In a field of 16 finalists, which included BHP Billiton's $100M plus remediation of the Hunter River and the $1 billion plus Ballina By-Pass project, the SeaUrchin™ secured the Overall Winner GHD Award for Engineering Excellence, the UGL Award for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering and an excellence award.
Other projects assessed by the judging panel included the design of the $120 million Mardi to Mangrove Water Transfer Link, establishment of infrastructure for Xstrata Coal's $1 billion Mangoola Coal Mine in the Hunter Valley and Ampcontrol's design and construction of a road-transportable mobile 132kV substation for use during scheduled network repairs and in case of emergency outages.
EET's Research director and inventor, Michael Urch, said "The success of The SeaUrchin Marine Power Generator can be attributed to contributions by e3K, ATSA and RPC Technologies and Prysmian Cables in Australia, as well as KITL in India. This diverse engineering team joined forces to bring to market a new technology that will assist in the challenge to provide renewable, predictable or baseload energy for the global market."
The SeaUrchin is a revolutionary technology designed to economically capture the vast kinetic energy of the world’s ocean streams, tidal currents and river flows. The SeaUrchin operates in an extensive range of flow rates making it deployable in the largest range of ocean and river locations around the world.
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The SeaUrchin turbine is uniquely adaptable to a number of different generator configurations, with or without a gearbox and, with as few as one moving part, depending upon local conditions or a customer's particular requirements. It harnesses up to four times more power and is up to 70 percent more efficient than the commonly used conventional propeller-based marine turbines.
The SeaUrchin can be mass produced at significantly lower cost than competing products resulting in a lower cost per megawatt-hour of predictable power.
“The commercial viability of the SeaUrchin enables it to rapidly meet the large and growing market for renewable energy technologies,” said the Engineers Australia judges.
Based on original research conducted by Michael Urch and e3k over the last six years, SeaUrchin prototypes have been designed, manufactured and tested by a consortium of engineering organisations based in Newcastle Brisbane and Sydney in Australia and Pune, India.
The Judges went on to say, “the SeaUrchin was a very clever solution requiring excellent collaboration between the inventor, research, design and development team. Its combination of simplicity and sustainability, in conjunction with the increasing demand for reliable renewable energy, will ensure its commercial success".