A pre-fab, portable solar power solution; peak energy load predicting software; and inverter/charger grid balancing technology for network operators. These are just three of a range of home-grown, new clean technologies to make the shortlist for this year’s Australian Technologies Competition (ATC), announced on Monday.
The ATC15, now in its fifth year, aims to help mentor and develop Australia’s best start-up companies that are focused on improving industry efficiency, resource use and competitiveness – and to help them commercialise their technology.
As predicted, this year’s semi-finalists – 30 of them, selected from 128 entries – reflect an increasing focus on grid- and home-based energy management systems, as well as data analysis, to help networks to manage the growing amount of renewable energy being added to Australian rooftops and to the National Electricity Market.
One such example is Metro Power’s E2M product – a smart grid analytics platform for large grid network operators that predicts future rolling peak electricity loads across a grid, 96 hours ahead of time.
According to the ATC, this year’s 128 entries have already jointly spent $225 million on developing their technologies and have 440 employees.
As well as financial backing, the contest’s winners gain access to highly subsidised design software through the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program, as well as mentorship.
Winning entrants from past years have included the lighting and energy efficiency technology from BluGlass Limited, and solar and wind technology from Raygen Resources. These two Australian companies, along with two others, also went on to be named in the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA) 2014 Later Stage Awards Global Top 30.
This year’s Semi Finalists includes NSW-based 5B Australia, for its prefabricated, portable, modular solar PV power system for use where energy needs are changeable, short-term or over multiple sites; Queensland’s Renewable Energy Solutions Australia (RESA) for its VoltLogic inverter/charger technology that can be used for power factor correction and phase balancing in grid networks, where renewables capacity is being added; and a retrofittable hybrid heating, ventilating, and air conditioning unit that delivers an average a 30-40 per cent energy reduction on costs compared to conventional HVAC units, from Victorian company Independent Products.
There is also “CloudCAM”, by NSW company Fulcrum3D – an advanced, ground-based sky imaging system that identifies, categorizes, tracks
and predictscloud movement and shadow for solar power stations; and a product that reduces network, customer and generation peaks to
provide energy optimisation and demand management, by Victoria-based company, GreenSync.
“The quality of entries has again taken a step up”, said competition organiser John O’Brien in a statement on Monday.
“We are thrilled to see so many amazing companies with their eyes firmly set on global markets. We receive incredible feedback on the value of this program and it is always a privilege to work with so many talented entrepreneurs.”
O’Brien, who earlier this year outlined 14 “wild predictions” for Australian cleantech in 2015, said Australia had some world leading technology companies that needed support to be able to reach their full potential. Without this support, he said, these companies may fail or relocate their activities to more supportive jurisdictions.
“A government that sets itself against encouraging companies that develop these efficiency solutions is confining the country to be an importer only,” he said.