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Innovate UK is supporting two new competitions for net zero carbon emission projects at sea and on land

Innovate UK is supporting two new Department for Transport (DfT)-funded competitions for net zero carbon emission projects at sea and on land.

The £20 million clean maritime demonstration competition (GOV.UK website) could result in hydrogen-powered vessels and zero emission shore-side power becoming a common sight on our seas and in our coastal towns.

The competition is being run by Innovate UK on behalf of the DfT.

It will be used to support the development of prototype vessels and port infrastructure that could then be rolled out widely.

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This will propel the sector towards net zero, as the UK prepares to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit (GOV.UK website) in November.

£20 million competition

In a related development, Innovate UK is also partnering with DfT on a £20 million competition for net zero road freight projects.

This investment is for advanced feasibility studies for zero emission road freight, in the field of:

  • electric road system demonstration (Innovation Funding Service)
  • hydrogen fuel cell vehicles demonstration (Innovation Funding Service)
  • supply chain technology (Innovation Funding Service).
  • Additionally, there is dedicated support for the uptake of battery electric trucks (Innovation Funding Service) for public and private sector fleet operators.

Transport decarbonisation plan

The competition launches come as the government prepares to publish its transformational transport decarbonisation plan.

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The plan sets out how all modes of transport – sea, rail, road and aviation – can make the switch to net zero.

The project adds to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s councils’ long tradition of investing in cutting-edge research and innovation to understand, tackle and mitigate the effects of climate change.

UKRI will use its role as a steward of the research and innovation system to bring our communities together. We aim to create sustainable and resilient solutions and encourage new behaviours and new ways of living that enable the UK to reach net zero by 2050.

Innovations of the future

Announcing the maritime competition, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“We have a proud shipbuilding history and, together with industry, I am determined to build on that as we look to develop the innovations of the future and meet our net zero target.

We are revolutionising maritime technology and, from electric boats to hydrogen ports, we will change the way this country sails forever, and bring jobs and prosperity to the UK.”

Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK said:

“In the year the UK hosts COP26, Innovate UK and our partners are supporting a huge variety of decarbonisation initiatives. These programmes play a prominent role in reaching net zero and are testament to Innovate UK’s power to convene across sectors to help deliver those goals.

By harnessing the best ideas for the maritime and road freight sectors UK innovators will show us again how ingenuity to meet global challenges can be achieved and we call upon those innovators to get involved.”

Source: Science Business

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Haydale has been awarded a £1.1 million loan facility

Haydale, the Loughborough-based advanced materials group, has been awarded a £1.1 million loan facility by Innovate UK Loans Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of UK Research and Innovation.

Haydale, with the support of Innovate UK, is implementing its plan to expand its capacity to manufacture functionalised nanomaterials including Graphene to meet growing demand.

Haydale will be investing in a HT1400 plasma reactor and ancillary equipment to provide a facility to be able to increase production volume by at least eight-fold once fully optimised.

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The reactor will increase production at the Ammanford facility to an industrial level with capacity to functionalise over 30 tonnes per annum of graphene and other nanomaterials on a single shift pattern.

The Innovation Continuity Loan will be available for the company to drawdown in four quarterly tranches, commencing on the 31 March 2021 and the final tranche drawn by 31 December 2021.

Loan repayments will commence 27 months after the final drawdown and be paid over a subsequent period of 24 months. The Innovation Continuity Loan attracts at an interest rate of 7.4% per annum though only paid at 3.7% on the amount drawn down with the rest of the interest deferred until the repayment period commences. The company has signed the standard Innovate UK Loan agreement.

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Commenting on the announcement, Keith Broadbent, Chief Executive Officer of Haydale, said: “Haydale is delighted to have been awarded this loan by Innovate UK and is looking forward to significantly expanding our manufacturing output capacity to be ready to meet growing demand for our functionalised powders, inks, elastomers and composites.

“We are grateful to Innovate UK for their support of our strategy which will allow Haydale to deepen its roots in the UK industrial landscape, whilst supporting the UK’s high tech and advanced materials supply chain strategy.“

Source: East Midlands Business Link

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HG Ventures Partners with Innovate UK to Leverage Sustainable Startups

HG Ventures has announced a partnership with Innovate UK to leverage HG Ventures investments in environmentally sustainable innovation in the United Kingdom. Innovate UK is part of United Kingdom Research and Innovation, which directs research and innovation funding for the UK government. HG Ventures was chosen as the only investor outside Europe to participate in the program following a competitive selection process.

