Innovation Park business develops solar powered computers for Africa

   
   
  Tony-Winfield-of-Sustainable-Computers2
27 Jan 2014 18:12:35.063

A business which is based at the University of  Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP) has developed a unique solar-powered computing solution which is being used by students in Africa.

Sustainable Computers was founded by Tony Winfield, a former Head of  ICT and Business at a local secondary school, who recognised that one of the issues holding back the use of ICT in developing countries was the availability and cost of electricity.

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Uses direct and stored renewable energy
Working with manufacturers, Solar Ready Ltd., Tony came up with the idea of combining his background in education and healthcare with an ICT solution which could be run off solar power. The technology developed by Solar Ready operates completely “off-grid”, using direct and stored power from renewable energy sources.

Some of these systems are already benefitting students in South Africa and Ghana where they are being used as self-contained classrooms. Speaking about the benefits of the solar-powered system, Tony said: “The solution we’ve developed is ideal for schools and other organisations that have unreliable or no access to mains electricity. However, it can also be used with mains supplies, providing savings of up to 70% on electricity costs.

“Each component in the system is designed to maximise efficiency. The power is distributed directly to each computer and screen, doing away with the need for wasteful power inverters, enabling the solar-powered systems to operate in both daylight and dark hours.”

Innovation Park base enables links with academics
The move to UNIP is enabling Sustainable Computers to make new links with university academics and other businesses which are based at the Innovation Park. The company is currently working on a number of collaborative international research projects with academics at the University of Nottingham and industry.

One project which is being developed with The University of Nottingham and the Institute of Physics is for a system which will be used in Ethiopia for five teacher training centres which will help to teach Physics to pupils in the country. They are planning to extend the project to include Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics.

“Being based at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park has been really beneficial to the business,” added Tony. “I have made links with lots of academics and other staff who are helping me to find new opportunities for the technology.”

Thriving in a dynamic and innovative environment
Bob Scott, Director of the University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP), added: “It’s great to see that Sustainable Computers is developing and growing at UNIP.  There are lots of entrepreneurs based here who find the dynamic environment and the access to academic expertise and talented students invaluable as a means of sparking new ideas, thinking and working more innovatively.”

Sustainable Computers is providing a demonstration of its technology at The Energy Technologies Building at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park on 4th and 5th February. For more details about Sustainable Computers, please visit www.sustainablecomputers.co.uk

For more information about office space at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park, visit www.nottingham.ac.uk/unip

-Ends-

For more information about this press release, contact Nick King, Marketing Projects Manager, Business Engagement and Innovation Services, University of Nottingham. Tel: 0115 82 32184, or email nicholas.king@nottingham.ac.uk

Photo shows: Tony Winfield, Managing Director of Sustainable Computers demonstrating one of his systems.

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

Story credits

For more details about Sustainable Computers, contact Tony Winfield
Nick King  

Nick King - Marketing and Communications Manager, Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

Email: nicholas.king@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 74 86727 Location: Coates Building, Faculty of Engineering, University Park Nottingham

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