UK innovators needed for India clean air project

Published: 18 November 2019

UK businesses are being invited to apply for an innovation project aimed at improving air quality and electric vehicle integration in India.

The Innovating for Clean Air (IfCA) programme aims to support UK and Indian firms to tackle pollution at source in the city of Bengaluru in Karnataka state, by introducing innovations that improve air quality monitoring, addressing challenges related to electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, power grid management and the integration of renewable energy.

Earlier this month, air pollution in India’s capital Delhi reached more than 20 times the World Health Organization’s safe limit, causing respiratory illnesses in people.

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 IfCA programme is financed by the Newton Fund with matched resources from various partners in Karnataka and India.

Around 20 of the world’s 30 most polluted are in India, with air quality impacted by a mix of different emissions – fossil fuel burning power plants, heavy industries, construction, agricultural burning and urban traffic.

Through engagement with Indian stakeholders in Bengaluru, the Catapults have already identified some of the key EV and air quality challenges in the city and for Indian SMEs innovating in those sectors.

Energy Systems Catapult project lead, Andrew Stokes, said: “Improving air quality in urban areas of India will be helped by accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and we can only do that by addressing challenges on charging infrastructure, power grid management and the integration of renewable energy.

“We are calling on innovative UK SMEs that can deploy electric vehicle and air quality innovations into a real-life urban testbed in Bengaluru, for up to 9 months from March through to December 2020 and creating tangible collaboration opportunities for UK and Indian innovators.

“Over the two year lifetime of the programme we will help test, validate and improve interventions that increase the evidence base for policy to deliver cleaner air in Bengaluru and create a replicable model which can be used in other cities and countries.

“We want to provide export opportunities for UK companies in the wider environmental sector and strengthen the capacity to promote the economic development and social welfare in India.”

The programme will also include work by Satellite Applications Catapult 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.

The Air Quality Innovation stream

Supporting promising innovations with the potential to improve air quality and tackle pollution at source, we are especially looking to explore:

  • innovative ways to measure and visualise air pollution
  • solutions promoting active mobility (walking and cycling)
  • smart waste management
  • clean cooking and heating, and
  • ways to promote and empower behaviour change.

The EV Innovation stream

Supporting the uptake and integration of EVs in Bengaluru and India as a whole, we are especially looking to explore technology, business models and consumer approaches for:

  • charging infrastructure solutions
  • grid management
  • renewable energy integration, and
  • electric mobility (all aspects, including battery management systems).

Successful applicants will receive a range of support from the Catapults, including:

  • access to the testbed in Bengaluru
  • support from the Catapults’ expert teams and local representative
  • personal introductions to potential Indian partner firms
  • financial support for travel to India and/or setup costs (such as shipping and transport, materials supply, maintaining operations).

In addition, qualifying candidates that fall within the scope of the outlined challenges will be included in an Innovating for Clean Air Pitchbook. This portfolio of companies will be disseminated to industry partners and decision-makers in India with the aim of stimulating future collaborations and business development opportunities.

How to apply

For more information on applying visit:

The closing date for the receipt of applications is midnight, 5 January 2020.