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Innovate UK is allocating grant funds to startups that can reduce energy and resource use or otherwise drive sustainable innovation. Startups that receive these grants must be funded by one of five investor partners and carry out a development project ranging from £50,000 to £2 million that runs between 12 and 24 months. HG Ventures has already made several European-based investments in its focus areas of environmental services, green chemistry, and sustainable infrastructure.

The UK Government has recognized the critical role that construction, materials, and chemicals industries – or “Foundation Industries” – play in powering its infrastructure and commerce. These industries contribute more than £50 billion to the UK economy, are responsible for 10% of UK carbon emissions, and consume substantial raw materials and energy. Innovate UK views innovation in these important market sectors as key to a greener, more sustainable future.

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“We are honored to be chosen by Innovate UK to identify companies for our collective investment, knowing the lasting positive impact these startups will make on the environment and the economy,” said Kip Frey, Managing Director of HG Ventures. “It is inspiring to be part of such a forward-looking vision, and exciting to participate in a program so closely aligned with our areas of investment focus and the industries in which The Heritage Group operates.”

HG Ventures makes initial investments globally ranging from $1-10 million as a lead or syndicate partner, with additional capital set aside for follow-ons. To date, HG Ventures has invested in UK companies in water safety and smart infrastructure and has made investments worldwide in sustainable and advanced materials, environmental management, electrification, and infrastructure startups.

Source: PR Newswire

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Fresh Corporate R&D Strategy is Needed for Post-pandemic Recovery

As the UK reached the first anniversary of the initial Covid-19 lockdown on 23 March 2020, it was a day to reflect on the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on our lives. We have all faced challenges over the year, with the crisis affecting homes and families, businesses and the economy.

There has been particular disruption to R&D-intensive businesses in some sectors – and therefore to UK research and innovation as a whole.

According to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), companies account for around 70% of all R&D activity in the country. While some R&D-intensive sectors, notably biopharmaceuticals and internet services, have weathered the COVID-storm, others such as aerospace, automotive and oil and gas, have been hard hit.

The ONS figures show that in 2018, those sectors that have been badly affected by the pandemic accounted for around £6 billion of UK R&D, nearly a quarter of total corporate investment.

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Companies in these sectors have suffered from a collapse in demand and unprecedented market conditions, resulting in structural changes and job losses. BP, Shell, Rolls Royce and Airbus all announced cuts to their workforces of between 10% – 20% last year, or 10,000 – 25,000 jobs per company. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders estimates 11,000 UK jobs were cut by carmakers and their supply chains in the six months to July 2020.

While there are uncertainties over the full impact on the wider research effort, CaSE has heard from leading companies that R&D has been scaled back significantly, as they focus on keeping cash in the business. Restoring R&D activity is expected to take years, not months. It seems likely there will be knock-on effects beyond these sectors, for example in the adoption of automation processes in manufacturing in general, or in the pace of cross-sector research programmes, such as in battery technology.

In the midst of this bleak picture come opportunities, as companies re-prioritise and focus on new growth areas. As one example, energy and transport companies are accelerating their ‘green revolution’. These could dove-tail with government priorities such as Net Zero and ‘Building back better’, given the right support.

Conditions for growth

The UK government has set a target of approximately doubling R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. In the face of the apparent blows to R&D in some quarters, and the aim of growing R&D as a whole, it seems wise to assess the state of corporate R&D.

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Given this, CaSE has called on the government to consider the value of a business R&D strategy, to provide a much-needed national, coordinated and concerted approach to incentivise and grow corporate R&D in the UK, and provide a platform to help drive recovery and prosperity, on a national and international level.

We were pleased therefore, when the government published ‘Build Back Better: our plan for growth’ earlier this month. This is a welcome step, with ideas on how to drive growth through infrastructure, skills and innovation. In particular, it promises an innovation strategy, to be published in the summer of 2021.

CaSE is actively informing the development of this strategy, and at pace. It is hoped long-standing ideas such as creating a digital shop window to simplify navigation of innovation support will be included, as well as initiatives to ensure resilience of the research and innovation system in the longer term. And the government will need to follow through swiftly from strategy to delivery in order to retain and stimulate business investment and ensure R&D plays a full role in the UK’s economic recovery.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be long-lasting. Reflecting a year on, we can see the opportunity presented by becoming the best place to conceive, develop and grow next generation technologies. An innovative, future-facing environment such as this could sustain the future of hard-hit businesses and drive the broader economic and health recovery we all want to see. Working together with business and government, CaSE is determined to turn this ambition into a reality.

