GE has announced the five innovation award winners of its $200 million open innovation challenge, the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid.” Each winner earned $100,000 to jump-start the development of their ideas.
The five innovation award winners submitted ideas that could contribute to creating a smarter, cleaner, more efficient electric grid. They were selected by an independent panel of judges including challenge advisor,Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson, GE executives and leading academics and technologists.
GE partnered with four leading venture capital firms, Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer and RockPort Capital, to launch the Challenge, calling for innovation ideas in three categories: Renewables, Grid and Eco Homes/Eco Buildings.
The five innovation Challenge award winners are:
1. Capstone Metering: Intelligent Water Meters (Carrollton, Texas): Capstone Metering applies remote communications technology to the water meter. The company’s IntelliH2O is self-powered and delivers real-time water system management, which helps conserve water and eliminates the need for manual meter-readings.
2. ElectricRoute: Secure Communications Network for the Electric Grid (Salem and Hollis, New Hampshire): The company created a communications gateway point for transmission and distribution systems. The communications network infrastructure eliminates duplicate sensors and thousands of copper lines running inside the substation.
3. GridON: Controlling Power Quality in Electric Grids (Givatayim, Israel):- GridON created a fault-current-limiter to protect the electric grid from disruptions and power outages, increasing the grid’s reliability and enabling load growth and generation expansion from alternative energy sources. This technology was developed in collaboration with Bar-Ilan University and Ricor Ltd.
4. IceCode: Wind Turbine Blade Anti-Icing and De-Icing (West Lebanon, N.H.) IceCode’s technology removes ice by using high-power pulses to apply heat from the inside out. Using this technology for wind turbines substantially reduces the amount of energy used for de-icing and eliminates downtime for ice removal and inspection. Developed in collaboration with Dartmouth College.
5. WinFlex: Inflatable Wind Turbines (Kiryat Yam, Israel): WinFlex produces rotors for wind turbines from light, flexible and inexpensive cloth sheets made out of composite materials. This flexible rotor design reduces installation costs by at least fifty percent and shortens the return on investment to three to four years, without subsidies.
Videos of the winners are available at www.ecomagination.com/announcements.