Clean-tech firm Wavebob wins SmartBay Innovator of the Year

3 Jul 2012

Patrick Hartigan and Andrew Parish of Wavebob, hold onto the company's wave energy convertor with Mike Devane of SmartBay Ireland. Photo by Andrew Downes

Ocean wave power company Wavebob has today been recognised as one of Ireland’s leading engineering and research companies after it won the SmartBay Innovator of the Year award during the SmartOcean Innovation Exchange event at the Volvo Global Business Village in Galway City.

Wavebob, which is based in Co Kildare, surpassed 21 other finalists to scoop the top award in recognition for how it has approached innovation, engineering and leadership in the emerging wave-energy market.

Four additional companies have also been recognised for their contributions to innovation and research by leading multinationals.

IBM presented an award to SonarSim, while Intel presented an award to Episensor. Veolia presented an award to Techworks Marine and Microsoft presented an award to IDS Monitoring. Each of these companies are members of the SmartOcean innovation cluster.

Wavebob has pioneered a wave-energy converter, which harnesses ocean power to produce clean, low-cost electricity. Right now, it is considered to be one of the world’s leading wave-energy technologies. At full scale, the device will be able to produce in excess of 1 megawatt of energy with a 100-unit wave farm providing power for more than 30,000 homes.

Back in 2010, it was announced that Wavebob was to receive more than US$2.8m (€1.8m) from the US Department of Energy, as part of a contract to develop its eponymous wave-energy converter (WEC) for 2013.

“We are delighted to receive this award. It is great recognition from a cluster of companies all working together in the pursuit of commercial opportunities in the marine sector. We have benefited from being part of the SmartOcean innovation cluster through access to world class skill sets and technology which co-exist in the SME and multinational companies in the cluster,” said Andrew Parish, CEO of Wavebob.

The awards were announced following the Inaugural SmartOcean Innovation Exchange, as part of the SmartOcean Conference.

Sponsored by SmartBay Ireland, the event was hosted at the Ocean Wealth Pavilion of the Volvo Global Business Village.

The Innovation Exchange event was designed to support companies to profile their new technologies that address market opportunities in the global marine sector.

In total, 22 SMEs have been recognised by SmartBay Ireland and received the SmartBay Innovator award. A number of international companies also participated in the programme to reinforce the links between the SmartOcean cluster and related clusters in Europe and Canada.

Mike Devane, chairman of SmartBay Ireland, said the event demonstrated how collaboration within a cluster can help smaller companies gain access to technology and markets through the support of multinationals.

“We are delighted to be involved in this event supporting small and medium business to develop innovative solutions for the marine sectors,” added Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic