Northern Rivers innovation awards

Monday, 12 July, 2004

Its name and design may seem better suited to a science fiction movie but the Aquanator could become the way of the future for power generation.

And it was designed and developed in the Northern Rivers district of NSW by Mick Perry from Maclean.

Mr Perry was recently named as the inaugural Northern Rivers Innovator of the Year for his device which uses ocean and river currents to generate electricity.

Testing to date has indicated that the machine has the capability to produce seven kilowatts of electricity when harnessing currents at 2.5 knots. Its capability rises dramatically as the current increases with the capability for 60 kilowatts of power to be produced at five knots.

He is currently working with Country Energy to advance the project.

The Award winners were announced as part of an innovation day organised by the Northern Rivers Area Consultative Committee and Southern Cross University and held at the University's Lismore campus.

Attracting about 70 people, the day not only sought to recognise local innovation but also demonstrate to innovators what support was available to assist them.

Opened by the Federal Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and Richmond MP Larry Anthony, attendees heard from a range of guest speakers including noted innovator George Lewin, who invented the now famous Triton Workbench, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Peter Baverstock and Pioneer Development Fund Director Greg Beaver, who spoke about the facts, myths and challenges of funding and commercialising innovation.

NRAAC spokesman Tony Krimmer said the aim of the day was to assist innovators to learn more about the steps they need to take in the "pretty lonely road" from an idea to commercialisation.

"One of the key initiatives of the day was to attract more research and development investment into the Northern Rivers," he said.

SCU Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise and International) Angela Delves said she was impressed by the innovative zeal shown by the many people who nominated for these awards.

"Many have shown a new way to think " which is in keeping with the aim of the University," she said.

"We have always strived to be innovative in our research, the way we teach, the courses we offer and how we interact with our student population."

The other award winners announced today were:

Most innovative cuisine: Peter Nicholson, Nicholson Fine Foods Best new technology: Mitra Ardron, Papyrus Australia (banana stalk paper) Best new service: Rodney Johnson, Beach Buddy Security Industry Sustainability: Dr Keith Bolton, Eco Technology Australia Best new product: Dennis Gravolin, Trailer Vision, trailer safety system Northern Rivers Innovator of the Year: Mick Perry, Atlantis Energy.

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