SME crowdsourcing is driving innovation says EIC

The Energy Innovation centre’s (EIC) “call for evidence” is successfully driving the formation of innovation partnerships between energy networks operators and SME organisations.

SME crowdsourcing is driving innovation says EIC

The EIC said over the last 12 months that the call has been underway it has engaged with over 150 innovative SMEs to discover new ways for networks to work more safely, efficiently and cost effectively.

EIC managing director Denise Massey said the approach “shines a light” on the unique problems faced by energy networks and has the potential to accelerate the adoption of novel technologies as business as usual.

She added: “Engaging with large organisations, such as the energy networks, can be challenging for SME innovators who very often lack the time and resource to go through lengthy procurement processes.

“Likewise, it can be just as difficult for big companies to know how to connect with the right small businesses”.

“Through this innovation calls process, we have seen the real impact that working together can have on the networks, the SMEs and the energy customer.”

Through the call Northern Gas Networks has partnered with the Industrial Noise and Vibration Centre on a project to reduce noise from streetworks. The resulting acoustic screen has reduced noise levels by 97-99% and has allowed crucial excavation works which had been put on hold to continue within two months of the problem being publicised.

Other examples include SP Energy Networks and SSE Power Distribution who obtained a specialist coating to reduce the maintenance on electricity pylons, and a new technique replacing gas valves that reduces the number of excavations.


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