ABB Australia participates in Northern Territory National Innovation Games

To support the development of renewable energy transition solutions.

ABB Australia recently participated in The National Innovation Games Northern Territory series where we collaborated with other businesses, students, and industry and government experts as well as academia, to develop renewable energy transition solutions.

This third and final Games in the Northern Territory renewable energy series saw more than 170 participants come together online and in-person at the Darwin Innovation Hub forming 16 teams focused on 11 sectors relevant to the Northern Territory economy, including: health & community services; property, construction & trades; educational campuses; mining & resources; logistics & cold storage; tourism & hospitality; advanced users of renewables (various sectors); and transport & e-mobility (road, rail and public transport).

Through a series of facilitated design sprints, the diverse teams collaborated to develop transition solutions to assist businesses and organisations convert to renewables.

Each team had the freedom to explore any aspect of renewable energy relevant to their team’s sector. They worked to develop practical, scalable, and easily implementable solutions designed not only to support industry, but also to provide benefits to the wider community.

Funded by the Australian Government, the Games are delivered by Paddl Co. – a startup developing new ways to better prepare organisations, employees, practitioners, and talent for the future of work – through the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA).

Team Prana Power placed first in the competition for a proposal developed for the health and community sector.  It answered the need to provide better access to reliable and affordable energy supply to support the wellbeing of the Tiwi Islands community, where 90% of homes do not have critical appliances including fridges, toilets, and showers because the existing source of power for these units is provided on a prepaid basis and is too expensive and inaccessible.

Their solution was a micro-DC system powered by flexible solar panels installed in each house to facilitate reliable and affordable electricity with no prior infrastructure required.

As the winners, Prana Power received a six-month incubator scholarship with the Darwin Innovation Hub (DIH). The scholarship will provide access to DIH’s expert facilitators, including global industry leaders and mentors; professional business development workshops; and access to DIH member only events and workshops. Each Prana Power team member also received a free twelve-month Paddl Academy Pro membership designed to support digital upskilling and the development of tech savviness, networking, and innovation skills.

In a triumphant effort, one of our ABB associated teams- H2Ocean, placed third overall.  This team innovated for advanced users of renewables with a focus on marine, ports and at-sea infrastructure.  They chose to focus on an area key to the NT, being the use of maritime vessels in and out of Darwin.

Team H2Ocean discovered that the conversion of vessels to accommodate dual fuel, a combination of LNG and green hydrogen, to be the pathway to achieving 100% renewable energy in ocean vessels.  Their design converts a traditional diesel engine into a blended hydrogen solution to not only meet these goals but also lower immediate upfront costs.

National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) CEO Miranda Taylor said she enjoyed seeing the innovative solutions presented by the team members participating in this third Games.

“With the focus on helping NT businesses ‘transition to renewables’ these Games are positioned perfectly to make a real and tangible difference in the Territory. There’s so much for businesses to gain by transitioning to renewable energy, so innovative solutions that can provide a fast and low business disruption pathway are a major incentive to drive that transition,” Taylor said.

“And of course, the opportunity for team members to develop their problem-solving skills whilst interacting with NT small business owners provides invaluable real-world experience.”

Innovation is a part of our DNA at ABB. We believe that together, across the organisation and the industry, we can find innovative ways to solve complex problems.  The opportunity to work closely with local NT businesses and the NT Government to blueprint a path to achieving the territory’s sustainability goals is an ongoing opportunity that we can’t perceive to pass up.

Well done to all involved and we can’t wait to participate again next year.

With special thanks to the Australian Government, Northern Territory Government, Paddl, Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA),Industry Skills Advisory Council Northern Territory (ISACNT), National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), the Darwin Innovation Hub and Territory Generation for creating an opportunity like no other.
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About the author

Mike Briggs

As head of the Motion business and Innovation Lead at ABB in Australia, Mike oversees the sales and service of products, solutions and related services that increase industrial productivity and energy efficiency. He is a member of ABB’s Australian Country Management Team. Mike joined ABB in 2011 as National Manager for Drives Service and in 2015 became ABB Australia’s Business Manager for Drives. Prior to ABB, Mike worked in building automation for 15 years. His experience includes leading large, service, maintenance and project operations, with a passion for sustainability. Michael holds a diploma in Business Management and is currently studying Business Management at Swinburne.
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