Innovate UK has launched the fifth round of the Energy Catalyst. Under this competition, businesses can apply for a share of £13 million for innovative projects that address the issues of cost, emissions, and security of supply. This helps businesses to meet the challenges faced by the energy sector, while at the same time turning them into an opportunity. There will be three types of awards made for projects that are in their early, mid, or late stage of development. Businesses can attract up to 70% of their project costs, which can vary between £50,000 and £10 million depending on the stage and can last between one and three years. More than 200 projects with a total value of £200 million have already been funded in the previous four rounds of the Energy Catalyst. This fifth round opens on 24 April 2017, and the deadline for registration is midday on 21 June 2017.
Previous competition results were announced last week, with funding of £18m awarded by Innovate UK to projects trialling new technology to ease traffic congestion, improve air quality, and boost energy storage. Under one successful project, Powervault will explore the storage of peak electricity from UK homes in used Nissan electric vehicle batteries. The 12-month trial of 50 units is designed to provide a disposal solution for car batteries, as well as being a power storage solution. Powervault will work in partnership with Nissan, Aston University, Hyde Housing, Lyra Electronics, M&S Energy, and Solarcentury. Another project will convert electricity into hydrogen at a mass scale to create affordable green energy for the transport sector. ITM Power will pilot the scheme with fuel cell buses in Birmingham. Innovate UK is an innovation body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Its purpose is to drive science and technology innovations that will also support economic growth in the UK. As well as funding projects, the organisation connects innovators with partners and helps them to launch and grow their businesses. The latest funding follows an announcement from BEIS and the Department of Transport that £109.7m will be spent on the development of driverless and low-carbon vehicles.