HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip has presented the UK’s most prestigious prize for engineering innovation – the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award – to a team from Artemis Intelligent Power.
Artemis’ managing director, Dr Niall Caldwell; operations director, Pierre Joly; chairman, Dr Win Rampen FREng; non-executive director, Professor Stephen Salter FRSE, and chief engineer, Dr Uwe Stein were announced as the winners of the 2015 Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award at the Academy’s annual Awards Dinner at the Landmark Hotel in London.
Renowned for spotting the ‘next big thing’ in the technology sector, the MacRobert Award identifies outstanding innovation with proven commercial success and tangible social benefit.
As well as gaining from the prestige of the award, the winners receive a gold medal and a £50,000 prize.
Edinburgh-based Artemis has pioneered a new Digital Displacement® power system, with digitally controlled hydraulics, that that has the potential to transform the viability of offshore wind power and low carbon transportation.
As well as dramatically improving power capacity, the smart, modular system has been designed to overcome the significant reliability issues associated with existing turbines.
Artemis is already delivering world-leading systems, significantly improving turbine efficiency and, with it, the prospects for future exploitation of wind power.
Artemis is also applying the same technology to reduce the fuel consumption of commuter trains and buses. A regenerative braking energy storage system based on Digital Displacement® can be retrofitted to existing diesel commuter trains, and recent trials with Ricardo and Bombardier have shown that it can reduce fuel consumption by upwards of 10%.
The system also generates less noise and cuts exhaust emissions within stations.
Artemis was up against MacRobert Award finalists Cambridge-based Endomag – selected as a finalist for its breast cancer diagnostic tool that avoids the use of radioactive tracers in determining the spread of cancer through the lymphatic system; and Blackpool-based Victrex –selected for its development of advanced polymers in ultra-thin sheets for use in smartphone and tablet speakers.
The judging panel selected Artemis for its potential to help solve one of the most significant global challenges while demonstrating technical engineering excellence.
Its success is a story of both talent and determination, with unrelenting commitment to achieve the goal of making power systems significantly better.
Describing the Artemis story as “truly compelling”, chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng commented: “The company has achieved a technical advance of global importance, making significant power delivery from offshore wind considerably more credible and realisable, and facilitating the global goal of reducing Co2 emissions.
“This is not simply evolutionary improvement but a complete step change, and one that took years of commitment to achieve.
“The Artemis Digital Displacement system is both an incredible piece of invention, and a brilliant example of detailed engineering design. It represents excellence in multiple facets of engineering, from control system technology to software and elegant mechanical design.
Ion added: “As a UK SME, Artemis represents the very best of modern UK engineering with global significance, which the Academy continues to champion through its Engineering for Growth campaign.”
Judging panel member and former vice president of Jacobs Engineering, Dr Gordon Masterton OBE FREng FRSE noted: “The Artemis system is a massive leap forward for hydraulically powered systems. The team has done for hydraulic engines what James Watt did for steam engines; they have totally transformed the efficiency and range of potential applications.
“The largest floating wind turbine in the world is to be powered with a Digital Displacement transmission, and I strongly believe there are many other exciting applications for this stunning engineering breakthrough.”
Last year’s MacRobert Award winner, SME Cobalt Light Systems, won for the innovation behind an airport security liquid scanner that can now be found in more than 65 airports throughout Europe.
The same technology is also being used to detect counterfeit goods, and Cobalt is developing medical-grade systems that provide on-the-spot diagnosis of breast cancer and bone diseases such as osteoporosis.