16 Jun 2016
Extreme Low Energy (ELe), a company that manufactures revolutionary energy-saving ICT infrastructure, has won a prestigious innovation award.
ELe is the brainchild of founder and technical director Mark Buchanan. Having previously identified that ethernet cables could be used to transfer power and charge devices directly, he has created a system that can deliver direct current (DC) electricity to an entire office building, removing the need for an inefficient conversion from alternating current (AC).
The Formby-based business has now been recognised for its efforts, becoming the May winner of the Merseyside Innovation Awards 2016 (MIA2016).
"The simplest way to explain it that every laptop or desktop computer has a small black box on the power cable," said ELe operations director Caroline Clayton.
"That box turns the AC electricity from the mains into DC electricity which the device then uses. This conversion process is inefficient and further energy is lost as heat during the transformation.
"Our system, which can be retrofitted to existing offices or incorporated into new builds, delivers power in two ways. It can deliver DC electricity without conversion direct from a renewable power source, such as a wind turbine or solar PV panel, to a mains system or battery storage.
"Alternatively we can set up a transformer where the grid supply comes into the building to convert the AC electricity once rather than at every device."
The company, which was established in 2014, already has a presence overseas and has been working with three private schools in South Africa. In one of the schools, 28 desktop computers are now being run on 700 watts of power that was previously only enough to keep four computers operational.
The business has also been working with Intel on reducing the power usage of computers and monitors.
According to ELe's figures, two tonnes of carbon are saved every year for every 30 computers powered using its system.
Anne Donnelly, business development manager at MIA sponsor the University of Liverpool Management School, said: "They have found a way to simplify the delivery of electricity and apply that at low cost in order to deliver huge savings and environmental benefit.
"ELe deserves to be recognised for creating something that solves a problem most people would never have recognised, but which represents a major cost for any business which relies on electricity to function."