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Business Innovation of the Year: Winner

Winner: British Power International – POC-MAST, Permanent HV connection solution

A new category for 2015, Business Innovation of the Year threw up some outstanding finalists to make this a hard-fought contest which pitched academic developments against enterprising business solutions.

In the end it was the potential major impact of POC-MAST on the viability of the renewal energy sector which caught the judges’ eye.

Following a review of the market, design and advisory consultant British Power International developed the POC-MAST to tackle particular challenges.

This cutting-edge connection solution is designed and manufactured in the UK by experienced overhead line operatives and is aimed at addressing the growing requirements of the new electricity generation market.

POC-MAST enables energy connections to be made to overhead power lines in a quick and safe manner, while reducing the time needed to shut down the network while connection is taking place.

“POC-MAST is genuinely innovative, providing a well- thought-out civil engineering and groundwork solution”

Judges’ comment

Because of the age of the existing distribution network, which is more than 50 years old, the traditional method of replacing existing towers can mean the adjacent towers need extensive refurbishment to accommodate a new one.

At the same time, the diversion of an existing circuit would normally require extensive pre-construction, design and construction works, which can add cost and time to project programmes.

In contrast, the POC-MAST can be erected by a four-man team in less than three days with very little working at height.

An additional benefit of this is that it reduces health and safety risk of those working on site.

The system is also fully galvanised, requiring very little maintenance over an estimated 40-year service life.

The company says the POC-MAST has been developed from concept to design through to planning approval for a number of schemes - with the first one having been installed five months ago - and it expects that 10 to 20 of them will be built across the UK during 2015.

The firm adds that the new mobile mast saves the client on average £1m to £1.5m per connection at 132 kV.

The category’s judges were impressed with POC-MAST’s successes to date and described it as a “well-thought-out” and “genuinely innovative” solution.

Highly Commended: Utterberry – Wireless sensors

Utterberry’s systems were used at Crossrail’s Mile End station in London to create a network of 32 self-powered wireless sensors to measure tunnel wall inclination and displacement, along with tunnel temperature and humidity.

Achieved with sub-millimetre precision, this shows the performance capabilities of the new Utterberry sensors.

As well as remarkable performance and accuracy, the sensors weigh only 15 g and are described as the smallest intelligent sensors in the world.

The judges said the technology “looks set to have a real impact on many areas of structural movement monitoring in the future”. 

Finalists:

Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure & Construction (CSIC) - CSattAR Photogrammetric Monitoring

Lafarge Tarmac - Low-temperature asphalt

NG Bailey - Rare Energy

Strongduct - Strongduct pre-insulated galvanised steel duct system

Worthing Homes - Relish Smartwire

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