BizzInn resident wins national award for Engineering Innovation
BizzInn resident Dr Amrit Chandan has been announced as the winner of the Engineers Trust 2017 Hawley Award for Engineering Innovation that benefits the Environment. Dr. Chandan was awarded the £5,000 cash prize for the work undertaken in Aceleron on Project NuCYCLE.
Amrit's work with Aceleron is to produce low cost lithium ion energy storage in developing countries by repurposing perceived end-of-life lithium batteries. The NuCYCLE is the quick testing process which makes testing economically viable and helps to solve the problem of energy storage in developing countries through recycling used lithium ion batteries found in electric cars and laptops, enabling them to be reused. In countries where energy storage is problematic, power is mainly generated from oil or solar panels, but appliances are often run using lead acid batteries that are inefficient and expensive to import. As well as providing a reliable source of power for schools and hospitals, reusing lithium ion batteries will also benefit the environment. Currently, these batteries are not widely recycled and are classed as hazardous materials, meaning companies often store used batteries because they have no safe way to dispose of them. Proof of concept was achieved earlier this year in a trial with over 1,000 recycled batteries.
Amrit was inspired to start his business ACELERON with Co-Founder Carlton Cummins whilst working from the University of Birmingham's Bizzinn incubation space, being mentored by Dr. James Wilkie, Director of Enterprise & Innovation at the University of Birmingham and taking advantage of the mentoring other business support on offer. ACELERON's work will be wide ranging - the company is already supplying an e-bike manufacturing company with batteries for their e-bikes, which are currently being ridden by end-users in London.
From a shortlist of innovative submissions for this year's award, the panel of experienced senior engineer Liverymen were impressed by Amrit's innovation and his work's potential for significant environmental impact. He was presented with his award at the Worshipful Company of Engineers' Annual Awards Dinner by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, held at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, on 18 July 2017.
Amrit said: "The potential impact this could have on the world is really big. That's what excites me about this idea - I want to make a positive change to the planet and to people's lives. I am delighted that my work has been recognised by such a prestigious engineering institution."
David Cooper, Co-ordinator of the Hawley Award for the Engineers Trust (the charitable arm of the Worshipful Company of Engineers), said "we were particularly impressed by the positive potential that this product has towards the environment as well as community with its ability in remote and third world environments. We were also impressed with the outcome of the concept testing."
Dr James Wilkie, Director of Enterprise & Innovation at the University of Birmingham said: "Amrit is one of the outstanding entrepreneurs who have emerged from the University of Birmingham recently. Like many serial innovators, he engaged at an early stage with entrepreneurship training, and also made the most of the mentoring available at the University and our business incubator. We are grateful to the Hawley Award, the Engineers Livery Company and the Engineers Trust for making this award."