Tag Archives: Technology Strategy Board

Connected Liverpool @ Innovate UK

Last week, Connected Liverpool exhibited at InnovateUK 2013, the UK’s
leading multi-sector innovation & trade event for business. Recognised by the Technology
Strategy Board as one of the top 25 most innovative companies in the UK, Connected
Liverpool got invited to showcase its work at the event.

Innovate UK 2013 was a joint venture from the Technology Strategy Board and UK Trade
& Investment. Innovate UK brought together 4,000 people from UK and international
business, Government and academia, with the aim of accelerating UK economic growth
by stimulating business-led innovation and opening up international trade opportunities.
The program of keynote presentations given by Government ministers, business leaders
and industry specialists provided some great insights into the future products and
processes that are in development.

The three days (11-13 March) covered the following topics:
Day 1: Research for Growth: Commercialising the UK’s research base
Day 2: Market and Technology Opportunities
Day 3: Global Growth: starting up and scaling up

The event offered multiple seminars and talks focused on their daily topic. During day 1, the collaboration between the public sector and academics, and between the private sector and academics was a popular topic. The University of Strathclyde from Glasgow was an impressive benchmark in cross-sector collaboration as it attracted the first Fraunhofer investment in the UK after the city of Glasgow became home to the first foreign HQ of the Fraunhofer research centre. Additionally, it hosts the TSB Health Catapult, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and the Future Cities Demonstrator project. Overall, an impressive list.

The Emerging Technology and Industry programme (ET&I), which was set up in 2010, explained its key investment areas and work over the years between 2010 and 2012 within the spaces of Synthetic Biology, Energy Efficient Computing and Energy Harvesting. For the near future, it will focus on identifying the ‘next’ technologies to feed the pipeline of innovation.

Besides the seminars, the Connected Liverpool stand was a popular place during the event allowing the team to establish great connections with people from all over England and abroad in different sectors. Overall, WE LOVED IT!

 

Technology Strategy Board Think Tank in Liverpool

Catapult

Connected Liverpool hosted its second Think Tank for the Future Cities Catapult in Liverpool yesterday. The Think Tank “The Big Data Workshop” was hosted in Liverpool Science Park where excellent meeting facilities, food, and drinks were provided by Open Labs, an organisation supporting local creative technology companies to develop new products and services that capitalise upon global opportunities.

The Think Tank was chaired by Nigel Rix and Richard Foggie from the TSB who opened the workshop with a short speech regarding the progress of the Future Cities Business Plan and the necessity of such workshops/ brainstorm sessions to create innovative ideas that will directly feed into the TSB. This time, the focus was on “Big Data”. Big Data, an increasingly popular topic in society, forms the foundation of innovation. The TSB wants to explore the opportunities within this space to drive innovation and benefit citizens. Therefore, Connected Liverpool organised this workshop to come up with new and creative ways of using data and deriving value from it to drive the economy and enhance citizen’s quality of life.

According to Richard Foggie, “90% of all data was created in the past 2 years. By 2035, we will have the means to create 100% of data instantly.” The challenge however, is to understand and use this data in a way that it could actually create value. This Big Data Workshop was focused on just this. Because of its success, Connected Liverpool plans to organise similar events for the TSB in the future.

 

 

ADI for the development of next generation virtual power plants

The Technology Strategy Board, the UK Government’s innovation agency, awarded their match-funded grant to a consortium set up by technology innovation firm the Advanced Digital Institute (ADI). This consortium included industry partners  such as ENER-G, Flexitricity, Smarter Grid Solutions and UK Power Networks. ADI is based in Saltaire, employs 12 staff, and has a customer range from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to corporates. They aim to help digital technology companies innovate.

The £100,000-worth of funding has been won by a project led by ADI to explore the development of “the next generation of virtual power plants”. These centrally-controlled plants will use clusters of combined heat and power (CHP) systems, small-scale generating capabilities at locations such as hospital and business parks, to bolster supply when they are not operating at capacity. The big idea behind this is that they want to help meet peaks in energy demand.

John Eaglesham, chief executive of ADI and managing the initiative, said that ADI s very excited to work together with some of the UK’s key smart grid industry players in addressing the challenge of future energy supply. The project will shore up electricity supply and they will also examine new solutions for low carbon and low cost heat distribution. This could incentivize the UK CHP industry to provide more CHPs in areas where current UK Government incentives have fallen short.

Dave Harson, programme manager at ADI, added to this that this is a completely new business area for ADI. So it’s also quite exciting for them to work in this area where they haven’t previously done any research in.

The feasibility study of ADI will try to find new ways of increasing overall security and efficiency of the electricity system, and decarbonising energy supplies across the UK as demand increases.  The study is scheduled for completion in May 2013.

Mr Harson also said that these assets are already around, they already exist anyway. So we need to tap into those and use them, use that capacity, so we don’t have to invest in other carbon-generating capacities to meet the demand. ADI will also include a large number smaller-scale CHP generators into a virtual power plant because they want to achieve “improves flexibility and greater load-balancing potential to improve resilience of supply and potentially reduce the need to large utility projects”.

Up until 2010, ADI used to receive public sector funding from Yorkshire Forward. But Harson said that business is good for the moment and ADI is now operating independently of any of that type of grant money. The grant they receive from their key partner the Technology Strategy Board is one to fund specific projects, as well as doing commercial work with other customers.

