Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd, a University start-up company has won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert Award, the UK’s top prize for innovation in engineering.
The award judges called the company’s innovative hydraulic transmission technology "a massive leap forward", which could increase the power of offshore wind turbines and cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions in trains and buses.
Chairman of Artemis, Dr Win Rampen, who also holds a Chair in Energy Storage at the University's Institute for Energy Systems, received the Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert Award from HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at an event in London.
Alongside Win were other members of the Artemis team: Professor Stephen Salter, Non-Executive Director; Dr Niall Caldwell, Managing Director; Pierre Joly, Operations Director; and Dr Uwe Stein, Chief Engineer.
The company's Digital Displacement® hydraulic transmission technology has digitally controlled hydraulics, and researchers say it 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.
The £50,000 MacRobert Award has been presented by the Royal Academy of Engineering annually since 1969 and identifies innovation with proven commercial success and tangible social benefit. It is known for spotting the next big thing in the technology sector, previously recognising technologies such as the catalytic converter and the CT scanner.
The judging panel commended Artemis for its potential to help solve one of the most significant global challenges while demonstrating technical engineering excellence, saying that the Artemis system had done for hydraulic engines what James Watt did for steam engines.
As well as gaining from the prestige of the award, the winners receive a gold medal and the £50,000 prize.
Professor Hugh McCann, Head of School of Engineering, said:
"Warmest congratulations to our staff members Dr Win Rampen and Professor Stephen Salter, and to all at Artemis."
Dame Sue Ion, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said:
"The Artemis story is truly compelling. 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."