Geothermal energy business wins major RMIT prize

Monday, 20 October, 2008

EnergyCore, which supplies and installs geothermal heat pumps that tap into the natural heat of the earth to save up to 70% on energy bills, was awarded $35,000 in prizes at an awards ceremony for RMIT University's 2008 Business Plan Competition last Thursday night.

Team leader Donald Payne, of Dandenong, said he was thrilled the business venture had received such high recognition from the competition judges, who are all leaders in their industries.

“It’s a great achievement for us and the prizes will really help us grow and expand the business,” Mr Payne said.

“Geothermal heat pumps work by exchanging heat with the ground, which keeps a stable temperature all through the year.

“As a physicist for me, it makes such simple sense — when it’s sweltering on the surface, the earth remains cool, and when it’s cold on top, the earth stays relatively warm.

“If every Australian household installed a geothermal heat pump, we could single-handedly meet our 2020 renewable energy target.

“This technology is the way of the future and we’ve had great interest not just from clients but from policy makers in government, who are keen to learn about its many benefits.”

The annual competition, which this year awarded $70,000 in prizes, is open to RMIT students worldwide and encourages student teams to create innovative businesses and ideas through the development of competitive business plans.

Energycore was awarded the $25,000 RMIT University first prize and also received a $10,000 award sponsored by The LiTMUS Group, consultants to the energy industry.

RMIT's vice-chancellor and president, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the judges had trouble separating the finalists because of the high standards of all the entries.

“Every year, this competition reveals the creativity and ingenuity of our students and 2008 was no exception,” Professor Gardner said.

“This year’s top eight included business concepts for a free comedy show website, a surf school offering all-inclusive trips to Victoria’s best surfing beaches and a start-up manufacturing smart hybrid fuel cells to drive electric motors in the next generation of carbon neutral cars.

“We congratulate all our entrants and look forward to discovering the innovative business plans that RMIT students will bring to the competition in 2009.”


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