Ireland’s OpenHydro and Imperative Energy scoop awards

15 Nov 2011

James Ives, CEO, OpenHydro, and Joe O'Carroll, MD, Imperative Energy, pictured with their awards at the Global Cleantech Cluster Awards held in Dublin on 14 November 2011

Dublin hosted the Global CleanTech Cluster Awards last night, when 30 finalists from all over the world congregated in the capital city to vie to win the 10 later stage awards and catch venture capitalists’ attention.

The two Irish finalists – OpenHydro and Imperative Energy – won in their respective categories, reflecting how Ireland is fast becoming the clean-tech capital of Europe.

Two Finnish companies also scooped awards last night.

An tSlí Ghlas – The Green Way cluster in Ireland, was instrumental in bringing the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA) to Ireland to host a conference yesterday at DCU, ahead of the awards ceremony in the Round Room at the Mansion House.

The 30 finalists were judged by 28 clean-tech venture capitalists, investors and serial entrepreneurs, who between them manage US$3.5bn in clean-tech investment globally.

The Irish winners

Irish tidal-energy firm OpenHydro won in the Other Renewables category. It is fast making waves in global clean-tech circles. One of France’s largest utilities, EDF, has recently collaborated with OpenHydro, deploying its tidal technology to create the world’s largest tidal wind farm off the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat, France. When installed in 2012, it will be the world’s largest tidal array, generating power for the French electricity grid.

OpenHydro (part of An tSlí Ghlas) won ahead of the two other finalists: AWS Ocean Energy from the ecoConnect UK cluster and NovaThermal Energy from the Clean Alliance Mid-Atlanta cluster.

Accepting the award, OpenHydro’s CEO James Ives said the firm has successfully made the transition from R&D into the commercial space, providing its tidal turbines to the marketplace.

Then, the Maynooth, Co Kildare-based Imperative Energy won in the biofuels category, edging ahead of the two other finalists: Chempolis from the Finnish Cleantech Cluster; and Synthezyme from NYC Acre.

Imperative Energy supplies purpose-built biomass plants to provide heat, and power at a client’s site. 

Accepting the award, Joe O’Carroll, MD, Imperative Energy (also part of An tSlí Ghlas), thanked his team members who have helped grow the company. He especially thanked Lucia Harrington and Chris Hughes. Imperative Energy employs 10 people and is hoping to increase this to 50 in the next two years. 

Turnover has grown by 500pc in the past 12 months at Imperative Energy and the company expects similar growth in the current year. A recent contract include a 10MW biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant in the British midlands, which involves a 5km district heating network and ‘private wire’ power supply.

O’Carroll said the company was excited to win the award after years of hard work to get Imperative Energy to where it is now at, ready to speak with investors. he also thanked Imperative Energy’s main partner, Green Belt.

He said he was also grateful to the advice he has received from people such as Enda Keane from the Irish clean-tech start-up TreeMetrics, a company that is set to revolutionise the way foresters map forests globally via technology.

Finally, O’Connell pointed to a partnership that Imperative Energy would soon be announcing with the Irish firm Jones Group.

OpenHydro tidal turbine. EDF is delpoying OpenHydro's tidal turbine technologies for the world's largest tdal windfarm that is being constructed off the coast of France

A tidal turbine from Irish tidal-energy firm OpenHydro. EDF is delpoying OpenHydro’s tidal turbine technologies for the world’s largest tidal wind farm that is being constructed off the coast of France

Global Top 10 Later Stage Award Winners: 2011

Best of Energy Efficiency/Green Buildings: Albeo Technologies
Boulder, CO (cluster: Colorado Cleantech IA)
Albeo Technologies is a manufacturer of white-LED lighting systems for general illumination.  The company has grown 775pc over three years.  Albeo’s deployments include high-bay LED lighting for Apple’s iCloud data centre and Caterpillar’s large engine manufacturing facility. 

Best of New Materials: Beneq
Vantaa, Finland (cluster: Finish Cleantech)
Beneq is a supplier of equipment and coating technology. It develops applications and equipment for clean-tech and renewable energy fields, especially in glass, solar and emerging thin film markets. Coating applications include optics, barriers and passivation layers, as well as energy generation and conservation.

Best of Solar: Solaris Energy Solutions

Chicago, Illinois USA (cluster: Chicago Clean Energy)
Solaris Energy Solutions provides advanced solar technology for water/space heating, ventilation systems and photovoltaic electricity generation. It’s a founding member of the ISEA (Irish Solar Energy Association) and is an associated member of the German Solar Association.

Best of Storage/Smart Grid: PowerGenix
San Diego, California USA (cluster: CleanTECH San Diego)
PowerGenix is a developer of nickel-zinc (NiZn) batteries, which aim to have significant advantages over other advanced batteries in energy and power density, cost, safety, toxicity and recyclability.

Best of Transportation: SAM Group

Zurich, Switzerland, (cluster: swisscleantech)
The Swiss company developed, built and launched the electric vehicle Sam EV II. Over 120 vehicles at a net price of €14,000 have already been sold in several European countries.

Best of Waste: Newalta
Brossard, Quebec (cluster: EcoTech Quebec)
Newalta is a Canadian industrial waste management and environmental services company. The company is pioneering new solutions to transform waste into new products that will contribute to a customer’s bottom line and reduce their environmental footprint.

Best of Water: Rentricity
New York, New York USA (cluster: NYC Acre)
Rentricity recovers energy from excess water pressure in pipes to produce clean, renewable electricity. Rentricity targets water, wastewater and industrial infrastructure to integrate its Flow-to-Wire configurations. Electricity produced can either be sold into the electric grid or used behind-the-meter.

Best of Wind: Moventas
Jyväskylä, Finland (cluster: Finish Cleantech)
Finnish Moventas is one of the largest manufacturers of wind-turbine gears in the world. Moventas also provides services for gear overhaul and maintenance.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic