A SHEFFIELD firm and a Rotherham apprentice have secured top prizes in the annual Engineering Employers’ Federation Future Manufacturing Awards.
Green energy business ITM Power won the North East Region Climate Change Opportunity Award, beating Doncaster trailer manufacturer Montracon, named runners- up in the same category.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Tata Steel Speciality Steel apprentice Rush Garfitt won the award for Outstanding Achievement by a First Year Apprentice, beating fellow South Yorkshire apprentice, Liam Jones, from DavyMarkham.
Sheffield Forgemasters were runners up in the Environmental Efficiency Award and highly commended in the Outstanding Export Award.
ITM Power won its award for developing a transportable hydrogen refuelling unit called Hfuel and then setting up a Hydrogen On Site Trials (HOST) programme to encourage companies to use the Hfuel unit, which produces hydrogen by electrolysis and only needs a water and an electricity supply to work.
Some 22 companies – including Stansted Airport, Sheffield CC, Carillion plc, and Tarmac – signed up to try the benefits of Hfuel, by using the unit to refuel vehicles powered by modified internal combustion engines and fuel cells.
As a result, ITM is now receiving enquiries from around the world.
Cedric Rodrigues, divisional director of ENER-G, the EEF’s environmental partner, said: “This is an extraordinary product that has major implications for sustainability in commerce and industry.”
Rush Garfitt won the First Year Apprentice Award for two projects which helped Tata improve quality and cut costs.
He also demonstrated a mature attitude during his first year that attracted positive comments from his peers, mentor and academic contacts.
EEF regional director for the North, Andrew Tuscher, said: ““Rush’s talents and hard work mark him as a winner who will inspire other young people to achieve.”