Ciara’s Pantry Scoops €10,000 prize in Gorey Business Expo

Well, here I am eventually after coming back down to earth after the excitement of the very successful Business Expo and ‘Dragons’ Den’ style Competition. There was a fantastic turnout on the night with over 200 visitors attending the very impressive Trade Show and then the equally impressive ‘Dragons Den’ Competition.

The evening began with the members of BNI Falcon showcasing their various businesses. Also in attendance on the night were representatives from Gorey Chamber, Wexford Local Development, Wexford County Enterprise Board and Business Network International (BNI).

On arriving the first thing that was noticable was the buzz within the room. Visitors were happily chatting over cups of tea and coffee and visiting the Trade Stands to find out more about the products and services offered by the various BNI Falcon  the ‘Dragons Den’ Competition would avail of all these products and services as they formed part of the amazing €10,000 prize.

Frank Gethings, Eco Evolution & Pat Roche, Arkman Consulting

Eco Evolution Stand nicely complimented by Molloy Architecture Stand

With everyone seated the ‘Dragons’ arrived and were introduced by the MC for the night Michael Molloy, Molloy Architecture. Putting the contestants through their paces were Mary Gethings, Eco Evolution, Ferns; Deirdre O’Flynn, Spellcheck Editorial, Carnew; Fabian Doyle, Sovereign Security, Arklow & Wexford; James Doyle, Doyle Foley & Company Accountants, Gorey; John Timmons, Glasgorman Computer Services, Courtown Harbour. Michael then proceded to explain the format of the evening explaining that the contestants would each have five minutes to ‘pitch’ their business ideas and then answer the questions put forward by the ‘Dragons’.

Fabian Doyle, james Doyle, Deirdre O’Flynn, Mary Gethings, John Timmons

First up on the evening was Ciara O’Dowd of Ciara’s Pantry based in Killinierin, Gorey. Ciara’s Pantry produces a range of natural salad dressings, sweet and savoury jellies, fruit vinegars and chutneys. She supplies the local Farmers Markets and some local retail outlets.  Ciara brought along some of her samples which were thoroughy enjoyed by the hungry Dragons (some hungrier than others)! The Beetroot Chutney I have to say was to die for!

Next up to face the Dragons was Ciaran Dolan of Gorey School of Kayaking. Ciaran who has more han 28 years experience in kayaking was looking at the idea of starting a Kayaking School and introducing the sport of Water Polo to the Sunny South East. He brought along samples of his Kayaks, Safety Helmets and Paddles.

Next we had Dean Keating of Monaseed Sales who was looking to introduce the concept of a ‘Virtual Sales Team’ to help businesses make more sales.

Lynsey Moorehouse of Irish Dance Superstore was next to pitch her idea to the Dragons. Lynsey who is dancing since the age of three is now an Irish Dancing teacher who has a vision of setting up an online Irish Dancing Costume Shop and spreading her wings worldwide. She showcased some of her products and brought along her daughter and friends to model the lovely Irish made costumes.

Last, but not least was Kelly-Anne Breen of Shen Acupuncture & Shen Cosmetic Acupuncture Clinic.  Kelly-Anne explained to the Dragons why Cosmetic Acupuncture is a better alternative to Botox. It is a more natural alternative which does not leave the “Frozen Feature” look which is an all too common sight with the overuse of Botox. Overtime her idea is to expand by setting up a Franchise of her Acupuncture business.

The five contestants have to be applauded on the delivery their pitches. It is not easy to stand up in front of a large crowd,  but the five contestants presented their business ideas like true professionals. Their presentations were very professionally delivered  and well thought out. Their ability to answer the Dragons grilling questions on the spot was amazing and complimented on by the most seasoned business people in attendance.

Dean Keating ,Kelly-Anne Breen, Ciara O’Dowd, Ciaran Dolan and Lynsey Moorehouse

While the Dragons retired to choose a winner, MC Michael Molloy put three business people under the spotlight to speak about their experiences and how they are handling the current economic climate. Pat Walsh, Walsh Mushrooms ; Niamh O’Sullivan, Ruby Rouge; and Shane Byrne, Arklow Waste Disposal all emphasised the importance of being realistic about your market, being tenacious and thinking outside the box in order to survive – and thrive.

Michael Molloy, Shane Byrne, Niamh O’Sullivan, Pat Walsh

After much deliberation the Dragons arrived back and handed an envelope containing the winners name to MC Michael Molloy.  Ciara O’Dowd of Ciara’s Pantry was then announced as the winner of the €10,000 prize. Ciara was shocked but delighted and was presented with her prize by Michael McGovern, Horizon Financial and Michael Molloy, Molloy Architecture.

Ciara receiving the €10,000 prize.

In the words of Ciara after the event  ‘ Your ‘Dragons Den’ was very professional and a bit too realistic’.

The members will meet and work with Ciara throughout the coming weeks and months to help her with the various aspects of her business.

A very big thank you to all the visitors, contestants and members who made it a very successful event.

