Innovation Award

Organisations who are doing new and exciting things to help the environment.

This award recognises outstanding new technology, design or research.

2017 Green Globe Awards finalists

Enova Community Energy: Enova Community Energy

Members of Enova Community Energy celebratingEstablished in 2016, Enova Community Energy made Australian history as the country’s first community-owned renewable energy retailer with around 1100 shareholders.

The group initially raised $4 million in capital and designed their business to maximise local job creation and recycle half the profits back into the community. Their model is one that can be re-created by communities across NSW.

Enova is a benefit for those who are setting up community-based renewable energy projects and trying to find a retailer who will buy their excess energy. While major retailers have not been interested in the past, Enova is not only keen to buy this power, but will also work with communities to help bring their renewable energy projects to life.

The company has started a local energy revolution by overcoming regulatory barriers and putting legal and compliance arrangements in place along the energy chain from power plant ownership, generation and distribution to retailing and purchasing.

Gate Gourmet Australia: Gate Gourmet Green Dry Ice Project

Gate gourmet team with airline food trolleys in the backgroundIn the airline business, packed dry ice (frozen CO2) has been the traditional refrigerant of choice in the catering carts loaded at airport gates for each flight.

Gate Gourmet Australia is a global provider of meals for airlines and airport lounges. In Australia, the company prepares more than 15,000 meals a day at its main catering facility in Mascot.

In an innovative move to increase the duration and quality of cooling and reduce greenhouse emissions from freezing, transport and evaporation of dry ice, Gate Gourmet Australia partnered with a local R&D company to trial a new synthetic cooling product called EcoSlice as a replacement.

The trials, thought to be the first of their kind in the global on-board catering market, have been highly successful.

The product is cost-effective, greenhouse-friendly and safer to use in the confined space of a catering cooler. Gate Gourmet Australia is hoping to roll out the product nationally later in 2017.

Lismore City Council: Lismore Community Solar - Floating Solar Farm

Person walking amongst a floating solar farmLismore’s floating solar farm is the largest floating system in Australia as well as being the first community-funded council-owned solar farm.

Lismore City Council aims to self-generate all electricity from renewables by 2023.

The council wanted to set up a solar farm but couldn’t find a large-enough area of land or roof space for the size of the farm envisaged.

The council’s environmental strategies officer Sharyn Hunnisett said there was a ‘light-bulb’ moment leading to investigation of the existing overflow pond at the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant. ‘In many ways it was an ideal solar site,’ said Sharyn, ‘as it’s the council’s facility with the highest energy usage, it operates seven days a week and has high visibility.’

The council worked closely with French contractor Ciel & Terre, the world’s largest manufacturer of floating solar systems, to ensure the Lismore farm complied with Australian Standards.

The farm will act as a showcase for its cutting-edge technology and far-reaching benefits for Australia.

Murray River Paddlesteamers: Reclaimed Steam Engine Oil Centrifuge System

Engine room of the PS EmmylouMore than a century and half after the first paddlesteamers navigated the Murray River, comes the first sustainable re-use of engine oil on one of the steamers.

Cruising the river in 2016 and watching the workings of the vintage steam engine, naval engineer Dan Yarsley noted the oil running from the engine bearings to the drain pans and collection tins and wondered how often it was replaced.

Although it is costly and specialised, the high-grade drain oil from the boat engines had historically been collected after use, then burned or buried.

Dan discussed an idea with one of the steamer company’s directors for cleaning and re-using the valuable oil. Dan was sure that a heated centrifuge unit could re-condition the oil and avoid discarding it. He was then commissioned to build the unit.

Trials so far have been successful and it is expected that the cost of the unit will pay for itself with lower oil costs within 16 months.

OzHarvest: OzHarvest Market 

OzHarvest store with donated breads and pastriesSince 2004 OzHarvest has become well-known for its food rescue operations, collecting quality surplus food from restaurants and retailers and delivering it, at no cost, to charities who feed vulnerable people in need.

Taking their role a step further, OzHarvest this year opened the world’s first free supermarket in Sydney’s Kensington – stocked solely with quality, surplus food and goods that have been donated or would otherwise go to waste.

With increasing amounts of food being rescued on a daily basis by OzHarvest, the supermarket provides a new way to connect surplus food, with those who might not be reached through its existing service. Based on a ‘take what you need, give if you can’ philosophy with no judgement or financial checks, this ground-breaking, new social hub is reimagining retail space to promote dignity and a respectful customer experience.

The money donated for the food by customers will go to expand OzHarvest’s food rescue service.

Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering, University of Wollongong: Track Foundation Technology – A University of Wollongong-Ecoflex Partnership

Freight train stretching for the full width of the image with sky in the background and dry sparse landscape in the foreground

The University of Wollongong’s Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering (CGRE) is pioneering new techniques to enhance the performance of transport infrastructure to increase productivity of national export industries through specialist research and training.

Their partners Ecoflex International Pty Ltd bring over 15 years expertise in developing products and systems using recycled truck and car tyres to achieve low cost and sustainable solutions for the civil construction industry.

Together they have developed Track Foundation Technology, advancing the Australian rail industry as a sustainable and affordable freight solution, capable of operating higher speeds and heavier loaded trains.

Environmental benefits include reduction of stockpiled and dumped scrap truck tyres by around 80% in NSW and there is potential for this innovative technology to be applied to rail track networks globally.