Chris Marsland, technical director at ENER-G, said that the project will investigate the feasibility of using networks of CHP generators to complement and reduce the need for reinforcement of the electricity network. The benefits of this could include greater use of clean electricity supplies, reduced domestic heating costs and less need for electricity infrastructure investments. So the project will benefit the industry and the consumers alike, while reducing carbon emissions.

The project will perform business and technical modeling based on data from UK Power Networks’s London electricity network. They use ENER-G CHP generator and software and a central control system provided by Smarter Grid Solutions. UK Power Network is also leading Low carbon London, a £30m programme that’s largely funded by Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund, to help develop smart electricity networks in Britain.

TSB and DECC R&D Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

The Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), are funding five new projects that are researching and developing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These government-backed projects want to bring hydrogen and fuel cell technologies into everyday use so they are using research and development to speed up the adoption of energy systems using hydrogen en fuel cell technologies.

They want to develop whole systems and they want to show that fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies can work together with other energy and transport component such as renewable energy generation, refueling infrastructure and vehicles. So energy and transport components can be integrated with the fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies. These technologies can also be used in low carbon energy systems and transport.

Mark Prisk, Business Minister, said that the UK has innovative business developing world-leading hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The UK wants to capture a share of the global market by developing a coherent capability and vibrant industry. If they are in the position to capture that share of the market, they will be able to attract international partnerships and inward investment. This will also cause a growth of the national economy and create job opportunities. These five new projects complement the already joint government/industry project called UK H2 Mobility. This project is currently evaluating potential roll-out scenarios for hydrogen for transport in the UK.

Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister, said that hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies are at the cutting edge of new low carbon energy solutions. It is important to see how these technologies can be integrated with other energy and transport products and it are these new and exciting government-supported projects that will look into that. He also said that he is looking forward to seeing the results.

The five new projects were selected through a competitive process and will be led by Air Products plc, BOC Ltd, ITM Power (Trading), Rutland Management Ltd and SSE plc. The projects will:

  • Create the UK’s first end-to-end, integrated, green hydrogen production, distribution and retailing system. This will be centered around a fully publically accessible, state-of-the-art 700 bar renewable H2 refueling station network across London (Air Products Plc).
  • Deliver solar energy generated hydrogen for Swindon’s exiting public access H2 refueling station. This will happen via an electrolyser. And its use in materials handling vehicles and light vans at Honda’s manufacturing plant (BOC Ltd).
  • Integrate an electrolyser based refueller with renewable energy on the Isle of Wight. This will enable zero carbon hydrogen to be produced for use as transport fuel for a range of vehicles (ITM Power).
  • Demonstrate a viable solar-hydrogen energy system through the 24/7 provision of green electricity and heat. The benefits will be shared by multiple end users of a business park in Surrey (Rutland Management Ltd).
  • Demonstrate a whole renewable hydrogen system, connecting a 1MWe electrolyser to the grid. This is in conjunction with an Aberdeenshire wind farm. They want to explore the grid impacts and energy storage potential of hydrogen generation, and provide green hydrogen produced to power a fleet of fuel cell buses (SSE plc).

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added that these innovative, large-scale demonstrators will show how fuel cells and hydrogen technologies can be adapted, developed and integrated to provide real-time and real-world low carbon solutions. These projects will also show how the Technology Strategy Board can help the UK businesses to accelerate the development and commercialization of technological innovations.

A grant funding of £9 million is provided by the Technology Strategy Board and DECC. This means the total value of the projects, including contributions from the industrial partners, is in excess of £19 million. The projects are building on previous Government support for fuel cells and hydrogen systems, accelerating the process towards commercialization.

ITM Power and their plans

ITM Power, a clean fuel firm based in Sheffield, wants to fund its growth, and they are planning to do this by raising up to £9m through share issues. The company develops and sells electrolyster technology to turn electricity into hydrogen gas. The company already raised £5m by issuing 10 million new ordinary shares at 50p per share to institutional investors and non-executive director Peter Hargreaves. Via an open offer, they want to issue another eight million shares. This could take the total money raised to around £8.9m.

Non-executive chairman of ITM Power, Roger Putnam, said that this is a crucial time for the development of the company. It’s important for the company to have a strong balance sheet so the on-going commercial relationships can be supported and stay supported. He said that he was very delighted that Peter Hargreaves, the existing institutional shareholders, and some new institutions showed their commitment to the company in this funding round.

Since the first pack of issued shares was just for the institutional investors, the board felt like this is unfair for the existing shareholders. That’s why they are making an open offer of shares to the existing shareholders at the same price at the offer of shares to the institutional investors. The existing shareholders need this opportunity to keep participating alongside the institutional shareholders.

Yesterday, the company also revealed its annual results. This year it includes the first significant revenue of £480.000. The company says that their outlook is positive with early revenue streams developing.

Professor Putnam said that ITM power has successfully positioned itself from a platform of commercially launched electrolyster products.  Now they can address the clear opportunities within energy storage and clean fuel generation from renewable power to help build a greener environment and Smart Cities within the UK.

ITM Power is now also at the heart of two initiatives that will define the deployment of hydrogen fuel and energy systems in the UK, UKH2Mobility and Ecoisland.

They came to this point by working so hard to develop and build key relationships. The Technology Strategy Board granted a £1.3m grant to ITM Power to fund a hydrogen
storage and vehicle refueling system on the
Isle of Wight, part of the project called Ecoisland. And as a member of UKH2Mobility, ITM Power helps to ensure that the UK is well positioned for the commercial roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.