Call for innovative communal electric vehicle charging solutions

SEAI, Enterprise Ireland and ESB launch Ireland’s first Small Business Innovation Research competition with up to €200,000 to develop prototype demonstration

30 June 2014

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) in co-operation with Enterprise Ireland and ESB have launched Ireland’s first Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) competition.  The competition’s first target is smart solutions for charging Electric Vehicles (EVs) in communal parking areas such as apartment blocks for which up to €200,000 will be made available to develop the prototype.

Pictured at the launch are Dr Brian Motherway, Chief Executive of SEAI, John McSweeney, Head of Innovation at ESB, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D. and Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager at Enterprise Ireland.
Pictured at the launch are Dr Brian Motherway, Chief Executive of SEAI, John McSweeney, Head of Innovation at ESB, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D. and Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager at Enterprise Ireland.

Any proposed solution should be adaptable to cater for underground, multi-storey or other privately run car park developments where EV owners will require access to charging facilities.  ESB is currently installing home charge points in private driveways for EV owners.  However, challenges have arisen where EV owners live in apartment dwellings with parking spaces remote from the meter point.  This SBIR competition aims to develop an innovative solution in this area.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D. said: “I welcome this approach of agency collaboration to stimulate innovative research. This is a practical problem that needs to be solved and an example of the enterprise opportunities in sustainable energy.  I encourage Irish businesses to get involved and share their ideas to make electric vehicles a more viable transport option for all.”  

Welcoming the new initiative Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton T.D. said: “Driving increased business activity in sustainable energy products and services is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.  Initiatives such as SBIR are all part of our campaign to get more businesses devising creative solutions that not only provide cost efficient innovative services but also help create new jobs.’’

Commenting Dr Brian Motherway, Chief Executive of SEAI said: “In the sustainable energy sector we’re constantly looking for new technologies and more efficient ways of doing things. This competition enables such exciting research and innovation by supporting businesses to develop the technologies that will become part of our future charging solutions for electric vehicles.“

John McSweeney, Head of Innovation at ESB said: “It is critical that the charging infrastructure to support the widespread adoption of EVs is capable of meeting the needs of all car owners, including apartment dwellers.  Without the ability to give people living in apartments access to a private charge point linked to their own power supply, the uptake of EVs will naturally be limited. This innovative competition structure allows us to directly access the brain power and enterprise of Irish SME sector to find a solution to what is currently a global problem.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, added: “Enterprise Ireland greatly welcomes the opportunity to work with the SEAI and ESB Networks in supporting this important new initiative.  This is a great opportunity for SMEs to develop highly innovative solutions for the public sector with potential to sell globally, leading to job creation.”

Full details on the call are available on www.seai.ie

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For further information, please contact:

Morwenna Rice or Karen Ferris
Drury Porter Novelli
Tel. 01 260 5000 / 086 194 0069 / 086 317 1248

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the competition:

The competition will be run in two phases. Phase 1 will open on 30th June 2014 for up to four feasibility studies and contracts are expected to be awarded at the end of October 2014 (with a budget of €25k each). Successful applicants will be asked to provide a robust, evidence based case for the viability of their proposed solution (for example a desk based feasibility study with some supporting practical work/data). Up to two successful studies (proposed budget of €100k to €200k) will be invited to participate in a prototype demonstration (Phase 2) in Spring 2015 with monitoring to take place over a 6-12 month period.


About SEAI
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a mission to play a leading role in the transformation of Ireland to a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. SEAI is partly financed by Ireland’s EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.


About ESB
ESB is leading the way in supporting the roll-out of electric vehicles in Ireland. The company is currently installing a nationwide charging infrastructure which is making electric driving a realistic alternative to more conventional forms of transport. To date over 1,400 charge points have been installed in public, commercial and domestic locations around the country, supported by a fully integrated Charge Point Management System, which enables EV motorists to seamlessly re-charge their electric vehicle anywhere on the island of Ireland. ESB is also actively involved in a number of major EU electric vehicle test projects including Green eMotion, TEN-T and MobiEurope.


About Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland is the Irish Government agency charged with developing and promoting Irish enterprise. Enterprise Ireland partners with entrepreneurs, Irish businesses, and the research and investment communities to develop Ireland’s international trade, innovation, leadership and competitiveness.  The ultimate objective is increased exports, employment and prosperity in Ireland.