Nominee: Stephen Grant Grant Engineering

 

IT WAS in the 1970's when Stephen Grant was engaged in the installation of back boilers he saw an opportunity in the marketplace to design a back boiler with greater efficiency, easy to install and also easy to clean and maintain. He started production in the late 1970's and in 1980 Grant Engineering commenced trading.

This company is now one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of domestic oil fired boilers in Ireland and leads the way in oil fired condensing boiler technology.

Grant recalls the first product he invented - the twin flue square cut boiler capable of burning peat, wood or coal.

This was followed by the very highly efficient triple pass back boiler.

At the time of its launch it was tested in the UK and was found to be the most efficient back boiler ever tested up to that point.

Based at Birr, Co Offaly, the company's turnover has increased significantly each year, from €48 million in 2005 to €58 million in 2006 and €75 million in the last financial year.

Employment numbers have increased, from 15 in 1981 to over 270 at present.

In 1996 Grant Engineering (UK) Limited was formed to market all of their products there. Because of their high efficiency levels the Grant products currently fitted save over 350,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Grant says there is significant further growth potential for the company.

It is estimated there are some 500,000 inefficient boilers in use in Ireland and the UK. These will be replaced over time with condensing boilers.

Product/Service:

Grant Engineering manufactures a range of oil fired condensing central heating boilers, all designed by Stephen and the company's in-house research and development team.

All of the products are fully patented. All of these products are the most efficient on the market and occupy the top 14 positions on the market in terms of efficiency.

Customers:

The products are distributed through the builder's merchants throughout Ireland and the UK including Chadwicks, Heatmerchants, Plumbase, Travis Perkins, Wolseley and all the other large and small outlets throughout Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

Q&A: Stephen Grant

What vision prompted you to start up in business?

The first oil crisis in Ireland arose in the mid 1970's when people began to turn to solid fuel as an alternative.

I discovered the solid fuel boilers on the market were poorly designed and inefficient. This inspired me to develop products with high output and efficiency and led to the invention of the Twin Pass and Triple Pass back boilers.

What is your biggest business achievement?

The design of the most efficient products on the market, with the lowest carbon emission rates.

The company currently has 50 per cent of the UK market share in oil condensing boilers. To date we have over 40 patents granted on our products with several more pending. All of these are based on radical innovation.

How do you re-charge your batteries?

I enjoy taking long walks in Birr Castle Demesne and surrounding countryside.

I am a director of Birr Scientific and Heritage Foundation which oversees the restoration of the world famous Birr Telescope. I like to spend time working on my classic cars collection and I also enjoy travel.