Funding for second phase of Teesside net zero innovation pilot

Phase 2 of a pilot to build on innovation strengths in Teesside is now open to applications, with a share of £3 million available to support local businesses.

Building on success

Phase 1 of Innovate UK’s launchpad pilot kicked off in September last year.
It invited small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to apply for competitive grants starting at £25,000 for innovation projects that focus on the region’s energy and renewable sector.

Following the success of its initial round, more businesses active or growing in the area’s net zero innovation cluster looking to deliver outstanding projects in the sector are being urged to apply for funding of up to £1 million.

A briefing webinar for stakeholders is set to take place on 22 February 2023 outlining more details of the competition.

Contributing to net zero

A string of businesses secured funding in the first competition, with more than £5 million given in grant funding and almost £1.9 million of match funding provided.
One successful firm is Hartlepool-based renewable hydrogen firm Catalsys, who have developed a unique ammonia cracking technology.

Their breakthrough has the potential to contribute towards net zero in 2 ways. Firstly, it could significantly increase the adoption of green hydrogen by making it possible to produce it on-site from low-cost renewables anywhere in the world.

Secondly, it could be used to provide grid-independent low-cost green electrical power.

Unlocking potential

Catalsys CEO Kevin Fothergill said:

We are excited the Tees Valley Net Zero Innovation team shares our vision and sees the potential of our technology.

The grant funding we received means we can ramp up our prototype development – and is opening doors to partners who could help us bring the technology to wide adoption and unlock the potential of green hydrogen.

Leading the way

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:

Whether it’s carbon capture, utilisation and storage, hydrogen, offshore wind or sustainable aviation fuel, Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool is leading the way in the safer, cleaner and healthier industries of tomorrow.

While we’ve welcomed a lot of great news from big, global businesses investing in our region, the expertise and know-how of our SMEs is just as important if we’re truly going to mark ourselves out as a net zero, low carbon powerhouse. These are the innovators and job creators on the ground right now, who know our sector and its possibilities the best.

This is a great opportunity for them to get the funding they need to help drive the forward-thinking products, processes and projects which are vital to strengthening our net zero offer, attracting more companies here and boosting the ones that we have, ultimately creating more well-paid, good-quality jobs.

Building partnerships

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said:

Innovate UK is building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation.

We’re pleased to work with the Tees Valley team through the Innovate UK launchpad programme and our other partnership activities to help innovative businesses contribute to a stronger region.

Further information

The second funding opportunity is open now, and closes to applications on 29 March 2023.

For more information or to apply, visit launchpad: net zero, collaborative research and development Tees Valley, round 2.

Top image:  Credit: Philip Silverman, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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