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Clean tech trade missions to US attract £550m

Sixteen UK clean tech SMEs are in San Francisco this month as part of Innovate UK’s Clean and Cool Mission 2015, including two North West start-ups in the energy and agriculture sectors.

Sixteen UK clean tech SMEs are in San Francisco this month as part of Innovate UK’s Clean and Cool Mission 2015, including two North West start-ups in the energy and agriculture sectors.

The annual Government-backed trade mission has sent 64 start-ups to the US since 2010, resulting in investments of over £550 million to date, averaging £8.6 million per company.

The mission, led by Innovate UK in collaboration with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), The Long Run Venture and the Co-Sponsorship Agency (Cospa), gives promising entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to US investors and business leaders during a week-long trip to fast-track their business growth.

The initiative aims to promote UK-based innovative solutions for agri-tech, energy, low impact buildings and transport, waste management and IT-based ‘cleanweb’ technologies.

‘Huge potential’

Kevin Baughan, director of technology and innovation at Innovate UK, said: “The Clean and Cool Mission is a fantastic opportunity for UK businesses to showcase their innovative technologies and identify growth opportunities in this thriving industry.

“We’re really excited about the 16 companies selected for this year’s trip. Each chosen company has shown us new and exciting clean tech solutions with huge potential [to address the] multitude of environmental challenges faced by society today.”

2015 attendees

Included in this year’s mission is Cheshire-based Upside Energy, a project which intends to operate a cloud service that coordinates decentralised low carbon power supplies from homes and businesses, like solar PV, and sells excess energy capacity to the National Grid.

In an interview with the Clean and Cool initiative, Graham Oakes, founder of Upside Energy, said: “I’m looking forward to talking to some of the device manufacturers, people that are building [solar] PV arrays, people that are building battery systems; it’s value added for them as well as for the battery owners.”

Also attending the mission is Lancashire-based Azotic Technologies, which has developed an environmentally-friendly, non-GM technology that reduces nitrogen pollution by enabling plants to take nitrogen from the air rather than from soil-based fertilisers.

Peter Blezard, chief executive of Azotic Technologies, said: “We are the only company in the world with an intra-cellular form of bacteria that will fix nitrogen inside the cell of any crop.

“We appeal to the food industry, which is the largest industry in the world, and also to agricultural and life science industries, so [Clean and Cool] is connecting those dots.”