By Sarah Main

Source: Science Business

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Companies to benefit from £28.5M investment into cutting edge equipment

Investment from the driving the electric revolution challenge at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is providing a critical financial boost to nine facilities located across the UK.

The £28.5 million investment in new equipment, which will be operational later this year, builds on existing capability and fills gaps in the UK’s current capability. The investment will enable a competitive electrification supply chain to be built across sectors, including:

  • industrial
  • transport
  • energy

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The new equipment

The new equipment consists of:

  • a high power integrated electrical propulsion and powertrain accelerator at the Power Networks Demonstration Centre, University of Strathclyde
  • assembly lines for power electronics and electrical machines at the North East Innovation Centre, Sunderland
  • a high frequency coil manufacturing and magnetic test facility at the University of Nottingham
  • a power electronics reliability and failure analysis facility and an electrical machines winding centre of excellence at the University of Warwick
  • a wide band gap power electronics component industrial pilot line at Swansea University
  • a production line for recycled sintered magnets at the University of Birmingham
  • a prototype facility for ceramic and copper elements and subassemblies for integrated modules at the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult in Newport.

Nationwide capability

Led by Newcastle University, this investment will play a vital role in bringing together a UK-wide network of over 30 academic, research and technology organisations. The network gives businesses the opportunity to:

  • develop manufacturing process technologies
  • industrialise the processes needed for power electronics, electric machines and drives (PEMD) scale up
  • reduce risk by sharing expertise, technical advice and facilities.

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Four regional industrialisation centres will coordinate and build on the UK’s national capability to deliver long-term sustainable growth on the road to net zero. The four centres are in:

  • Scotland
  • the south-west and Wales
  • the north-east
  • the Midlands.

Together they will help businesses scale up the use of electric-powered vehicles and machines across a range of industries and transport systems to grow the UK supply chain.

Making the UK a world leader in PEMD

Professor Will Drury, driving the electric revolution Challenge Director said:

“This investment represents a vital step forward in making the UK a world leader in PEMD.

With access to the centres and network open to all, we aim to give all UK businesses and researchers the ability to develop and scale new PEMD technologies and manufacturing processes.

Only by investing now in developing PEMD will the UK achieve its net zero ambitions.”

Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Strategy and Resources at Newcastle University said:

“At Newcastle University, we are delighted to be leading the driving the electric revolution industrialisation centres national project.

The support from UKRI allows us to bring to life a vision that was conceived by colleagues from across the UK and connects the UK’s best research and development across PEMD.

It is essential that the UK grasps the opportunity to lead in providing supply chains for electrification of multiple modes of transport if we are to maintain our manufacturing capacity and meet our targets for electric vehicles in 2030 and net zero carbon by 2050.”

Source: Science Business

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UK research and development tax reliefs under review by the government

At Budget 2021 the government announced a review of research and development (R&D) tax reliefs, supported by a consultation seeking views from stakeholders. The government hopes that, by reducing the costs of innovation, R&D tax reliefs will play a key role in achieving its ambitious target to raise total investment in R&D to 2.4% of UK GDP by 2027.

Structure and administration of the scheme

Currently, the two principal tax reliefs available to companies undertaking R&D in the UK are as follows:

  • R&D Expenditure Credit (RDEC): an “above the line” credit equal to 13% of qualifying R&D costs
  • R&D tax relief for small and medium enterprises (SME scheme): an additional deduction of 130% of qualifying costs from an SME’s profits on top of the normal 100% deduction, and, if lossmaking, a tax credit worth 14.5% of the surrenderable element of that loss.

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To qualify for relief, expenditure on R&D must be incurred on particular types of activity, currently limited to staffing costs, consumable or transformable materials (such as water, fuel and power of any kind), certain types of software, payments to clinical trials volunteers and, depending on the relief, some subcontracting costs.

The consultation

The government aims to maximise the additional R&D expenditure generated for each additional pound of tax (additionality) foregone under the R&D schemes, and ensure that administrative complexity is kept to a minimum. To achieve this the consultation asks stakeholders to consider:

Unifying schemes

The benefits and disadvantages of consolidating the two schemes into a single coherent system. The consultation proposes “RDEC for all”, with a higher rate for SMEs as a potential solution.

