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Canary Wharf gets smart

Canary Wharf lit up at night


Canary Wharf, London’s futuristic-looking financial district, is now a test bed for some cutting edge energy technologies.

Two businesses have been awarded £50,000 to prove their worth in this bustling hub of commerce as part of Cognicity, a competition to provide an opportunity for smart city innovations in the area.

First up, a technology is being developed to turn food and other organic waste into energy on-site, giving a new meaning to power lunches. SEaB Energy’s proposal to retain both the source material and the energy generation on-site will mean waste will not need transporting to external plants. Its makers say it will prove its worth even where space is limited.

The other project, led by Demand Logic, uses automation to make processes more energy efficient with a web system to monitor and control heating, ventilation and air conditioning. This saves technicians the trouble of trying to spot faults and inefficiencies – a job that is quite labour intensive.

The energy saving expectations of those behind both projects are huge. SeAB Energy says its waste-to-energy could provide 5 to 10 per cent of the Canary Wharf Estate’s energy needs. For Demand Logic it’s all about saving - the company predicts its number-crunching and increased control could save 10 per cent of energy requirements. 

Another project that was in the running for funding through the Cognicity Challenge is also jostling for attention, and its aim is to be walked all over, literally. Pavegen’s energy-generating paving slabs were given a small trial in the area, and indeed, if any tech is going to showcase its potential in an area of high footfall, this is it.

For smart technology innovators, another branch of support in the capital has recently launched in the form of a competition from the Smart London Districts Network. Those using data in a way that could connect and engage Londoners in resource management issues were invited to submit their ideas, with shortlisted innovators getting the chance to showcase potential to decision-makers. Another interesting one to keep an eye on. 

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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