National Grid calls on suppliers for sustainable design ideas

3 May 2013

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National Grid has launched a competition calling on its vendors to submit sustainable design ideas that create a ‘closed loop supply chain’.

The initiative aims to identify innovative ways of implementing a ‘circular economy’ into the design of materials, plants, processes and equipment. Such products should have an ultimate zero-waste goal where by-products are re-used, recycled or refurbished.

The contest, which is part of a wider move by the energy company to embed sustainability into its supply chain, is open to all UK suppliers and the winner will be granted the opportunity to turn their concept into a commercial product.

The energy firm said it hoped to receive a wide range of submissions spanning all products types with varying levels of complexity and transferability to other organisations.

It cited a number of concepts as examples, including:
●      Products designed with ‘cradle to cradle’ maintenance, disassembly and remanufacture in mind
●      Services that demonstrate innovative ownership models such as capital equipment leasing
●      Material choices that minimise cross contamination for simplicity in disassembly
●      Plant and equipment sold to deliver an output; not sold as a piece of equipment
●      Processes that allow continuous repair, reuse and remanufacture
The firm said proposals should also include:
●      A cost benefit analysis for the alternative design
●      The advantages and disadvantages of the proposal
●      Innovation for sustainability
●      Demonstration of a circular economy
●      Steps required to move the idea from a concept to a reality.
The competition closes at midnight on 3 June. Judges will select a shortlist of up to nine finalists and the winner will be announced in late July.

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