Claims process

Changes that might help claims to be dealt with more smoothly, while ensuring better compliance. This follows growing concerns that the current claims system does not provide adequate controls over the allocation of the increasingly large sums of tax reliefs being given for R&D.

International competition

Whether the rates of relief offered for R&D are internationally competitive, noting that the rate of relief provided by the SME scheme is significantly more generous than that provided by the RDEC when compared to global competitors. However, some countries with higher rates of relief achieve lower rates of additionality, where investment decisions would have proceeded without relief.

Qualifying R&D

Whether there are valuable activities that might currently be excluded from the scope of the reliefs, and for which a case can be made in terms of their economic value for example, data and cloud computing.

Varying rates of R&D support

In line with other countries who have varied their rates of R&D support by sector and activity, whether this could be used to incentivise R&D with specific social value, for example developing green technology.

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Claiming outside London & South East

How the offer of R&D tax reliefs could be improved to better support R&D in different regions across the UK as opposed to London, the South East or the East of England, where claims tend to be concentrated.

Expenditure outside the UK

Recognising that the spill over benefits are likely to be greater where activity takes place domestically; whether there should be provision in the R&D tax reliefs requiring expenditure to take place in the UK.

The UK Patent Box

In conjunction with the R&D tax relief schemes, UK companies can take advantage of the Patent Box if they are liable to pay Corporation Tax and if they are currently making a profit by exploiting patented inventions and/or other qualifying forms of IP. Companies who elect in to the Patent Box will pay a reduced rate of Corporation Tax at 10% on all relevant IP income from qualifying IP rights. The Patent Box will be increasingly beneficial to eligible companies as the UK corporation tax rate is set to rise from 19 percent, to 25 percent, from 1 April 2023.

Source: Lexology

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App backed by Innovate UK to begin Wakefield trial

Wakefield-based Not Usual Ltd, the company behind engagement app Bleisure Rewards, has announced its new ‘Eat Out Round About’ app will launch with a trial in its home city backed by Innovate UK.

Backed by the government’s Innovate UK fund, the ‘Eat Out Round About’ scheme has been designed to support hospitality by providing customers with vouchers for meal discounts.

Ahead of a national roll out, the app will launch with a Wakefield trial from 22nd March and will focus on takeaway food only in line with restrictions.

It said the scheme could inject up to £30,000 into hospitality businesses in the city.

Local businesses purchase Eat Out Round About vouchers for their employees and customers who can use the app at local restaurants.

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Once given a code, customers can download the free app and redeem their voucher for up to £10 off at a participating restaurant.

Rolled out across three periods, each launching as hospitality reopens, the trial is backed by Wakefield Council and key local organisations including Theatre Royal Wakefield and the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Local businesses including The Quarry at Horbury, Marmalade on the square, Horse & Jockey, Corarima and Tet are already signed up to the scheme.

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Created by Wakefield based entrepreneur Ali Gordon, Eat Out Round About is the result of years of work on a previous project ‘Bleisure Rewards’ that was repurposed as the pandemic took hold in 2020.

Denise Jeffery of Wakefield Council said: “We are delighted to have been involved in the research, design and roll out of the trials when hospitality re-opens and shape the platform to help local economies to thrive.”

By Alistair Hardaker

Source: Prolific North

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Research funding cut is a blow to Global Britain

The UK government is being warned it risks doing serious, long-term harm to the country’s university research base.

The vice chancellors of Cambridge and Oxford have told ministers not to take funds for continued participation in the EU’s science programme from within the existing national research budget.

To do so would effectively represent a £1bn cut in support, they write in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The government says it will set out its plans for R&D spend shortly.

  • Space projects scrubbed in UK overseas aid cut
  • Cummings wanted to double science budget
  • SciTech moves to the heart of UK security

Prof Stephen Toope and Prof Louise Richardson’s comments voice a concern that has been growing in the research establishment ever since the Brexit Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) was signed at the end of last year.

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The TCA made provision for Britain to associate to the EU’s research framework, the latest iteration of which is called Horizon Europe. But the London government has not yet made clear how a subscription – likely to be €1-2bn a year – will be funded.

Profs Toope and Richardson say the money must be additional; it cannot be taken from the existing budget line of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the agency responsible for dispersing grants for university research.

Were that to happen, “the consequences for British science and innovation will be nothing short of calamitous”, their Telegraph comment says.

