News Archive 2014

An Intelligent Control System to Improve Energy Efficiencies in Wind Farms Scoops 2014 UCD Start-Up Award

Tuesday, 18 November, 2014 

Pictured (l-r) Dr Andrew Keane, Paul Manning and Dr Peter Richardson, NovoGrid.

Pictured (l-r) Dr Andrew Keane, Paul Manning and Dr Peter Richardson, NovoGrid.

NovoGrid, a new engineering venture, has been declared overall winner of the 2014 University College Dublin (UCD) VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme.

In addition to the 2014 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Award, NovoGrid was presented with a €25,000 prize.

NovoGrid has developed an intelligent control system to enable wind farm owners reduce energy losses associated with the transfer of electricity to national grids thereby assisting them to improve energy efficiencies and to increase revenues.

It is estimated that wind farm owners lose up to 10% of their daily revenues, due to energy losses associated with the delivery of their energy production to electricity grids. This equates to an estimated €2.3 billion in lost annual revenues for wind farm owners globally.

With wind farms becoming more popular as an alternative source for generating electricity it is estimated that such losses could triple by 2020.

NovoGrid’s novel software-as-a-service solution can be used by wind farm owners to optimally control operational set points, in real-time, within wind farm stations and intelligently exploit existing wind farm capabilities to significantly reduce these energy losses resulting in increased efficiencies and revenues.

NovoGrid is a new venture emerging from research carried out over several years in the Electricity Research Centre at the UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering by co-promoters, Dr Andrew Keane and Dr Peter Richardson.
Paul Manning, who has run his own energy services company for many years, and who has worked for several start-up companies in business development and market analysis roles, including the UCD spin-out company BiancaMed, is also a co-promoter of NovoGrid.

Paul Manning, an MBA graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and co-promoter of NovoGrid said, “We are delighted to have won the 2014 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Award and we see a very bright future ahead for NovoGrid. Following a planned field trial set for early next year we expect to be operational in over 10 wind farms in Ireland and in the UK during 2015 and to be significantly increasing revenues for wind farm owners.”

At the awards evening NovoGrid was presented with the 2014 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Award and a cheque for €10,000 sponsored by AIB. In addition NovoGrid also received a professional services package to the value of €15,000 sponsored by Bryan Maguire Business Consulting, Deloitte and NovaUCD.

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “Excellence in research and innovation that delivers strong and meaningful impact is central to all we do in UCD. This was clearly displayed by all the early-stage ventures which participated on this year’s VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme. Through this programme we are supporting researchers to accelerate the establishment of research-based companies providing value-added products and services for the global market.”

She added, “NovoGrid is an excellent example of a new venture, emerging from research carried out at UCD, which is being established to address a worldwide problem, in this case in the energy industry. The technology being developed by NovoGrid has significant global potential with global customers. I congratulate the members of the NovoGrid team for winning this year’s UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Award and I wish them every commercial success for the future.”

The overall objective of the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme is to support the creation, and to accelerate the launch, of sustainable and profitable new ventures based on intellectual property emerging from UCD and NCAD, a recognised college of the University.

The programme aims is to equip UCD and NCAD researchers with the knowledge, skills and understanding that is required to work as part of a team successfully leading a new commercial venture.

Derek McGarry, Head of Design Innovation and Commercialisation, NCAD, said, "The UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme has provided an excellent opportunity this year for NCAD Origin8 venture Cara Mobility to promote design led innovation to non-designers as part of this invaluable knowledge transfer programme. Cara Mobility, as well as last year’s NCAD participants Gazel and Obeo, have benefitted enormously from the business mentoring that was provided within this excellent intensive accelerator programme and I look forward to more NCAD ventures participating on this programme in the years to come.”

The annual UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme, which is held at NovaUCD the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs, uses the Business Model Canvas approach to start-up development. The programme consists of ten 3-hour workshops and a series of one-to-one sessions with external experts in areas such as finance, marketing and customer validation.

Serial entrepreneur, Tom Morrisroe, the founder and CEO of The Now Factory, which was sold to IBM (NYSE: IBM) in 2013, was the guest speaker at the event.

A video, which provides a short overview of the commercialisation programmes available at UCD, including the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator, is available to view here.