Members of the FAB Test team receive their award

FAB Test wins Best Business Innovation at the Green Energy Awards

The Green Energy Awards 2012, organised by the not-for-profit environmental organisation RegenSW, gave recognition to six companies and researchers out of a possible 130 throughout the South West.

The FAB Test site, the winner of the Best Business Innovation award, is an area of research to which the University of Exeter has made a significant contribution over the past two years.

A 2km2 area located within Falmouth Bay, the FAB Test site allows the marine renewable energy industry to test and improve Marine Energy Converters, or MECs, safely and at low cost, in order to make the technology commercially viable. This technology could have a significant impact on the local and national economy, but it will also contribute towards a greener future for the planet, by helping the UK achieve its emissions reductions targets and by improving the nation’s energy security.  The test site is regulated at a relatively low cost to the renewable energy industry, and has little or no effect on marine traffic, natural conservation areas and local fishing spots.

The marine renewable energy team at the University of Exeter, led by Dr Lars Johanning, has played a considerable part in the expansion of this project. For two years, it has worked with the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FMC) to establish the test site and obtain the necessary consents. Furthermore, it has contributed to the research itself by provide wave measurement and modelling, and through environmental monitoring. Now, representatives of the University are regulating the project as members of a panel chaired by the FHC. 

Dr Johanning, head of Renewable Energy group, said: “The demonstration site ‘FabTest’ is an important milestone in the South West of England to advance the marine renewable energy technology into a commercial and competitive energy source. This has already been demonstrated through the successful development towards commercial viability of the Lifesaver ‘Bolt’ device. Importantly, the presence of the FabTest is also generating highly skilled jobs within the region, through the research and development activities for this highly innovative energy solutions of the future.

Dr Johanning, who is based at the University's Cornwall Campus, said: “The environmental and economical benefits of this test site will affect everyone, from the local population to the country as a whole, and the Best Business Innovation of award is firm recognition of that. Through working with the local community, and with the help of organisations such as RegenSW, the University is cementing its commitment to a sustainable future.”

Date: 30 November 2012