“It would… be deeply damaging,” Oxford’s Prof Richardson told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

“Treasury is facing many difficult decisions at the moment. But we think this is an investment in our future that we as universities can help the government realise its ambitions to be a science superpower, and, indeed, to be a ‘Global Britain’.”

Last week UKRI wrote to universities to tell them that funding was being reduced in another area of international collaboration – those projects supported through the overseas aid budget.

The agency said it would now have only £125m to distribute in the coming financial year, even though it had already approved support for projects to the tune of £245m, which itself was well short of the £500m originally promised through what’s called Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Projects affected range across the board from global health and green energy to agriculture, violence reduction, and women’s safety.

Prof Jenni Barclay, a volcanologist at the University of East Anglia, helped organise a rapid petition to oppose the ODA cut, collecting more than 3,000 signatures.

“What’s absolutely unprecedented about the action that’s having to be taken because of the size of this cut is that this is stopping projects that have been competitively funded, and are already in process,” she told the BBC’s Science In Action programme on the BBC World Service.

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It is the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which leads on science funding in the UK.

A spokesperson told the BBC this week that the UK remained “a world-leading aid donor” and would be spending “more than £10bn this year to address poverty, tackle climate change, fight Covid and improve global health”.

In response to the letter from Profs Toope and Richardson, BEIS pointed to the written answer science minister Amanda Solloway gave to her shadow, Labour’s Chi Onwurah, at the beginning of the month.

This stated that the government would set out R&D spending plans for 2021/22 – including funding for Horizon Europe – in due course.

“Participating in Horizon Europe will strengthen R&D to build on the UK’s world class reputation for research and innovation,” the minister said.

“It provides exciting opportunities for UK businesses and SMEs to support growth and innovation, working with our international partners. Business organisations and researchers have strongly welcomed us securing this outcome.”

By Jonathan Amos

Source: BBC

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UKRI awards £171M in UK decarbonisation to nine projects

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has today announced a milestone in UK decarbonisation, with the award of £171 million funding across nine significant projects.

The funding is being awarded through UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) decarbonisation of industrial clusters phase two: deployment competition. It is delivered by the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge.

Significant emissions reduction

In the competition, projects were expected to be able to support delivery of significant emissions reduction in at least one UK industrial cluster by 2030. This is in line with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy industrial clusters mission.

The nine winning projects include:

  • three offshore storage sites for CO2 (in the north-west, north-east and Scotland)
  • CO2 capture and/or hydrogen production projects in the north-west, Scotland, Teesside, Humberside (two projects) and south Wales.

The competition ran through the second half of 2020. It aims to deliver significant reductions in industrial CO2 emissions in industrial clusters by 2030 through development of offshore storage and onshore infrastructure.

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Projects were required to demonstrate:

  • the regional and national significance of their proposals
  • how net zero could be delivered in their region by 2040, supporting the UK target of net zero by 2050.

The successful projects include:

  • HyNet’s plan to develop a full-chain hydrogen project in the North West, including repurposing old oil and gas assets for CO2 transport and storage
  • south Wales industrial cluster’s plans to provide the UK with lower carbon steel and reduced carbon cement products that will benefit wider UK infrastructure.

Low-carbon industrial sector

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low-carbon industrial sector.

While reaching our climate targets will require extensive change across our economy, we must do so in a way that protects jobs, creates new industries and attracts inward investment – without pushing emissions and business abroad.

Ahead of COP26, the UK is showing the world how we can cut emissions, create jobs and unleash private investment and economic growth. Today’s strategy builds on this winning formula as we transition low carbon and renewable energy sources, while supporting the competitiveness of Britain’s industrial base.”

Bryony Livesey, challenge director for the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, UKRI, said:

“The announcement of this funding is a significant step in our progress of supporting largescale decarbonisation efforts, and we are looking forward to working alongside the projects as they put their revolutionary plans into action.

The benefits to these regional clusters will be substantial, both in terms of the environmental impact, as well as the opportunity for jobs and increasing the global competitiveness of industry in these areas. It once again demonstrates the UK’s industry as being at the forefront of innovation and creating greener solutions for the future.”

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Cutting-edge research and innovation

This investment adds to UKRI’s long tradition of investing in cutting-edge research and innovation to understand, tackle and mitigate the effects of climate change.