Enjoy the compilation of photos in the video below. They highlight the atmosphere of the evening and the success of the event.

Nissan have turned over a New LEAF!

We were invited to come along to the Nissan LEAF Roadshow in Kilkenny to test drive the world’s first affordable, mass produced electric car, the Nissan LEAF. This was one of only two in Europe and was a left hand drive version.

The Nissan Leaf

They were very sceptical, another electric bubble car, how would this one differ? Arriving at the Roadshow they were very surprised to see that the Nissan LEAF looked like a normal 5-seater family car, but this was no normal car. It is a car that runs on 100% electricity, a car with no fuel tank, no mechanically propelled engine and no exhaust pipe and is therefore a zero emissions car. Mechanics may not be over the moon about its arrival as it is the dawn of a new breed of vehicle that does not have the associated high service and maintenance costs that we have come to accept. In fact the average annual running costs for the Nissan LEAF, based on 12,000 miles or 19,200 kms, are expected to be in or around €232, or less than €20 per month. With the LEAF the standard service intervals of a normal car are a thing of the past with replacement tyres now probably being the biggest maintenance cost.

The Nissan Leaf

This is a sleek looking mid-size family car with a very eye catching appearance and a surprisingly spacious interior; four adult males were easily and comfortably accommodated. No key in the ignition, no clutch and no gear stick, just a press of a button and the car is started, but shut your eyes and you wouldn’t realise as the only indications are visual ones. The Nissan LEAF has the performance of a 1.6 litre petrol engine and is very quick and smooth in acceleration, it drives like an automatic but much more responsive and without the associated gear change shunts and roaring engine. Power is delivered via an 80kW a.c. motor that develops enough torque to reach a maximum speed of over 140 km/h. Acceleration from a standstill is very impressive indeed and the LEAF floats on seemingly effortlessly and silently. The LEAF is so silent that below 30km/h it emits an audible beep to alert unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists of its presence.

Charging socket under the Nissan badge just in front of the bonnet.

The electric motor is powered by a bank of lithium-ion batteries that are mounted under the seats and floor of the LEAF thus giving a low centre of gravity and balanced weight distribution resulting in excellent handling and ride comfort. The latest generation lithium-ion batteries used in the LEAF are manufactured by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint venture company between Nissan and the Japanese electronics company NEC. These batteries are more efficient, more powerful and faster to recharge than anything gone before. The batteries can be recharged to 80% battery capacity in about 25 minutes from a fast charging point but the more normal method is a slower overnight charge. A full charge delivers a capacity of about 160kms but is very dependent on driving habits. The charging socket is under the Nissan badge just in front of the bonnet. ESB will install home charging points free of charge to the first 2,000 electric vehicle customers.

Underneath the Bonnet

Underneath the Bonnet

Under the bonnet Nissan have provided a mock engine but this space could have been put to better use. There is a standard 12V DC battery also to cater for starting and instrumentation on the dash, there is a small solar photovoltaic (PV) panel on top of the boot door that provides some level of recharge to the 12V battery. The boot is just adequate, certainly wont be carrying your full set of golf clubs in there. For a car with the latest generation lithium-ion batteries whose thinner structure and distribution around the vehicle allows for more room inside the vehicle itself, it is a pity that the lack of a conventional engine does not mean pucks of cargo space as well. But this is the only real negative in what is otherwise a breath of fresh air to the automotive industry and a real credit to Nissan.

Small solar photovoltaic (PV) panel located on the boot

Nissan Leaf Boot Space

The Nissan LEAF that will be available in Ireland will come fully equipped with features such as 16” Alloy Wheels, fully automatic Climate Control, Satellite Navigation that doubles up as a screen for the Rear Parking Camera, Cruise Control and a quick charge socket. Safety equipment such as Driver, Passenger, Side and Curtain airbags will be standard along with Electronic Stability Control. Equipment will also include the very distinctive LED headlamps which is a first for Nissan.

According to Nissan innovative smart phone connectivity will allow an owner to control many elements of the LEAF’s functions remotely, including telling the car when to re-charge, to heat or cool the interior of the car before starting a journey and many more innovative features. The Satellite Navigation on the LEAF can connect directly to a Global Data Centre via the Telematics System giving owners updates on charging points, driving patterns and so on.

Charging Point

Road tax is €104 per year but should these state of the art zero-emissions vehicles be exempt from road tax?

Nissan have certainly set the bar extremely high indeed and for this they must be applauded. The LEAF is certainly suited to city driving and low mileage driving but as technological advances extends the range of these vehicles they will become the vehicle of choice for all types of customers.

Test drive the Nissan Leaf at a branch near you!

Thanks to Liam Martin, Wexford Car Centre for the invitation to test drive this great piece of technology. It was a truly unexpected surprise. Test drive the LEAF at a branch near you!

All photographs copyright of Eco Evolution

Wind Power To Reduce Energy Bills And Carbon Footprint ~ The Evance R9000

Evance R9000 5kW Wind Turbine

Evance R9000 5kW Wind Turbine

Renewable energy is key to our low-carbon energy future, as well as diversifying energy sources. Today wind power continues to gain ground as a profitable and effective energy source.

