2011 Technology and Innovation Award Winners Revealed

The Engineer is pleased to announce the winners of the Technology and Innovation awards for 2011.

Held at the Royal Society and hosted by Liz Bonnin, the awards celebrate collaborative engineering projects that have, or are likely to have, a significant impact on the sectors they are active in.

Jon Excell, editor of The Engineer said: ’With a record number of entries across all of our categories this year’s Technology and Innovation awards was an inspiring reminder of the diverse range of engineering skills and expertise present in the UK.

This year’s Aerospace Award went to the FLAVIIR (Flapless Air Vehicle Integrated Industrial Research) Project.

Headed by BAE Systems and Cranfield University and bringing together nine other universities, the team has developed Demon, a diamond-shaped UAV which became the world’s first flying flapless aircraft earlier this year.

Demon achieved this using a system known as fluidic control to change the direction of the engine’s thrust and to deflect the airflow over the wings.

Along with Cranfield, engineering departments from the universities of Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Southampton, Warwick and York, Imperial College London and the University of Wales in Swansea are involved in the effort to design an aircraft controlled without flaps that matches the performance of a conventional aircraft of the same power.

Loughborough University, Geotechnical Observations and British Geological Survey are winners of this year’s Civil Engineering Award for SLOPE Alarms, an early warning system to warn of landslides.

The Slope Acoustic Landslide Real-time Monitoring System (ALARMS) is a sensor based technology that can be embedded in the soil and is able to detect the high frequency acoustic emissions generated by deforming materials.

The system is able to compare the frequency of this high-frequency noise with a set of trigger values, and generates an alarm if they are exceeded.

The winner of this year’s Medical & Healthcare Award has gone to Tal Golesworthy whose device could be used to treat the one in 5,000 people with Marfan syndrome, a genetic genetic disorder of the body’s connective tissue.

Extraordinarily, Golesworthy suffers from the condition himself and in 2004 became the first person fitted with the External Aortic Root Support (EARS) implant.

A trained process engineer, Golesworthy worked used MRI scans, CAD and rapid prototyping technology to design and manufacture the textile external support that can be fitted around the aorta.

He has since formed Exstent to commercialise the technology and a further 23 patients have successfully had the implant fitted.

According to the Ministry of Defence 1,824 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK Field Hospitals and categorised as Wounded in Action in Afghanistan between January 1 2006 to November 15 2011.

The chance of survival for an injured soldier increases dramatically if they receive oxygen, but it is neither safe nor practical to carry heavy, pressurised cylinders onto the battlefield.

Technical consultancy Cambridge Design Partnership, working with the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), has won the Defence Award for Frontline Oxygen, a solution that provides frontline medics with oxygen to dramatically improve survival rates.

The product, which has completed the prototype stage, uses a micro-diesel engine instead of a heavy battery to provide the 100W needed to power an oxygen concentrator.

Turning the naturally occurring clay vermiculite into a product that can be used in fireproofing, insulation and in horticulture is an energy intensive process.

It is usually carried out in gas- or oil-fired furnaces that consume around 1MW/hr of energy per tonne of vermiculite.

The winners of the Manufacturing and Process Innovation Award claim their Prowave Vermiculite Processing System reduces energy consumption by 90 per cent and cuts the carbon footprint of the process by 85 per cent.

Congratulations go to e2v Technologies, National Centre for Industrial Microwave Processing at Nottingham University, and The Vermiculite Association.

This year’s Marine Award has gone to EM Renewables, whose Snapper device aims to bypass the high capital costs of current tidal energy solutions.

EM Renewables describe Snapper as a new magnet based wave conversion power system appropriate for deployment in near and off-shore environments.

The device works like a typical linear generator in which a set of magnets mounted in a translator is moved up and down inside multiple coils of wire of an armature.

In use it uses a spring and a magnetic coupling in the force transmission path; as the applied force increases, the spring stretches and stores energy. When the force exceeds a certain threshold the magnetic coupling can no longer transmit the force and it snaps allowing the energy stored in the spring to be released quickly.

HD, On Demand services and the ability to pause TV shows demonstrate how consumers are increasingly being given control of how they use TV.

Salford University is helping to take the viewing experience further in the multinational FascinatE project, which has won the Consumer Award.

Designed for live events, FascinatE allows viewers to interactively view and navigate around an ultra-high resolution video panorama showing a live event, with the accompanying audio automatically changing to match the selected view.

Project partners include Technicolor, Fraunhoffer HHI, and Arri from Germany; Alcatel-Lucent in Belgium, TNO in Holland, Sweden’s Interactive Institute, the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, and BBC R&D.

Nine vehicles from manufacturers including Nissan, Tata and Mitsubishi are currently eligible for Plug-in Car Grants.

However, the uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles, particularly electric vehicles and their impact on energy resources and customer expectations are relatively unknown.

For this reason The Engineer is pleased to reveal the Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrator (CABLED) consortium as winners of the Automotive Award.

Running since 2009, CABLED represents the UK’s largest trial of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles.

The initiative is the first of its kind to place electric vehicles (EVs) in the hands of real users for an extended period of time and collect quantitative and qualitative usage data.  During the trial 110 low carbon vehicles are being used as everyday cars for 12 months.

Scheduled to finish in June 2012 the consortium is made up of

Arup, E.ON, Birmingham City Council, Coventry City Council, Aston University, Coventry University, University of Birmingham, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, Mitsubishi Motors UK, Mercedes Benz UK, Coventry University Enterprises Ltd.

Finally, the winner of this year’s Energy Award is also the recipient of Grand Prix Prize.

Traditional energy storage solutions have significant challenges: pumped hydro and compressed air are constrained by geography or geology, while batteries cannot yet be scaled up sufficiently and degrade over time, as well as often relying on expensive materials.

However, Highview Power Storage’s scalable system can be built anywhere and relies on a commonly available substance.

Working with University of Leeds, they designed and lab-tested a novel cryogenic energy storage system that used liquefied air or nitrogen as the storage medium. The technology can also simultaneously convert low-grade waste heat to electricity at high levels of efficiency.

A pilot facility near Slough has been providing electricity to the National Grid since April last year by evaporating liquid nitrogen stored at -200ºC to drive turbine generators.

Partners on the project include Scottish & Southern Energy and BOC/Linde.