This year the UK hosts the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit in November. UKRI will use its role as a steward of the research and innovation system to bring our communities together. We aim to create sustainable and resilient solutions and encourage new behaviours and new ways of living that enable the UK to reach net zero by 2050.

About the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge

UKRI’s £171 million Industrial Decarbonisation programme is part of the ISCF. It aims to support the development of low-carbon technologies that will increase the competitiveness of industry and contribute to the UK’s drive for clean growth.

It will reduce the carbon footprint of heavy and energy intensive industries in the UK, such as:

  • iron and steel
  • cement
  • refining and chemicals.

Funding will be focused on developing technologies such as:

  • carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS)
  • hydrogen fuel switching.

The technologies will be deployed and scaled up within the UK’s largest industrial clusters.

Funding from the challenge will drive industrial decarbonisation whilst enhancing productivity for these regions, to create new jobs for a low-carbon future.

This challenge is the first active funding stream as part of a wider government commitment to cut industrial emissions. It will develop at least one low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030, and the world’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 in support of the industrial clusters mission.

Source: Science Business

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Innovate UK boost for a lithium drilling project

A leading firm in Cornwall’s burgeoning lithium mining industry has received a £3million boost from the Government’s innovation agency.

Innovate UK has given £2,902,126 to Roche-based British Lithium Ltd for a pilot scheme to drill for the valuable car battery metal near St Austell.

British Lithium has become the first company in the UK to extract lithium, from granite in Cornwall, and has already received £500,000 from Innovate UK in 2020.

The metal is used in batteries for electric cars, and could eventually attract electric battery gigafactories to the UK. It has received the cash because the Government is keen to “transition to an electric vehicle future post Covid-19”.

The project is one of four in the South West, amid 19 in the UK, to win Innovate UK backing because they are aiming to cut CO2 and help the environment and address the economic effects of the pandemic and help power an economic recovery.

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Also winning cash are Bristol’s iCOMAT, which has been given £1,936,494 to develop lightweight automotive fibre-steered structures; while Dorset’s Mas Design Products Ltd, with £986,160 for development of zero-carbon transport.

And Wiltshire’s Naturbeads Ltd, received £170,479 to create cellulose microbeads. The eco-start-up aims to develop a new process that turns cellulose from fibres into spherical form to replace microplastic beads. Microplastics, often used in personal care products, are polluting, whilst cellulose is natural, renewable and 100% biodegradable.

In total, the 19 projects around the UK have received £27million of Government funding under the Sustainable Innovation Fund (SIF). Other projects include one that aims to make tidal power generation commercially viable; and another that recovers high-value polymers from currently incinerated NHS waste, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2.

Innovate UK’s SIF was announced by ministers in June 2020. Totalling £200million, the fund ensures that innovative ideas and projects led by companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus will not be lost.

It helps power the UK’s economic recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities, while supporting the UK’s goals to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Among other projects winning support is Glasgow-based Flex Marine Power Ltd, which has been awarded £1.9million to develop its SwimmerTurbine, a 50kW tidal turbine. This aims to make the harnessing of the UK’s abundant tidal resource for power generation commercially feasible

And with the pandemic resulting in an increase in NHS clinical waste, Tyneside-based Impact Recycling Limited will use its technology to recover high-value polymers from currently incinerated waste.

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Receiving £3million in funding, the project will recycle a stream of sterilised clinical medical waste from NHS Scotland, directly saving up to 87,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually based on this NHS contract alone.

All the funding delivered through Innovate UK forms part of a wider £750million package of grants and loans announced in April 2020 to support innovative firms. This sits alongside the new £500million Future Fund, which provides match-funding to private investors.

In the past year Innovate UK has supported UK firms with £550million of grants and loans as part of its Covid-19 response. In total 1,090 SIF projects have been supported with £160million.

Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Reaching our net zero goal will mean harnessing the innovation and creativity of entrepreneurs across the country, which is why I am thrilled to see Innovate UK backing these excellent projects across the UK.

“It is precisely this kind of ingenuity which will help us to build back greener from the pandemic. I look forward to seeing how these projects make the most of this funding in the months and years ahead.”

Simon Edmonds, deputy executive chair and chief business officer, Innovate UK, said: “UK innovators have risen to the challenge of the pandemic to come up with big, bold ideas to help the economy roar back in a sustainable way. By supporting enterprise and academia all over the country, Innovate UK is backing not only business but our net-zero goals.”

By William Telford

Source: Business Live

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