Fo what it's worth I have seen the award and as i recall it does mention Innovation as well as International trade.
From the way I read it, there are 3 categories for which that Queen's award is handed out.
The one that Somar received was only for International Trade, not Innovation.http://www.queensawa...onal_Trade.html
Here is what Somar won and when;http://www.queensawa...nners/2004.html
They are NOT on the list for "Innovation" that year or any other year.
The above says "every one of them...." but I am unaware of any other product which claims to save energy by changing voltage to match load as measured by power factor, a la Nola. Can someone provide details of these otehre products?
List of major player soft starters still offering Nola circuit:
Benshaw, (and brand labeled by several others),
Solcon, (and brand labeled by several others),
Aucom, (and brand labeled by several others),
Fairford (and brand labeled by several others)
Other "big names" are actually no longer making their own products, they are brand-labeleing one of the above, including:
Saftronics (Aucom and Emotron),
TB Woods (Aucom),
Major players in Soft Starters who have stopped promoting the "energy saver" because it caused more customer anger and confusion than satisfaction:
Allen Bradley (although they still sell older versions through Sprecher+Schuh that have it)
Motortronics (and brand labeled by several others)
Eaton / Cutler-Hammer
Fringe players, but still sold primarily as soft starters:
Softac Systems (Canada)
Eaco (US, but may be out of business now),
DNH Industries (US)
Companies that have sprung up with the Internet selling them primarily as "energy savers":
Somar (and brand labeled by several others),
Power Efficiency Corp,
Inumerable Chinese and Indian companies that have yet to start marketing world-wide.
The Nola circuit design is free for the asking from NASA, so anyone who wants into that business can get the engineering documents and away they go, it is no longer "rocket science". What I didn't list are the countless small companies that sprung up in the '70s and early '80s when the promise was still untapped, but who ultimately bombed out when the truth became known. All that is different now is that the Internet has provided wider access to the marketplace which is still full of people who want desperately to believe there is some secret "magic box" that will solve their energy problems.
Want some interesting reading? Check this out, the patent started in 1970 and awarded to Vectrol Inc in 1980 for their energy saver based on the Nola circuit. Vectrol was bought out by Westinghouse, but split off again later to become Motortronics. Note that both Westinghouse (who became Cutler Hammer) and Motortronics have dumped this technology. That should tell you something.http://www.freepaten...om/4384243.html
If you also follow the link that says "View patents that cite this patent" you will see that a lot of other soft starters and energy savers were based on this basic design.
I should also note that Marke of this very forum was also one of the earliest patent holders for this technology, and HE is no longer convinced that it is worth the effort in most cases.