IES spin-out REOptimize Systems wins Shell Springboard Award

Institute of Energy Systems (IES) spin-out company REOptimize Systems has won a Shell Springboard Award for its work to address the problem of reduced energy production in ageing wind turbines.

The startup, formerly known as Power Enable Solutions, is the product of seven years of R&D at the School, and beat over 100 entrants to become one of just three innovative companies to win the £40,000 prize money to scale up its business.

Shell’s Springboard Awards provide equity-free funding in recognition of low-carbon, innovative and viable businesses which carry the potential to play a key role in the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Machine learning for wind turbine efficiency

REOptimize Systems has developed an Autonomous Continuous Turbine Optimisation System (ACTOS) – a software platform that applies machine learning techniques to turbine control settings, to reduce emissions by as much as 20 tons of CO2 per year and double the net profit of a wind farm operator while also reducing maintenance costs.

These efficiency improvements could prove the critical difference to the commercial viability of individual wind farm developments.

Managing Director Dr Richard Crozier, formerly a Researcher in the School, explained, “We’ve managed to get an additional 6% of energy from some wind turbines, which doesn’t sound like much, but since turbines work on a margin of 6% that could actually represent a doubling of the net profit for a turbine operator.”

Growth potential

The firm’s business strategy currently targets the £1.3 billion of out-of-warranty installed turbines but, once certification for their product is gained, Dr Crozier and Technical Director Juan Pablo Echenique, believe they have created the answer to maximising the potential of each wind turbine in the UK, whether onshore or offshore.

What will the company do with the prize money? Dr Crozier said “We’ve already got some customers and we’re hoping to get a pilot project started with one of the bigger operators. We’ve tested it on relatively small wind turbines up to this point and hopefully the prize will help us move to the bigger scale turbines.”

Summer finals

After winning at the semi-finals in Aberdeen, REOptimize Solutions will now join winners of the scheme’s Manchester semi-final at the national final in London this summer, where one overall winner will ‘top up’ their prize to £150,000.

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