Smart grids idea scoops Scottish Power-Iberdrola Challenge prize

Students competing in the 2017 Iberdrola-Scottish Power Challenge

PhD students Bartosz Soltowski and Jonathan Bowes have been named as winners of the Scottish Power-Iberdrola Challenge 2017.

The Dragons’ Den-style entrepreneurial competition sees teams present their ideas for new technologies and business models to a panel of experts from across industry and academia.

The competition is open to all students at the University of Strathclyde which is one of only six partner institutions in Iberdrola’s University Programme and the only one in the UK.

Three finalists, who have already secured over £4,000 from the competition, were judged by an expert panel against a set of criteria that includes originality, feasibility, market potential and team ability.

Great experience

Bartosz and Jonathan secured victory with their Smart Grids for Development concept which outlined the design and development of direct-current micro-grids for use in developing countries.

They will go on to participate in Iberdrola’s Innovation Week event in Madrid in October where they will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to the company and its partners.

Bartosz said: “Iberdrola Scottish Power Energy Challenge was a great experience giving us huge support in business development for our concept.

Something which initially was our research project is now becoming a product that can improve access to electricity for millions of people living off-grid.”

The runners-up were:

  • Jack Galliford, Leo McKeever and David Dunphy for their Bladerunner idea, an autonomous robotic monitoring for wind turbine blade health and performance, and
  • Parikas Prusinskas for his MicroRecycling idea, an on-site recycling system to convert low-grade plastics into fuel via pyrolysis.

The Challenge, delivered by the University’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship with support from the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network, aims to enhance knowledge transfer, attract talent and contribute to society.

The University is consistently ranked in the UK’s top 10 for company creation, and was named UK Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2013/14. All students, staff and graduates of the University have access to the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network, which offers expertise, support and industry contacts to those looking to form and grow new businesses.

Chancellor’s Fellow of Technology and Innovation at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Dr Matthew Hannon, said: “The Challenge offers Strathclyde’s students a unique opportunity to turn their bright ideas for tomorrow’s energy businesses into a reality.

“We have been delighted with the calibre of business proposal we have received from the students, making it an extremely difficult task to select only one winner.

“We wish all the participants the very best of luck going forward in developing their business ideas and look forward to expanding the programme for next year.”