Four innovative companies have made the final shortlist for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award 2000. Their products cover sound, diesel pollution, solar power and radar.
Huntingdon-based NXT has been nominated for developing the first flat-panel speaker. It can be made from materials ranging from cardboard to carbon composites, and can be hung on the wall like pictures, or integrated into the doors of a car.
Diesel cars may now have a way of reducing emissions of minute carbon particles, which are known to cause asthma and other lung diseases. Johnson Matthey Catalytic Systems Division has been nominated for its continuously regenerating trap that traps the particles.
A non-polluting renewable energy source, solar power, has come another step closer to mainstream use thanks to the Thermomax water heating system. It uses a completely different technology from conventional solar panels: a series of long glass tubes, each containing a very slim copper pipe, attached to a ribbon of photovoltaic material. Because the ribbon collects both direct and indirect solar radiation the panel can operate in cloudy conditions.
BAE Systems Sensor Systems Division has been nominated for its ECR-90 Radar. The company solved a problem experienced by many airborne radar systems in which the radar signal from the ground obscures that of any airborne targets.
The MacRobert Award, the UK’s most prestigious engineering award, is given annually for `outstanding innovation of benefit to the community’. The winner, to be announced in November, will receive a gold medal and a £50,000 prize.
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