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Scotland's 'Meet the Energy Experts’ conference piques the interest of inventors and investors alike

Special event brought together more than 100 professionals looking to develop renewable energy or related technologies.

The future of energy, research and innovation came under the spotlight when more than 30 SMEs from across the UK and Ireland presented their technology to experts from the Energy Academy at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, recently.

A slew of companies, including Royal Haskoning DHV, Logan Energy UK, Beran Instruments, Silver Hydro Ltd and the Orion Group, were among those that attended the ‘Meet the Experts’ session earlier this week to build partnerships and to bid for funding from government and new European H2020 initiatives.

Among the highlights:

  • Dr Gareth Davies, director of Orkney-based renewables consultancy Aquatera, outlined the opportunities for R&D in the islands, where the energy sector employs 500 people – 80 per cent of them in renewable. He described Orkney as a "living laboratory" where renewable energy companies could develop technologies in wind, wave and tidal energy and also assess their environmental impact under real-world conditions.
  • Heriot-Watt already has a presence in Orkney through the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT). The centre’s director, Dr Sandy Kerr, also urged SMEs to take advantage of the northern islands, drawing attention to the increasing global impact of ICIT and how countries such as Japan look to ICIT and the European Marine Energy Centre at Stromness to learn from local experience of developing new technology.
  • Chris Capus, CEO of Heriot-Watt spin-out Hydrason Ltd, described how his company was employing wide-band sonar to help protect sub-sea cables and pipelines. Meanwhile, David Townsend, founder of start-up company Town Rock Energy Ltd, described the potential for geothermal energy extraction in Scotland, where water is used to capture and transport the heat contained in the earth to the surface for conversion to electricity.
  • Dr. Tadhg O’Donovan of Heriot-Watt described his work with industry on the conversion of industrial plant waste-to-energy, on combined heat-solar thermal energy and on the assessment of energy economics of renewable energy development. Drs Valentin Robu and David Jenkins talked about the potential for developers to learn from their work on demand side technologies and smart ICT solutions for the National Grid. 
“The event brought together more than 100 people who were either inventors or from companies looking to develop renewable energy or other technologies as well as carbon capture and storage and who are seeking support to do this,' said Energy Academy director Mercedes Maroto-Valer. "I wasdelighted at the demand for tickets from the energy industry, which demonstrates the calibre of research and technologies being produced. We hope the event helped energy companies access world-leading research and advanced manufacturing processes to form a bridge between industry and funding.”

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This article is featured in:
Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Wave and tidal energy  •  Wind power