Two Swansea-based companies have triumphed at the South Wales Chamber of Commerce’s Welsh Business Awards 2014, an event run in association with the University of South Wales.

Marine Power Systems, a wave energy technology development firm based in Swansea, scooped the award for Renewable Energy and Sustainability, sponsored by the Port of Milford Haven. Vale Europe, a nickel refinery, took the Innovation & Improvement to Practices Award sponsored by Business in the Community.

Marine Power Systems, which employs nine people, was awarded the prize for its development of the patented WaveSub Wave Energy Converter (WEC) device, which provides sustainable, low cost, renewable energy from the sea.

The technology is the only of its kind available on the global market and is engineered to solve the fundamental challenges facing marine energy devices. Vale Europe received its award for the way it has adapted existing management tools to suit its own requirements, leading to better financial returns, improved staff welfare, and increased recycling and reduced energy emissions.

Employing 200 people, the refinery produces high purity nickel pellet and powder products for specialist applications such as batteries and automotive components.

Dr Gareth Stockman, managing director at Marine Power Systems, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have won the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Award at the South Wales Chamber of Commerce’s Welsh Business Awards.”

“A great deal of effort and home-grown expertise has been put into proving and protecting the WaveSub concept since we formed the company in 2008, including managing risk and limiting financial expenditure.”

“This has resulted in the creation of unrivaled intellectual property and development of the route to commercialization for WaveSub.”

“We’re delighted to have received this award in recognition of our achievements this far. There are even more exciting times ahead in the development of WaveSub including sourcing a strategic partnership with a large industrial partner to drive the commercial expansion. This will help us to achieve our ultimate aim of advancing and growing the global marine renewable energy industry.”

Fiona Buttrey, technical manager at Vale Europe, said: “Applying continuous improvement tools and techniques in our industry is unusual and has led to the introduction of innovative, customized processes by encouraging our employees to come up with innovative ideas to help us to improve.

“Our focus is now on equipping managers with tools to coach and support employees, promoting customer-supplier relationships and improvement activities.

“This award is recognition of our improvements and hard work so far.”

All winners will now be encouraged to submit entries to the British Chamber of Commerce Awards in spring this year.

Original article in the Evening Post and a related article by Wales Online