 million).