KIC InnoEnergy and Climate-KIC celebrate joint EIT Award success

KIC InnoEnergy, the European company for innovation, education and business creation in sustainable energy, and Climate-KIC, the EU’s main climate innovation initiative, are today celebrating the success of three of their projects at the EIT Awards, presented at InnovEIT in Budapest last night.

KIC InnoEnergy Masters School Graduate Govinda Upadhyay won the EIT Change Award for his design of a simple and affordable solar LED lamp, and the EIT Innovators Award went to EOLOS Floating LIDAR Solutions (CEO Rajai Aghabi), a KIC InnoEnergy supported project, for breaking new ground in the field of affordable wind energy.

Climate-KIC startup Nordic Power Converters (co-founder Regnar Paaske) of Denmark won the EIT Venture Award for his imaginative redesign of small, long lasting power converters.

And, in a measure of the value of collaboration between partners of the EIT, following on from his graduation from KIC InnoEnergy’s PhD programme, Govinda Upadhyay’s solar LED Lamp project is benefiting from the Climate-KIC start up Acceleration Programme, turning his innovative idea into a business.

Diego Pavia, CEO at KIC InnoEnergy, says: “We are delighted by the success of our programme and graduates in these Awards. The EIT Awards recognise the best in innovation and each of these projects demonstrates commitment to advancing sustainable growth and competitiveness in the field of sustainable energy. 

“I’m delighted that Govinda is now being supported in setting up and growing his business by Climate-KIC. This is a great example of how, by working together, the KIC group can create businesses that can make a real difference in sustainable energy solutions.”

Bertrand van Ee, Climate-KIC CEO
Bertrand van Ee, Climate-KIC CEO

Bertrand van Ee, CEO of Climate-KIC, says: “Indeed it’s all about collaboration: discovering talent and scaling it up.

“I’m very proud to see two of our start-ups win awards today.  I see their hunger for success determination and passion for tackling climate change through new technology. Climate-KIC only selects the best and we put all our efforts into developing these innovators to introduce them to markets.”

Change Award

Winner of the EIT CHANGE Award Govinda Upadhyay developed the LEDSafari Lamp, an affordable DIY solar led lamp made with easily available components anywhere in the world. “This win was a team effort and really down to the support from everyone involved including my EIT family,” he said.

“What’s really different about our solution is that we teach our customers how to build it themselves customised to their own needs. This is an excellent tool to learn about solar technology design while reducing the use of fuels like kerosene in developing countries,” said Upadhyay.

Innovators Award

“Selecting a winner of the EIT Innovators Award was not easy”, said juror Monica Dietl. “The 6 nominees had very exciting projects and I personally believe they will all get to the market, but Rajai’s solution was chosen because the challenges his company faces from a technical point of view were considerable. They have gathered different competences from diverse fields to come up with an attractive product.”

“We detected a gap in the market and saw an opportunity to reduce the cost of off-shore wind energy, said Aghabi. “Off-shore wind energy has enormous potential. We brought together expertise from marine engineering, remote sensing technology and full system integration. This is more than just a product, the next phase is to disrupt the offshore market with an innovative value proposition,” Rajai added.

Venture Award

The EIT Venture Award puts the spotlight on successful entrepreneurial start-ups developing some of Europe’s most promising innovations.

“Billions of every day products require electricity power converters, but the technology has not developed significantly for 30 years”, said winner and co-founder of Nordic Power Converters, Regnar Paaske.

“Our solution increases the reliability and affordability of these everyday products that we rarely think about. For us, innovation is about impacting real people’s lives and I think this award will fuel momentum to ensure a lasting impact on climate change,” he said.

“Regnar’s truly innovative project brings together breakthrough tech and a great team with solid finance to attack a huge market for led lighting and converters, while helping all of us to reduce our energy consumption”, adjudicating panel member Richard Pelly”. “The entire jury agreed: we’d even put our own money into this project,” added Paaske.

Continue reading about the EIT’s InnovEIT conference in Budapest this week.

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