15 November 2022: A total of £26m of UK government grant funding has been awarded to climate tech innovators, as part of an announcement made today at COP27. This latest round of projects is part of Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst programme in support of its continued efforts to create and demonstrate new technologies and business models to deliver a just and inclusive clean energy transition in Africa and Asia.
The grant funding will support 64 projects involving 200 UK innovators and international partners across 25 countries, 16 of which are in Africa. The successful projects cover a range of innovation areas including smart green grids, low carbon hydrogen, energy storage, clean cooking solutions, next generation solar and sustainable cooling.
Speaking at COP27 today Minister for Climate Graham Stuart said: “I am delighted to announce the outcome of Energy Catalyst Round 9 which will award more than £26m of Ayrton funding to 200 clean energy innovators working in 25 countries, including 16 countries in Africa, pioneering solutions on energy storage, green grids, hydrogen, clean cooking, and more.”
Alice Goodbrook, Energy Catalyst lead, Innovate UK: “I am really excited to see the next wave of Energy Catalyst projects announced. We fund the innovation needed to create jobs, spur economic growth and drive a home-grown energy transition across developing countries with a focus on communities in Africa and Asia. As COP27 puts a spotlight on Africa and the urgent need for implementation we know that sometimes promising technology innovation is not enough. This is why we go beyond conventional grant funding with support that helps innovators to address cultural interdependencies when implementing projects and consider specific infrastructure needs in target markets to support successful commercialisation.”
Funding for Energy Catalyst comes from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) under the UK Government’s Ayrton Fund for clean energy innovation. FCDO funding is part of the scale-up of the FCDO’s Transforming Energy Access platform announced at COP26 in Glasgow.
Since its launch in 2014, Energy Catalyst has now supported over 750 energy innovators, including over 200 international partners in developing country markets. The programme has provided in excess of £100m of funding for energy access technologies and business models and improved energy access in 38 countries.
The Carbon Trust leads the accelerator programme for Energy Catalyst companies with support from Energy 4 Impact, Power for All, Intellecap and Open Capital Advisors.
Full details of all grant awardees are available here.
The next round of Energy Catalyst grant funding applications is expected to open on 30 January 2023.
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Details on a selection of projects to be funded as part of this round of Energy Catalyst:
- Modularity Grid which is partnering with two of the largest telecom industry players in Africa. The end goal of the project is to extend access to affordable, reliable and renewable energy to poor communities, while also helping address the urgent need for telecom towers to reduce their energy emissions and costs.
- 4RDigital is aiming to bring local assembly and manufacture of Lithium-Ion batteries to sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. The batteries will be equipped with technology to enable a wide range of productive use products to be developed for sale on a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) basis, opening up more opportunities for low-income customers to purchase the kit and make re-payments over time.
- Aston University will focus on off-grid modular cold rooms and pre-coolers for remote and dry areas in Ethiopia to address the lack of sustainable cooling which is the cause of 30-50% of food waste generated by the country, amounting to a $4.3 billion loss annually.
- S&AO will explore Hydrogen-empowered Hydro-Electric Grids (HyHEG) in Nepal with the aim of introducing hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and hydrogen-based cooking connected to a micro hydroelectric power station. It will substantially increase the storage of hydropower by converting surplus electricity into hydrogen. The Hydrogen can then be supplied to local homes as fuel gas for cooking, thus overcoming electric power limitations and ensuring modern, renewable cooking is made possible.
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information, visit the UK Research and Innovation website. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.
About the Ayrton Fund
The UK Government announced the Ayrton Fund commitment of up to £1bn for clean energy innovation at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019. It is part of the total £11.6bn of UK International Climate Finance also announced over the period from 2021 to 2026. The vision of the Ayrton Fund is to help drive forward the clean energy transition in developing countries, by creating and demonstrating new technologies and business models to deploy them. It will demonstrate UK leadership and expertise in cutting global emissions through world-leading innovations. The Ayrton Fund is delivered by the FCDO and BEIS via a portfolio of ongoing, new and scaled-up programmes.
About the Transforming Energy Access platform
Transforming Energy Access (TEA) is the flagship FCDO research and innovation programme supporting early-stage testing and scale-up of innovative technologies and business models that accelerate access to affordable, clean energy for poor households, enterprises, and social institutions in developing countries across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Indo-Pacific. This includes support to innovations across the three Ayrton Fund themes of clean supply, super-efficient demand and smart delivery, as well as integration of solutions across the three. In late 2021, a £126m scale-up of the platform was announced at COP26, further advancing TEA into a major delivery platform for the Ayrton Fund focused on delivering innovations enabling a Just Transition for the 733 million people who still lack access to electricity, the 2.4 billion people who cook using fuels detrimental to their health and the environment.