Five-year funding confirmed for Catapult network

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The UK Government has today confirmed its long-term support for Energy Systems Catapult’s mission, with the Chancellor announcing a funding commitment for the next five years.

In announcing a £780m investment for six of the UK’s internationally renowned Catapult network, this long-term investment will allow them to expand their support for businesses wishing to innovate and invest in R&D, and should see industry invest well over £1.5bn in R&D alongside the Catapults over the next 5-years, with the ambition to raise investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

Energy Systems Catapult is helping to deliver the Clean Growth Grand Challenge within the UK Industrial Strategy.

Energy Systems Catapult chief executive Phil New said: “The transformation of the UK energy system is estimated to be worth hundreds of billions to the UK economy over the next three decades and the Government’s Industrial Strategy recognises this as “one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time” in which “whole new industries will be created”.

“By one estimate the low carbon economy in Britain could grow at 11% a year to 2030, four times faster than the rest of the economy, and deliver as much as £170 billion in exports.

“Digitalisation and decarbonisation is transforming the UK’s energy system, with emerging digital enablers – including artificial intelligence, big data, internet of things sensing and machine learning – [are expected to] playing a growing [central] role in driving innovation and economic growth, empowering the UK to gain a competitive edge in global markets and deliver affordable energy bills to UK consumers and industry.

“Energy Systems Catapult wants to help the UK energy sector overcome current barriers blocking innovation, unleashing new the products, services and value chains that open new markets in the energy system to capture the growth opportunity recognised in the UK Industrial Strategy.”

Energy Systems Catapult is currently involved with many innovation projects, including:

  • Supporting the roll out of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies, by studying how to reward drivers who use their electric car batteries to support the UK’s power grid. Energy Systems Catapult is providing modelling support in a consortium that includes two SMEs – Element Energy, Moixa – and three larger businesses Nissan, National Grid and Western Power Distribution.
  • The €11 million Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) project launched in Orkney alongside Scotrenewables Tidal Power to develop an all-in-one tidal power and hydrogen solution for the generation of clean predictable energy, grid management, and the production of hydrogen from excess tidal capacity.
  • DTOcean+ – a three year €8 million project funded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme – alongside Nova Innovation, the University of Edinburgh and a number of European partners is developing and demonstrating an open source suite of design tools for the selection, development, deployment and assessment of ocean energy systems (including sub-systems, energy capture devices and arrays).
  • Five separate Demand Side Response feasibility studies alongside Energy Trading Ireland, Boxergy, PassivSystems, Evergreen and Levelise.
  • A collaboration with the Power Networks Demonstration Centre in Strathclyde, we are working with an SME – Neuville Grid Data – who are developing a ground-breaking electricity grid monitoring capability using a sensor network to collect very high-resolution, real-time data on electricity grid conditions using innovative instrumentation that measures a combination of electricity quality and grid stability or stress.

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Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain fit for the future, HM Government, November 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/industrial-strategy-building-a-britain-fit-for-the-future

UK business opportunities of moving to a low carbon economy, Ricardo Energy and Environment for the Committee on Climate Change, 2017, https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/uk-energy-prices-and-bills-2017-report-supporting-research/