International: Innovating for Clean Air (India)

Air quality in urban areas of India can be impacted by a mix of different emissions – fossil fuel burning power plants, heavy industries, construction, agricultural burning and of course traffic.

Last year, the cities of London and Bengaluru led the C40 Air Quality Network, a global effort to tackle air pollution in urban areas across the world. Following on the UK and India have launched a two-year joint initiative – called the Innovating for Clean Air (IfCA) programme – providing opportunities for businesses to improve air quality monitoring and electric vehicle interventions.

The IFCA programme is led by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and delivered by Energy Systems Catapult, Connected Places Catapult and Satellite Applications Catapult. The programme is funded by the Newton Fund with matched resources from various partners in Karnataka and India.

The Challenge and opportunity

Of the world’s 30 most polluted 30 cities, 22 are in India, according to research by IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally, and Greenpeace. India and Indian states are also setting ambitious goals for the update of Electric Vehicles.

The IFCA programme aims to support UK and Indian firms to develop innovations to improve air quality and tackle pollution at source in Bengaluru by addressing challenges related to charging infrastructure, grid management and the integration of renewable energy.

The innovation partnership also aims to strengthen capacity to promote the economic development and social welfare in India; and provide export opportunities for UK companies in the wider environmental sector through enhanced collaboration.

Our Approach

During the IFCA programme, Energy Systems Catapult and Connected Places Catapult will identify market opportunities in Bengaluru for collaboration between UK and Indian SMEs in the air quality and EV transition sectors.

Through engagement with Indian stakeholders in Bengaluru, the Catapults have identified some of the key EV and air quality challenge areas for the city and Indian enterprise. Following identification of these challenge areas, the Catapult’s launched an open call in the UK to find small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who could deliver innovative solutions.

We aim to enable the introduction and early adoption of the selected EV and air quality products and services by deploying them in a real-life urban testbed in Bengaluru, India for up to 9 months from March through to December 2020 and creating tangible collaboration opportunities for UK and Indian innovators.

The programme will also include work by Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC). SAC are working with 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 aims 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.