Solar, data and heating innovations win development funding

Solar window technology, data analysis to help householders cut bills and an electric heating system that avoids the use of peak-time power are among 40 energy innovations that are sharing in £24.5m backing from the government’s Innovate UK agency, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The innovators winning funding in the first phase of their joint Energy Catalyst programme include:

  • Nyak Technology, which is developing transparent organic solar technology for use in windows. Early research has suggested the cells could reduce the overall cost of solar devices by as much as 70%
  • Soltropy, originator of low cost solar thermal technology that allows domestic water supply to be heated with greater efficiency and lower capital and installation costs
  • Onzo, with Imperial College: applying data analysis from smart meters and devices to give households insight into their energy use and advice. The solution will be trialled in up to 50,000 households
  • Solaris Photonics, with Cranfield University: creating photovoltaic technology that is simple to manufacture so could lead to lower cost solar cells
  • Tempus Energy, with partners including WEMS, One Sitesolutions, Viriya Energy and Sustainability First: The TE technology is aimed at shifting energy consumption patterns to optimise trading on the electricity market
  • M-Solv, with partners including Intrinsiq Materials, Loughborough University and Oxford Photovoltaics: the team is behind a one-step interconnect for thin film photovoltaic modules, which extends potential applications of the technology in buildings
  • BRE, working with Glen Dimplex, EDF Energy, University of Liverpool and Eastbourne Homes: the partners are developing Renewable Integrated and Sustainable Electric Heating System (RISE), an all-electric heat pump with storage heating system that avoids the use of peak-time power. The project will see the innovation trialled in up to four apartments in Eastbourne.

Business and energy minister, Matthew Hancock said: “The projects we are backing, through the Energy Catalyst, demonstrate the depth and breadth of British innovation in the sector. Many of these projects are not only UK firsts, but world firsts, and by supporting them at this early stage, we will ensure the UK reaps the rewards in the future.”

Up to £14m is available for the second round of the catalyst to businesses and researchers who can address the energy challenges of: reducing emissions, improving security of supply and reducing cost.

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