Entrepreneurs Fund aims to boost low-carbon innovation

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Low-carbon innovation is today being given a boost with the launch of a £16m fund for entrepreneurs to develop new ideas.

The first phase of the Entrepreneurs Fund, part of a £35m fund announced earlier this year, is now open to applications. 

Up to £10m is available to support energy-efficiency technologies such as building control systems, advanced lighting systems, and space heating and cooling technologies. Up to £6m is available for power generation and energy storage technologies, including fuel cells, biomass boilers and heat pumps.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the aim of this funding is to speed up the development of low-carbon technologies towards commercialisation in order to help cut carbon, support jobs and create export opportunities.

A second phase of this scheme, building on the first phase, will be launched in early 2013 with the remaining £19m available.

The money is aimed at, but not limited to, SMEs, as well as individual innovators and entrepreneurs. 

Innovators will be able to bid for up to £1m to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies and processes, and get support from experts on how to bring their products to market. Entrepreneurs can then use the funding to leverage additional funds from private-sector investors.

Bids will be assessed against a range of criteria, including the impact of the proposed technology on meeting the government’s 2020 and 2050 carbon targets, commercial potential of designs, improved performance characteristics over existing technologies and products, and ability to cut the cost of installation or maintenance of existing systems. 

A panel of investors will advise the DECC on the commercial potential of the bids.

The scheme will support projects at Technology Readiness level 3 (TRL 3) and above. Two application windows are in place: one from 23 August to 28 September and one from 23 August to 31 October. Applications that are submitted for either period will be assessed equally and up to £8m is available in each round of funding.

Successful bidders will be announced later in the year.