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Harwell Campus and Allia will be testbeds for SMEs demonstrating new energy storage innovations
HARWELL, UK (16 December 2020) The Faraday Institution and Cambridge Cleantech are leading the UK’s delivery of a European programme – called STEPS – which aims to strengthen the competitiveness of businesses in North-West Europe who provide innovative energy storage solutions. Two UK testbeds on the Harwell Campus and at Allia Future Business Centre will allow small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to demonstrate new technologies and put them on the journey to bring innovative energy storage products to market.
Applications for SMEs to receive knowledge and business support will open on 11th January 2021. Further details here.
The Interreg North-West Europe STEPS programme offers support to 40 businesses through a competitive product enhancement voucher programme – valued at 12,5k€ each. Additionally, 20 of these companies will receive expert support worth 50k€ each to demonstrate their technology at regional testbeds throughout North-West Europe.
The programme will provide additional support through business partners and knowledge partners from Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom to strengthen the competitiveness of innovative energy storage (e-storage) providers in North-West Europe.
For the UK, the Faraday Institution will serve as the STEPS knowledge partner and Cambridge Cleantech as the STEPS business support partner. Together they will offer SMEs a user-centric, demand-driven approach to bring their products closer to the market through tailored testing. Specifically, knowledge and business partners will advise e-storage SMEs on entering new markets in North-West Europe, engage with potential end-users, and increase the awareness of solution providers. STEPS will also connect end-users with providers of new e-storage solutions via a business support programme to increase their technological readiness level (TRL) through real-life testing.
The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, skills development, market analysis, and early-stage commercialisation. It will support SMEs through its links into the UK’s battery research and innovation network and, if needed, can quickly mobilise resources to address specific technical challenges through “Industry Sprint” projects.
Within the consortium, Cambridge Cleantech will actively reach out to potential energy storage SMEs within the UK. As the British business support organisation, Cambridge Cleantech will play a pivotal role in connecting these innovative energy storage SMEs with the recruited testbeds. The organisation will make sure that the selected SMEs can tailor, implement and test their innovative storage products on the UK test beds.
Ian Ellerington, Head of Technology Transfer at the Faraday Institution commented: “We are excited to be working with the North-West Europe consortium funded by Interreg to demonstrate the latest energy storage technologies in realistic applications across international boundaries. We welcome the opportunity to assist growing businesses realise their commercial ambitions. Our links into the UK’s battery research and innovation network and base at Harwell Campus mean we are well placed to provide technical advice to businesses innovating in e-storage and help supercharge their route to market.”
Sam Goodall, International Programme Manager at Cambridge Cleantech commented: “Cambridge Cleantech supports entrepreneurs, researchers and corporates across the low carbon economy and as the transition from fossil fuels to renewables continues to accelerate, we are proud to be part of this innovative project to commercialise game-changing energy storage solutions. Our goal is to facilitate innovation partnerships and technology commercialisation in the energy sector.”
Emma Southwell-Sander from the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council is the Development Manager of the EnergyTec Cluster at Harwell Campus and commented: “The Faraday Institution is world-renowned for their expertise in energy innovation. As part of the ‘Net Zero Living Laboratory’ in Harwell’s EnergyTec cluster, young innovative businesses will have direct access to the wealth of resources and knowledge they possess, and I’m excited by the prospect of this funding bolstering their mission to revolutionise the UK’s battery capabilities.”
“Allia Future Business Centre is excited to be supporting the STEPS programme by acting as a testbed for these emerging energy storage technologies,” commented Director, David Broach. “Supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs in developing low-carbon technologies is core to our mission and we look forward to working with Cambridge Cleantech and the rest of the consortium in supporting this programme.”
Notes to editors
Powering Britain’s battery revolution, the Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. Bringing together expertise from universities and industry, the Faraday Institution endeavours to make the UK the go-to place for the research and development of new electrical storage technologies for both the automotive and wider relevant sectors.
The first phase of the Faraday Institution is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of UK Research and Innovation through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). Headquartered at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, the Faraday Institution is a registered charity with an independent board of trustees.
About Harwell Science and Innovation Campus
With a heritage of 75 years at the forefront of UK innovation and discovery, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus is a 700-acre site in Oxfordshire and home to ~200 science and technology organisations including £2billion of the UK’s open access national laboratories. Managed by the Harwell Joint Venture, a 50/50 public/private partnership, Harwell Campus continues to drive scientific advancements to the benefit of the UK economy and to improve the human condition, centred around an open innovation community and culture. The contribution that Harwell makes to the UK is significant - leading in research and developing next generation technologies in key global markets, including Life Sciences, Space, Energy, Supercomputing, AI and Big Data. With an international community of over 6,000 people employed across public, private, and academic organisations of all size, and an estimated GVA of over £1billion, Harwell provides job creation and economic growth that benefits the entire country.
Cambridge Cleantech is a leading membership organisation connecting innovators, corporates, academics, SMEs and investors for a smarter, more sustainable future. Firmly at the heart of the Cambridge Phenomenon, we operate as a global hub for cleantech innovation and are linked to some of the most highly innovative centres both in the UK, including London and Oxford, and internationally through our global cluster partners. Visit https://cambridgecleantech.org.uk/ and follow @CamCleantech on Twitter.
Allia Future Business Centre
Allia Future Business Centres offer flexible workspace and a vibrant community for small businesses who are creating change, as well as running free business support programmes and leading innovative impact projects. The not-for-profit organisation is dedicated to supporting businesses to thrive, grow and create jobs, so that they can make a positive impact on their community, as well as addressing social and environmental global challenges.
Allia Ltd, its parent company, is a charity that has for over 21 years, been focused on supporting charitable organisations and social enterprises through innovative social finance and a range of support initiatives. It has supported hundreds of businesses and enterprises so that they can deliver local employment, training programmes and community projects across the UK.
STEPS aims to support SMEs in the development of innovative medium-scale power storage solutions tailored to key end-user groups. The total budget received from Interreg North West Europe (2020-23) is Euro 3m from the European Regional Development Fund.