£40 million awarded to innovators paving the way for clean energy access in Africa, Asia, and the Indo-Pacific

1 December 2023, UK: Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst programme has awarded over £40 million in grant funding to a range of innovative projects with plans to harness clean energy and enable a just and inclusive energy transition.

The funding award was announced today by the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as part of a £316m package of announcements in support of an inclusive and just transition at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

The £40m is part of the Ayrton Fund for clean energy innovation, with this funding provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform, and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). It underscores the UK Government’s continued commitment to support the research development and demonstration of innovative technologies and business models necessary to foster affordable and clean energy for all.

This latest cohort of Energy Catalyst innovators have the potential to make a significant impact for communities across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Indo-Pacific region. As part of Round 10, 64 pioneering projects with activities spanning 24 countries will work to advance innovation in areas including next generation solar, smart green-grids, hydrogen, clean cooling, and renewable-based alternatives to fossil fuel generators.

Projects to receive grant funding and business support include Achelous Energy, which will demonstrate a floating oceanic solar farm in Indonesia, and ion Venture’s project which will develop an automatic battery swapping cabinet to help scale e-mobility in Uganda.  

Energy Catalyst will also support its first projects in Cambodia, Eswatini, Fiji, Malaysia and South Sudan. This includes SDG Changemakers, a project focusing on a feasibility study to increase access and affordability of clean energy on Fiji’s Kioa Island.

Energy Catalyst, running since 2014, is today the largest open call within the Ayrton Fund and aims to bolster sustainable energy solutions to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in targeted regions.

This latest round of funding brings the total value of grants provided by Energy Catalyst to over £160m in Overseas Development Assistance, driving impact across 46 countries through 320 supported projects partnering with over 600 organisations. Previously supported projects have continued to make a significant impact in the sector, having secured an additional £200m in further funding.

Mobile Power, a leading technology developer is transforming energy and transport through innovative and affordable, clean energy solutions. Its MOPO Hubs, powered by solar energy, allow customers to access energy without upfront costs. They offer secure pay-per-use MOPO batteries distributed by local Mobile Power agents. Previous Energy Catalyst grant funding and business support enabled the company to demonstrate its business model to investors and partners, contributing to a successful Series A investment round.

enee.io increases access to reliable and affordable energy by improving the life and efficiency of energy systems. Funding from Energy Catalyst enabled the company to demonstrate its solution, focused on increasing access to energy through improved battery life and performance in Nigeria. Alongside Energy Catalyst’s Round 8 grant funding, enee.io has successfully secured further equity funding and a follow-up project as part of Energy Catalyst Round 10.

Alice Goodbrook, Energy Catalyst Lead at Innovate UK said:

We are proud to see Energy Catalyst scale effectively to meet this increasingly urgent challenge and we look forward to working collaboratively with all the innovators being supported through this latest round. The breadth of technologies and regions represented signifies a crucial step towards achieving a more sustainable and equitable future, extending the benefits of clean energy for all.“

Energy Catalyst’s distinctive approach comprises three main elements; grant funding, collaboration building through brokerage activities to build partnerships, and acceleration support which is provided by a Carbon Trust-led consortium, including Mercy Corps Energy 4 Impact, Intellecap, Open Capital, Eigen Ventures, and a range of specialist partners.

Through the provision of both financial and advisory support to innovators, Energy Catalyst plays a pivotal role in creating strategic partnerships, channelling knowledge and insights, and developing business models that will commercialise solutions which improve lives.

Details of all projects funded through Round 10 of Energy Catalyst can be found on the Energy Catalyst website.