Saturday 21 July 2018

Ex-ESB chief joins green energy firm's €450m masterplan

John Quinn's Photonomi Energy will create 1,600 new jobs, says John Reynolds

Photonomi’s Padraig McManus
Photonomi’s Padraig McManus

John Reynolds

A green energy technology company backed by former ESB chief Padraig McManus is set to announce more than 1,600 jobs after securing deals worth some €450m.

Photonomi Energy, founded by nanotechnology expert John Quinn, has recruited a number of other heavyweights as directors who, like McManus, will all have stakes in the company, which has its headquarters in Ireland.

With several major partners, including an electricity supplier, it will install its technology in 30,000 Irish homes in a €450m deal to be announced next month, requiring 1,500 installers and 120 new back-office jobs.

Renewable-energy companies have been poised to exploit new opportunities in the sector following publication late last year of a Government White Paper on energy.

Depending on policy developments, Photonomi says its technology could be installed in an additional 100,000 homes - worth up to a further €1.3bn.

A second EU factory, if located here, could see another 700 jobs added, it says.

"This is a game-changing renewable-energy technology because it makes such a serious impact on carbon emissions and energy bills.

"Its performance level is way above traditional solar energy and requires only daylight," said McManus.

"Unlike traditional solar power, it provides hot water (that also provides heating or cooling) and electricity. It has huge potential, residentially and for industrial customers.

"The next big thing for us is to do it at bigger utility scale, initially for big island nations currently generating power from diesel. And that's just the start."

Quinn, who grew up in Castlebar, Co Mayo but was born in the UK to Irish parents, helped invent the technology that enabled Microsoft to move Windows 95 on to CDs in the early 1990s.

Photonomi, which currently employs 65 people, is also doing R&D into off-grid water desalination.

Photonomi's first major customers include an NHS trust in Belfast and a UK electricity supplier - a deal worth €150m.

New green social housing in Germany using Photonomi technology will mean electricity and heating bills of just €50 a year.

It is the only technology in the world that can achieve the appropriate EU standard for this, the company claims.

The zero-energy buildings market will be worth over €1trn a year by 2035, according to US analysts Navigant research.

Pension and institutional funds have invested in portfolios of long-term revenue streams from the power that Photonomi sells, but it will remain private until an IPO in five or 10 years' time, said Quinn.

The technology harvests energy from photons of light in daylight. Using a complex manipulation of materials and coatings at nanotechnology level and under pressure, it then stores energy at super high efficiencies to produce heating or cooling and electricity. Underpinning it is a complex IP structure involving trade secrets which are protected for life - as, famously, is Coca Cola's formula.

Sunday Indo Business

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