UK projects get multi-million-pound boost to build back better

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As Britain builds back better, 19 cutting-edge projects, all over the UK have received £27 million government funding under its Sustainable Innovation Fund (SIF).

Projects include:

  • one that seeks to replace polluting microplastics with cellulose
  • one that aims to make tidal power generation commercially viable
  • another that recovers high-value polymers from currently incinerated NHS waste, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2.

Delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, SIF was announced by ministers in June 2020. Read the announcement: Government unveils £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back (GOV.UK website).

Powering the UK’s economic recovery

Totalling £200 million, the fund ensures that innovative ideas and projects led by companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus will not be lost. It helps power the UK’s economic recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities, while supporting the UK’s goals to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Highlights include:

  • Glasgow-based Flex Marine Power Ltd has been awarded £1.9 million to develop its “SwimmerTurbine”, a 50kW tidal turbine. This aims to make the harnessing of the UK’s abundant tidal resource for power generation commercially feasible
  • eco start-up, Naturbeads, based in Wiltshire has been awarded over £170,000 to develop a new process that turns cellulose from fibres into spherical form to replace microplastic beads. Microplastics, often used in personal care products, are polluting, whilst cellulose is natural, renewable and 100% biodegradable
  • with the pandemic resulting in an increase in NHS clinical waste, Tyneside-based Impact Recycling Limited will use its technology to recover high-value polymers from currently incinerated waste. The project will receive £3 million in funding. It will recycle a stream of sterilised clinical medical waste from NHS Scotland, directly saving up to 87,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually based on this NHS contract alone.

Harnessing innovation and creativity

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

Reaching our net zero goal will mean harnessing the innovation and creativity of entrepreneurs across the country, which is why I am thrilled to see Innovate UK backing these excellent projects across the UK.

It is precisely this kind of ingenuity which will help us to build back greener from the pandemic. I look forward to seeing how these projects make the most of this funding in the months and years ahead.

Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK said:

UK innovators have risen to the challenge of the pandemic to come up with big, bold ideas to help the economy roar back in a sustainable way. By supporting enterprise and academia all over the country, Innovate UK is backing not only business but our net-zero goals.

Further information

Funded projects

Project title Lead Location Amount (£)
Verification of recycled content – protecting the UK supply chain Sprcoe Limited Linlithgow, Scotland 752,876.00
Next generation processing technologies for power generation: phase two Texture Jet Nottingham, Notts 499,714.00
Lightweight Automotive Fibre-Steered Structures (LeAFS) iCOMAT Bristol 1,936,494.00
BioTGuard : Biodegradable tree shelter Biome Technologies plc New Forest, Hants 297,260.00
SCREENswitch: Switchable opacity patient isolation systems phase two Korn Wall Limited Cardiff, Wales 1,213,840.00
Anian virtual lab River Lane Research Ltd Cambridge, Cambs 2,236,446.00
Cellulose microbeads for biocatalysis applications Naturbeads Ltd Malmesbury, Wilts 170,479.00
Variable compression ratio range extender optimised for heavy duty vehicles with renewable fuels Libertine FPE Limited Sheffield, S Yorks 2,559,336.00
Pilot scale production of lithium from UK granites; transitioning to an electric vehicle future post COVID-19 Research by British Lithium Limited St Austell, Cornwall 2,902,126.00
A zero-carbon transport for post-COVID needs MAS Design Products Limited Poole, Dorset 986,160.00
Sustainable Plastics Recycling Innovation by Tagging Electronically (SPRITE 2) PragmatIC Semiconductor Limited Sedgefield, Co Durham 1,278,347.00
Development of Atomiser Nozzle Design to increase Yield (DANDY 2) LIBERTY Powder Metals Ltd Westminster, London 2,184,962.00
Accurate above ground biomass estimation using novel hierarchical datasets to train machine learning models Sylvera Ltd Shoreditch, London 1,565,341.00
Unlocking scalable tidal wealth: clean growth for the coastal zone Flex Marine Power Ltd East Dunbartonshire, Scotland 1,867,053.00
Sustainable, wireless asset-tracking and monitoring system for hospitals and supply-chains using self-powered sensor beacons Lightricity Limited Oxford, Oxon 1,318,456.00
BOSS – medical waste Impact Recycling Limited Linlithgow, Scotland 2,985,619.00
COVID-19 worker safety tag with social distancing warnings and contact tracing functionality Extronics Ltd Congleton, Cheshire 388,170.00
Online H2 quality service NPL Management Limited Twickenham, London 1,926,216.00
Novel palm fat replacer for the food industry (PALM-ALT phase 2) Queen Margaret University Edinburgh East Lothian, Scotland 655,256.00

This funding, delivered through Innovate UK, forms part of a wider £750 million package of grants and loans announced in April 2020 to support innovative firms. This sits alongside the new £500 million Future Fund, which provides match-funding to private investors. Find out more about the Future Fund (GOV.UK website).

In the last year Innovate UK has supported UK firms with £550 million of grants and loans as part of its COVID-19 response. In total 1,090 SIF projects have been supported with over £160 million.

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