Evance Wind Turbines have been manufacturing and supplying small wind turbines for over 10 years. The R9000 5kW wind turbine has been engineered to ensure maximum energy yield by generating energy at low wind speeds, and by running continuously and safely at high wind speeds – the most efficient 5KW turbine available.

Using the latest advances in aerodynamics and electronics, their engineers set out to bring you one of the most advanced small wind turbines on the market with unsurpassed efficiency, reliability and safety.

Testing and qualifying the product in the most extreme of conditions meant that the Evance R9000 was the first wind turbine under 10kW to be fully certified under the UK Government Industry Standard, Microgeneration Certification Scheme.  This accreditation is a formal recognition of the durability, reliability, safety and overall performance of the R9000, which provides customers with confidence in the turbine.

Evance R9000 installed in Dublin

The Evance R9000 Advanced Wind Turbine is the result of 10 years of dedicated research and development, and is based on the experience of designing utility scale turbines. Specifically designed to work with the wind to capture more energy at lower wind speeds, the R9000 is the most efficient 5kW turbine available, producing more energy a year than other 5kW, 6kW and even 10kW turbines. Combining patented state of the art technology and elegant design, the R9000 belongs to the ‘next generation’ of small wind turbines, offering class leading quality, performance and reliability.

The R9000 starts generating energy at low wind speeds and is designed to run continuously at high wind speeds, so providing the maximum yield possible – giving you energy generation when the wind is blowing it’s strongest.

At low to moderate wind speeds the patented pitch system, Reactive Pitch™, holds the blades in the optimum position for capturing maximum energy from the wind. At high wind speeds the R9000’s Reactive Pitch™ mechanism automatically pitches the blades so it can regulate energy capture and blade speed. It therefore continues to capture energy – up to the full 5kW power rating.

The R9000 is manufactured in the UK at new purpose-built facilities near Loughborough. Using automotive experience, each one is assembled under strict quality control. Every R9000 undergoes final testing to ensure that it complies with Evance exacting standards.

The R9000 wind turbine delivers class leading energy yields allowing households and businesses to reduce electricity bills substantially, and in some cases generate an income.

By capturing power at low and high wind speeds the R9000 can generate 9,167kW with Annual Mean Wind Speed (AMWS) of 5m/s  (11.2mph).

Average Power vs Wind Speed

Annual Energy Yield vs Annual Mean Wind Speed

Export Tariff Update:

Electric Ireland have extended their micro-generation payment of (9 cent / kWh) by a further year to 31st December 2012. This will be the second successive year that the expiry date has been extended and it reinforces Electric Ireland’s commitment to its support of customers who install a domestic micro-generator.

ESB Networks continue to offer a support package up until 29th February 2012, comprising of a free installation of import / export meter and payment of a support payment of (10 cent / kWh) which applies to the first 3,000kWh exported annually. This payment will last for a period of 5 years and will end on the 5th anniversary of the contract start date.

The ESBN micro-generation payment (10 cent / kWh) and the free installation of import/export meters will not be extended beyond 29th February 2012.  Import/export meters will now be charged at approx €350.00.

The average electricity consumption in Ireland is 5,000kWh per household per year. The R9000 can generate 13,653kWh, based on an annual mean wind speed of 6m/s, more than enough electricity to run two households.  There are also planning exemptions for small-scale wind turbines in Ireland.

Evance R9000

The R9000 requires minimal maintenance

Both the wind turbine and the tower are designed to provide outstanding durability – a minimum design life of 20 years. With few mechanical parts, in particular no gearbox, the R9000’s maintenance is minimal.

The Evance 5kW Wind Turbine installed on a farm in Boolavogue, Co. Wexford:

For further information read the Evance R9000 brochure.

Click here  for more information on Micro-generation export and refit tariff updates.

Climate Change Conference

Eco Evolution were invited to the climate change conference by the Wexford County Development Board.

The speakers on the day were from the EPA, Wexford County Council, NUI Maynooth, Teagasc and Courtown Waterworld.

Wexford County Development Board, (CDB), wanted to highlight and discuss the implications of climate change. The CDB launched its strategy “Action for change 2009-2012” last year. Action 7 calls for a  local multi-agency response to climate change. The aim of the conference was to raise local awareness and consider how Wexford can adapt to the likely impacts.

In time, the impacts of climate change will be more apparent in Wexford. There continues to be debate but predicted effects include:

  • More intense storm and rainfall events
  • Water shortages in the Summer and the need to irrigate crops
  • Effects on fish species that are sensitive to small temperature changes
  • Accelerated coastal errosion

The purpose of this conference was to localise the issue, to highlight the effects of climate change for our economy and public services and our citizens and their environment. The conference illustrated the impact of climate change at County level and also the possible adjustments that may be needed to manage longer term change.

For full details of the Conference speakers presentations follow the link below: