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Funding the Transition to Net Zero

Following a 2018 International Panel on Climate Change, the UK Government set a target of 100% Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction by 2050, which is commonly referred to as “Net Zero”. Reaching Net Zero will require major changes in how individuals and organisations produce and consume goods and services. In order to facilitate these changes, innovation will be required to disrupt current business practices, and consumer expectations and lifestyle approaches. In recognition of this, the UK Government is investing in new technologies and processes. The following funds are part of a long-term programme to advance UK capability in areas that support the transition to Net Zero.

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Zero Emission Road Freight Competition

In order to support the move towards zero emission freight systems, using either electric or hydrogen energy sources, UKRI and the Department for Transport are investing up to £10m in projects across three strands:

  1. Electric road system demonstration feasibility study: this fund is for ambitious studies looking to present the feasibility of a scaled demonstration. Several scenarios, scales and locations can be considered, along with ideal demonstration scenarios and minimum viable products. Project costs can range between £500,000 and £2m and applications must be submitted by 11am on 5th May 2021.
  2. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles demonstration: this fund is for feasibility studies looking specifically at scaled demonstrations using hydrogen fuel cells. Similarly to strand 1, several scenarios, scales and locations can be considered, along with ideal demonstration scenarios and minimum viable products. Project costs can range between £500,000 and £2m and applications must be submitted by 11am on 5th May 2021.
  3. Supply chain technology feasibility studies and industrial research: this grant will fund industry-led research into supply chain technologies for zero emission freight vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and the supporting infrastructure. Project costs can range from £100,000 to £250,000 and applications must be submitted by 11am on 5th May 2021.

Clean Maritime and Smart Shipping Projects

UKRI and the Department for Transport have partnered together, for innovative clean maritime and smart shipping projects. This fund is split into two strands:

  1. Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition strand 1: strand 1 aims to support the design and development of technologies for the reduction of greenhouse as emissions by the UK’s maritime sector. Projects in this strand must review the technical and economic feasibility of solutions to reduce GHG, and develop clear plans for a future technology demonstrated upon completion of the feasibility project. Autonomous vessels can be included, and the competition is seeking solutions for all sizes and categories of maritime vessels. Project costs can range from £25,000 to £1,000,000 and applications must be submitted by 11am on 2nd June 2021
  2. Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition strand 2: strand 2 will fund projects that will design, develop and test novel clean maritime or smart shipping technologies that reduce GHG from vessels and from shore-side infrastructure at ports and harbours. Projects in this strand can include capital infrastructure costs where necessary and consortia can include all the necessary partners to achieve the aims, including manufacturers, operators, and port/harbour authorities. Project costs can range from £100,000 to £4m and applications must be submitted by 11am on 2nd June 2021.

Deployment of energy efficiency technologies

This competition will support the commercial roll out and installation of technologies that improve energy efficiency at industrial sites, with the intention of cutting energy bills and carbon emissions. Up to £40m is available for businesses across two strands:

  1. Feasibility and engineering studies: this strand aims to help companies build a pipeline of future deployment projects and reduce the costs and risks of either industrial energy efficiency or decarbonisation technologies. The intention to support studies necessary to facilitate the permanent installation of technologies at industrial sites, rather than general research, development and testing of technical solutions. Total costs must be at least £30,000 for a feasibility study and at least £50,000 for an engineering study, and applications must be submitted by 14th July at 11am.
  2. Deployment projects: this strand will support the onsite deployment of technologies that improve the energy efficiency of an industrial process or processes. Technologies must have been proven to work successfully via operations of a qualified test/demonstration. Project costs can range from £100,000 up to £14m and applications must be submitted by 14th July 2021 at 11am.

Alternative funding routes

Whilst the UK Government is taking a portfolio approach to investment, funds are not made available for all types of projects that may eventually be eligible for funding simultaneously. If you’re looking for funding for a project that could contribute towards the achievement of the Net Zero goal, reach out to the Innovation Team at the Business Growth Hub to learn more about alternative funding and pathways to development. Support is available throughout the full product development journey, including commercialisation and exploitation.

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