Ashden Conference 2018
This year’s winners are pioneering sustainable energy solutions that transform livelihoods across three continents and address climate change from every angle. From a company specialising in portable solar cold rooms for farmers in western India, to a game-changing solution from Bethesda, Wales that enables affordable access to locally-generated renewable energy, these organisations are tackling challenges in the sector like never before.
The winners of the 2018 Ashden Awards are:
Q-Bot provides a solution to the costly and disruptive challenge of insulating floors. When insulating a home, the floors are often overlooked despite letting in cold draughts. Q-Bot has the answer. It uses a robot to apply a layer of insulation beneath suspended floors. There’s no need to pull up carpets or create disruption because Q-Bot’s robots can gain access through the exterior wall or a small hole in the floor and use on-board sensors to create dynamic 3D maps to guide installation and identify hazards.
Q-Bot is working with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), for whom an easy, low-cost installation is essential. Q-Bot trains RSLs to use the technology to insulate their properties. Households benefit, with heat loss through the floor reduced by an average of 80%, draughts reduced by 30% and fuel bills reduced by £150 a year on average. Private households will benefit too once RSLs start to offer the service more widely in each region. Q-Bot is the winner of the UK Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings.
Chargemaster is a developer of electric vehicle (EV) charging systems. It has created POLAR, the UK’s largest network of reliable, high-quality charging points that are critical to powering electric motoring and encouraging the future uptake of EVs. As well as POLAR, which provides over 6,500 public charging points, Chargemaster offers home, work and public charging solutions and partners with most of the leading EV manufacturers.
Chargemaster also operates the UK’s first Electric Vehicle Experience Centre in Milton Keynes, which promotes the benefits of driving EVs and is supporting Milton Keynes’ transformation into one of the UK’s Go Ultra Low Cities. Chargemaster is the winner of the UK Ashden Award for Clean Air in Towns and Cities.
03 Feb | News
Upside Energy aims to reduce stress on the National Grid through its cloud-based Virtual Energy Store™. This aggregates flexible demand from systems such as domestic energy storage, heat pumps, electric vehicles and uninterruptable power supplies, which it sells to the National Grid, network operators and energy suppliers to help balance supply and demand. System owners and Upside Energy share in the revenue created.
The Virtual Energy Store™ helps the grid to cope with more renewable energy capacity, and shift electricity usage from peak to off-peak periods, reducing the use of some of the UK’s oldest, most polluting and expensive power stations. Upside Energy is the winner of the UK Impax Ashden Award for Energy Innovation.
Energy Local CIC has introduced a game-changing solution for locally-generated renewable energy. Whilst energy is increasingly being generated from distributed renewable sources at a local level, there has been a discrepancy between the amount that a household pays and the amount that a nearby renewable generator earns.
Members of an Energy Local Club, the first of which is in Bethesda, Wales, are able to use local hydro-generated electricity at a price that is mutually beneficial. This is having a direct impact on fuel poverty, generating additional funds for renewable generators and supporting community energy. The tariff and advanced meters which record the matched power are being facilitated by Co-Op Energy. Energy Local is the winner of the UK Ashden Award for Energy Market Transformation.
Angaza develops and markets hardware and software that enables clean energy products such as solar lanterns, solar home systems and mobile phone charging points to be remotely controlled - including being switched on and off – so they can be run on a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) basis. A US company, Angaza is very well-known in Africa, where 570,000 products are currently ‘powered by Angaza’. It works with the product manufacturers and distributors to fit the technology which makes sustainable solutions affordable, particularly to the many millions of off-grid customers in the region.
Angaza’s success, its support for local field agents, and the popularity of PAYG have all helped to accelerate the sale of affordable solar products in Africa. Angaza is the winner of the International Ashden Award for Financial and Business Model Innovation.
Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) has implemented solar PV, inverter and battery storage systems in almost 1000 health centres of all sizes in Chhattisgarh State, central India. Powering buildings and equipment, from heated baby units and solar lights for post-natal care through to stable refrigeration to keep vaccines fresh, this solar PV electrification programme is supporting communities in rural and semi-rural areas where national grid extension is physically difficult and expensive. This is a fantastic example of how a state-run partnership can integrate renewables, deliver reliable healthcare and work towards creating a sustainable energy hub. CREDA is the winner of the International Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and Health.
Ecozen Solutions enables farmers in Pune, western India to store produce at the point of harvest giving them greater control over distribution thanks to solar-powered cold rooms. Produce such as vegetables, fruit and flowers, which would otherwise need to be sold immediately, can be kept in the cold rooms, which are designed to work even in low sunlight and with thermal energy storage back up at night. Farmers control the temperature and humidity with a smartphone app and can also record the quantities of perishables stored. They can select the best time to sell direct to retailers and at the right price and the pre-cooling feature allows them to send commodities to markets further away. This is helping to increase profits and reducing the amount of fresh produce wasted due to a lack of sustainable power for refrigeration. Ecozen is the winner of the International Ashden Award for Powering Business.
03 Feb | News
Lumos Global, the largest provider of off-grid solar systems in Nigeria, provides householders and businesses with a simple, affordable way to pay for solar energy on a subscription basis. Lumos customers sign up for the service at their local MTN mobile phone network stores and pay in small instalments via text message.
The Lumos solar energy system will power two lights, a TV, a fan and a mobile phone charger simultaneously, and provides an efficient and sustainable alternative to using generators when the state electricity supply suffers an outage. Lumos has also incorporated security to counteract cyber hacking attacks. Lumos Global is the winner of the International Ashden Award for Energy Access Frontiers.
Shuttl is tackling pollution caused by traffic congestion in some of India’s busiest cities by crowdsourcing digital demand for, and creating, rush hour bus routes. Targeting commuters, Shuttl provides affordable transportation on private, air-conditioned buses, where a seat is guaranteed. In Delhi, for example, the company has cut the 2.6 million car journeys that are carried out every year down to 1.6 million, and as a result, saved between 2,000 and 3,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. To make the process of accessing the service as easy as possible for commuters, Shuttl has an app which allows passengers to book a seat on a specific route. Shuttl is the winner of the Ashden Award for Sustainable Mobility.
MASS Design Group is helping to meet the rapidly growing demand for buildings of all types in Africa and has become a standard-bearer for architecture that delivers in response to the social and environmental needs of the local community. When designing its ground-breaking schools and hospitals, MASS employs a range of methodologies to achieve greater outcomes, including a mission-derived building design process to ensure the building enhances the delivery of the occupants’ work. The use of local materials significantly reduces embodied carbon, while an emphasis on training local people in building techniques ensures a sustainable legacy. MASS is the winner of the International Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings.
The winners of our Ashden Awards never fail to amaze and inspire our panel of judges, and the 2018 line-up is certainly no exception. The solutions, ideas and innovations that our winners have developed are already making a crucial difference in terms of creating access to energy, lowering carbon emissions, developing clean, sustainable solutions for cities and providing vital health and economic benefits. It is absolutely necessary for us to work together to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and every one of our 2018 winners is playing a key role in moving climate change action forward.
Ashden’s Founder Director, Sarah Butler-Sloss
The 10 organisations will receive their Ashden Award on Thursday 14 June at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres will be the keynote speaker.
Funders for this year's Awards include Citi, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Grosvenor, HSBC, Impax Asset Management, and the Waterloo Foundation.