Businesses awarded £18m for low-carbon technology trials

18th April 2017


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Kevin Errity

Projects trialling new technology to ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and boost energy storage have been granted £18m by government agency Innovate UK.

Each of the 12 projects selected by the agency aims to tackle problems related to urban infrastructure. Drastic changes in urban infrastructure and design will be required to support a high quality of life for the more than 70% of the population expected to live in towns and cities by 2040, said Innovate UK.

The projects to receive funding include:

  • Powervault will explore to store peak electricity from UK homes in used Nissan electric vehicle batteries. The 12-month trial of 50 units will also involve Nissan, Aston University, Hyde Housing, Lyra Electronics, M&S Energy and Solarcentury.
  • Transport for London Road Network is to trial a virtual loading bay to allow operators of commercial vehicles to pay to reserve previously unavailable kerb space to load or unload. It hopes this will ease congestion and parking problems.
  • ITM Power wants to convert electricity into hydrogen at a mass scale to create affordable, green energy for the transport sector. Its project will pilot energy balancing and refueling for 20 fuel cell buses in Birmingham.

The funding from Innovate UK comes after the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Transport departments announced last week that £109.7m would be spent on the development of driverless and low carbon vehicles.

Seven projects will share grants from the latest round of funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), a joint industry-government programme aimed at making the UK a leader in low-carbon vehicle technology.

The projects, led by BMW, CNH Industrial, the Ford Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Penso Consulting, Westfield Sportscars and Williams Advanced Engineering, include:

  • the development of a battery suitable for high-performance vehicles;
  • a scheme to address gaps in and strengthen the UK supply chain;
  • the development of the fuelling system for a gas tractor; and
  • technologies to reduce the weight and improve electrification in SUV vehicles.

A further seven projects have won funding from the government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) to advance the development of a range of ultra-low and zero emissions vehicle technologies in the UK.

These projects will be led by Equipmake, the Ford Motor Company, Great British Sports Cars, Jaguar Land Rover, Ricardo Innovations, Romax Technology and Wrightbus.

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: ‘Low carbon and driverless cars are the future and as a government we are determined through the Industrial Strategy to build on our strengths and put the UK at the forefront of this revolution. Investment in this technology is an integral part of this government’s efforts, to ensure the UK auto sector remains competitive and world-leading.’

The government confirmed that OLEV would publish later this year a long-term strategy for the UK’s transition to zero emission vehicles.

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