Increasing electric vehicle uptake and reducing air pollution are crucial, interrelated challenges for cities worldwide. Replacing petrol/diesel cars with electric vehicles (EVs) could have a hugely positive impact on air quality and health, as well as supporting climate goals.
To address these challenges, in 2019 Energy Systems, Connected Places and Satellite Applications Catapults with collaborative partners in India, launched the Innovating for Clean Air project. Led by Energy Systems Catapult, the project was a two-year initiative funded by UK Research and Innovation and focused on the Karnataka state capital city of Bengaluru.
67 million deaths in India in 2019 were attributed to air pollution, 17.8% of all deaths in the country.
Reducing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle usage could have a hugely positive impact of air quality in India, and across the world. Globally transport is thought to account for 23% of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and a study in New Delhi found that the transport sector accounted for 19% of PM10, 39% of PM2.52 and 81% of NOx3 emissions in the city.
Through engagement with Indian stakeholders in Bengaluru, the Catapults identified some of the key EV and air quality challenge areas for the city and Indian enterprise. Then launched an open call in the UK to find small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who could deliver innovative solutions.
We aimed to enable the introduction and early adoption of selected EV and air quality products and services by deploying them in real-life urban testbeds in Bengaluru, India; creating tangible collaboration opportunities for UK and Indian innovators.
These Clean Air Testbeds involved a cohort of 17 high potential UK and Indian SMEs developing innovative clean air and electric vehicle solutions.
Out of those, nine deployed their solutions on the Clean Air Street – a collaborative initiative between the Connected Places and Energy Systems Catapults, the Directorate of Urban Land Transport, and the Indian Institute of Science. The other eight cohort carried out experiments in multiple locations across the city, including office buildings, residential areas, schools and university campuses.
Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) are also working with SME Earthsense to develop a unique measurement system for air quality by integrating satellite, ground and mobile sensor data to deliver a detailed localised map of the air quality to help support the integration of EVs within the city of Bengaluru.
Led by the UK’s Catapult Network and providing a unique business collaborative Indian and UK innovators, the project aimed to increase the evidence base for policy that delivers cleaner air, while creating a replicable model which can be used in other cities and countries.
Clean Air Street
The Catapults collaborated with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Bengaluru to transform one of the central streets in the city into a ‘Clean Air Street’.
The street provided a testbed for 10+ UK and Indian clean air and electric vehicle SMEs/start-ups to showcase their solutions, test them in a real-life context, gather consumer feedback and encourage citizen awareness and sustainable behaviour.
Working with partners, the Catapults have been able to capture and investigate the impact of the street closure on air pollution, quality of life for residents and visitors, and the economic impact on local businesses.
Clean Air Testbed
In addition to the Clean Air Street initiative, the programme supported other SMEs/start-ups and partners to deliver pilot projects in multiple locations across Bengaluru, including these four outlined below.
CityEV has been established to design and manufacture the next generation of charge points that will address the challenges faced by infrastructure providers. Through the Clean Air Testbed, CityEV deployed their charge point into three pilot projects in India. CityEV worked with government and private partners, one of these being eee-taxi, an electric vehicle fleet with operations in Bengaluru.
Energeo create unique data for towns and cities by digitally studying the built environment- using sources such as satellite imagery and LiDar – to automatically identify the most beneficial locations to deploy low-carbon technologies such as Solar PV, Heat Pumps and EV charge points. Through the Clean Air Testbed, Energeo worked in collaboration with the Karnataka State’s ‘Directorate of Urban Land Transport’ (DULT) to deploy geospatially focused, data driven techniques to identify demand and the optimal position for on street and public EV charging infrastructure in areas of the state’s capital city, Bengaluru.
EV Technology aims to make the transition of vehicle fleets to electric as easy as possible. They support fleet providers by analysing and advising on everything from infrastructure requirements and installation, to managing and monitoring vehicles and eco-driving training. Through the Clean Air Testbed, EV Technology worked with eee-taxi to adapt their existing IoT platform to enable more efficient operation of their electric vehicle fleet.
GreenEnco provides strategic and risk management consulting services for renewable energy including technical and financial services across the complete solar PV project lifecycle and energy storage projects. Through the Clean Air Testbed, GreenEnco designed and installed an integrated solution of solar pv with battery storage and EV charging infrastructure at the Indian Institute of Science campus.
A number of economic, environmental and capacity development impacts have occurred as a direct result of the project.
The Clean Air Street initiative created a demonstration area where SME/start-up businesses could test and showcase their technology in a real world setting. The SME/start-ups who deployed in the Clean Air Street highlighted the positive impact the initiative had had on their business, with many sharing details of user feedback gathered and how it will help their future business plans.
The Clean Air Testbed supported a number of SME/start-up businesses in accessing the Indian market. The pilot projects enabled the SME/start-up businesses to forge good partnerships for future research and demonstration, showcase their technologies and to explore commercial opportunities.
The project has also achieved environmental impacts, for example by supporting innovators with environmentally friendly solutions to develop and test their solutions. Five air quality sensors have been installed in residential areas allowing families to monitor indoor air quality in real time and undertake various activities to improve it, while four air quality sensors have been installed in a coworking space enabling the facilities team to understand the impact of indoor air quality on employee health and wellbeing.
A number of project activities directly focused on capacity development, the types of impacts aimed for included raising citizen, stakeholder and policy maker awareness of issues and providing tools, data and processes to support evidence-based decision-making.
Alistair Clarke, Founder and CEO of EV Technology
“EV Technology is extremely grateful to Energy Systems Catapult for making it possible for a young UK SME to explore opportunities in India and for identifying a project partner for this exciting pilot study. “Through the project, we have identified ways to create a lower cost approach, to make it more relevant for the Indian market. This has had the added benefit of potentially opening up use cases in the European market which may have otherwise gone untapped. “We continue to collaborate with the project partner in India and with Energy Systems Catapult to extend our work in the exciting arena of electric mobility.”