Next generation energy innovators to get £24m cash boost

Next generation energy innovators will receive a £24m cash boost to develop new technologies that will decarbonise UK industry, build home-grown energy supplies and help prepare the country for a net zero future. Thirty-seven British companies, including small and medium sized enterprises and start-ups, will get a share of the £19m Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.

The money will drive forward their innovations to reduce carbon emissions, develop clean energy and improve energy efficiency in people’s homes. The UK-wide projects will allow industry to play its part in helping the country meet its 2050 net zero target by delivering decarbonisation solutions, as well as potentially creating hundreds of green jobs and triggering private sector investment worth millions. The winning projects include:

  • offshore wind robotic inspectors: Inductive Power Projection Ltd, based in Cornwall, which will use their £444,080 funding to develop an innovative high-frequency wireless charging demonstrator to power floating off-shore wind autonomous ‘robotic’ drones, to inspect and maintain offshore wind farms
  • solar architecture: Build Solar Ltd (a spin out from Exeter University) received £271,933 to develop a low-cost glass brick called Solar Squared for buildings, collecting solar energy via the walls themselves, allowing buildings to generate their own power
  • offshore wind communications: Jet Engineering System Solutions, based in the south-east, received £255,754 to develop a 5G floating network enabling high-speed, dependable long-range communications at sea to aid wind farm installation
  • decommissioning oil wells: Clearwell Technology Ltd, based in Scotland, received £223,872 to design a thermal pipe milling tool for well plugging – a green tech that could transform how oil and gas wells are sustainably decommissioned

Secretary of State for the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero, Grant Shapps said: “The UK is a nation of innovators, and this funding will help the next generation of energy pioneers develop cheap and green technologies of the future. This will not only deliver more green jobs and cheaper energy but also create world-leading solutions to help us reach net zero and economic growth.”

Also announced , the government will launch a £5m Local Industrial Decarbonation Plans competition this summer. The competition will support groups of industrial businesses such as glass, cement and ceramics manufacturers, join together in ‘clusters’. Along with other key stakeholders including local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), these ‘local industrial clusters’ will develop coordinated and collaborative decarbonisation plans that will kickstart their journey towards a low-carbon future.

The Local Industrial Decarbonation Plans competition will take a similar approach to how existing clusters like Teesside and Black Country are tackling industrial carbon emissions. Representing a major step forward in helping dispersed industrial sites begin their journey to decarbonise in the 2020s, this builds on one of the key commitments the government set out in their Net Zero Strategy. Winners are set to be announced in later in 2023, and further detail about the competition will follow in the spring.

The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and Local Industrial Decarbonisation Plans competition will not only help to supercharge the UK’s move to domestic renewable energy – they also form part of the government’s wider plans to bring down the cost of energy by enabling the development of green global solutions of the future.

Bruce Cardno, Director of Clearwell Technology said: “We are thrilled to have the support of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund which will allow us to bring our thermal pipe milling technology for oil and gas well decommissioning to market faster, helping us to achieve our goal of delivering step change in the cost of decommissioning of legacy oil and gas infrastructure.

James Thomas, CEO of Jet Engineering System Solutions, said: “EEF funding support is an incredibly valuable step for JET in our innovation deployment roadmap, facilitating a major trial of our 5G base station platforms. We are looking forward to getting started with the project R&D and making the most of the support of the government throughout.”