A new Technology Strategy Board scheme is offering funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.
Open from 4 April 2011, the Grant for Research and Development (Grant for R&D) scheme will support R&D projects which offer potentially significant rewards and could stimulate UK economic growth. In contrast to the Collaborative R&D programme, Grant for R&D funding is available to single companies.
Three types of grant are available:
Any UK SME working in any sector may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts.
Grant for R&D replaces the scheme previously offered by regional development agencies. The new scheme will work alongside existing programmes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This grant enables companies to assess the commercial viability of a project, through:
- market research
- market testing and competitor analysis
- intellectual property position
- initial planning to take the project to commercialisation, including assessing costs, timescales and funding requirements.
Projects will last up to 9 months, have a maximum grant of £25k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be funded.
SMEs may use this grant to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process, including:
- initial feasibility studies
- basic prototyping
- specialist testing and/or demonstration to provide basic proof of technical feasibility
- intellectual property protection
- investigation of production and assembly options.
It also includes pre-clinical research studies for healthcare technologies and medicines, including target identification and validation.
Projects will last up to 18 months, have a maximum grant of £100k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be funded.
This funding is used by companies to develop a technologically innovative product, service or industrial process, and can include projects such as:
- small demonstrators
- intellectual property protection
- trials and testing, including clinical
- market testing.
Projects will last up to 2 years and have a maximum grant of £250k; up to 35% of total project costs for medium enterprises, or up to 45% for small and micro enterprises, may be funded.
All pre start-ups, start-ups, and small and medium-sized businesses from all sectors across the UK may apply for the Grant for R&D programme.
We use the European definition of SME
In future we may also run themed competitions using the Grant for R&D scheme, aligned with our priority investment areas.
Once again, our weekly summary of all cleantech news fit to use from our roving reporter, James La Terriere. This weeks coverage includes EV manufacturers Tesla roll out their battery recycling strategy, UK household recycling in general increasing, Defra advice on greenwash and how to avoid it and a wind powered bridge!
James La Terriere once gain provides our week in review and reports below on the Government’s decision to sell off our forests. The rights and wrongs of this will be argued for a long time and it reminds of when Gordon Brown sold all our gold when prices were right at a 50 year low. Timber prices only going one way from here…..
James La Terriere Environmental Titbits provides our UK Cleantech weekly review:
Skykon’s UK wind turbine factory goes bust.
The Campbeltown company had been struggling with financial difficulties for several months before sending home its staff and calling in Ernst & Young as administrator this week.
It said it was suspending payments to creditors in October, after hitting a “very cash-strapped situation”.
Unite, the union, described the news as “a blow to the local economy”. (Telegraph)
GM invests $5 million in wireless charging startup
General Motors has invested $5 million in wireless charging start-up Powermat and will add its technology for small consumer electronics to its vehicles such as the Chevy Volt in 2012, the companies said.
The investment through the GM Ventures capital unit will support the small private company’s development of the technology that GM expects will be adopted quickly in the auto sector and in other areas, GM executives said.
The move into wireless charging is part of a larger effort by GM to build a reputation as a technology leader led by the development of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid that runs first on electricity with a gasoline engine to extend its range. (reuters)
Feed-in tariffs trigger massive expansion for micro-renewables
The introduction of the government’s feed-in tariff incentive scheme led to record numbers of small-scale renewable energy installations last year, according to new figures released by Ofgem this week.
The latest data confirms that 57MW of new capacity was installed between April and December last year, representing a sizeable increase on the 44MW installed from April to September and further demonstrating the continued success of the incentive scheme. (BusinessGreen)
Organic industry launches campaign to reverse poor sales
The organic industry will launch a consumer awareness campaign this month to try and boost flagging sales.
The £2 million ‘Why I Love Organic’ campaign follows the worst trading conditions suffered by the organic industry in 20 years. Sales of organic food slumped by 14 per cent to £1.7 billion in 2009, according to a report by the Co-operative Bank released last month. This is despite spending on ethical goods increasing by 18 per cent overall.
Backed by the European Union and retailers and brands, the three-year campaign aims to increase awareness of the benefits of organic food and farming and to encourage more purchasing of organic produce. Over 75 UK retailers and brands, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Green & Black’s, Rachel’s and Yeo Valley, are backing the campaign. (GreenWise)
Businesses face the prospect of paying for the disposal of their waste
The Government is proposing to allow local authorities to charge businesses previously exempt for the disposal of their waste as well as collection under new regulations coming into force on April 6 2011.
Under current law, local authorities can charge to collect but not to dispose of certain types of waste, from household and non-domestic properties, such as residential homes, hospitals, caravan sites and campsites and self-catering holiday accommodation. The Government sees this as a barrier to achieving a zero waste economy.
Defra and the Welsh Assembly are proposing to replace the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992 with the Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, coming into force on April 6 2011.(GreenWise)
North Sea Peak Oil Chart
Thanks to gregor.us blog for this excellent and informative chart showing North Sea oil production over the last 2 years. No comment required:
EU plans to loosen AD permitting restrictions
A consultation on plans to allow anaerobic digestion facilities to be built nearer to homes and businesses without operators having to apply for more expensive and complicated environmental permits has been launched by the Environment Agency.
But, while on-farm AD operators look set to benefit from the proposals outlined in the ‘Standard Rules Consultation No. 6′, off-farm operators will still be expected to operate under a 250 metre distance limit and a more expensive bespoke permit, due to odour issues. (letsrecycle)
Deutsche Bank revises li-ion battery cost forecasts downward to $250/kWh by 2020
In a recent study, Deutsche Bank (DB) analysts revisited some figures posted in its previous report and lowered their projected future costs for automotive batteries. DB’s December 2010 study pegged the cost of lithium-ion batteries at $250 per kWh by 2020, a substantial downgrade from the $350 per kWh it forecasted back in November 2009. (autoblog green)
Turkey implements feed-in tariff, Spain cuts
The turn of the year saw international solar photovoltaic (PV) markets in vivid motion. While an increasing number of countries such as India or more recently Turkey are on the verge of successfully introducing solar subsides to strengthen their domestic industry and simultaneously meet their climate objectives, the Spanish Government has become the new Solar Grinch of 2011.
It was on Christmas Eve that the Spanish administration decided to make significant cut backs to subsidies for solar PV plants installed on the Iberian Peninsula. The precarious budgetary situation has forced the Government to make dramatic cutbacks entailing an additional reduction over the next three years, even for existing installations. (Renewable Energy Focus)
World food prices enter ‘danger territory’ to reach record high
Soaring prices of sugar, grain and oilseed drove world food prices to a record in December, surpassing the levels of 2008 when the cost of food sparked riots around the world, and prompting warnings of prices being in “danger territory”.
An index compiled monthly by the United Nations surpassed its previous monthly high – June 2008 – in December to reach the highest level since records began in 1990. Published by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the index tracks the prices of a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, and has risen for six consecutive monthsSugar and meat prices are at record levels, while cereal prices are back at the levels last seen in 2008, when riots in Haiti killed four people and riots in Cameroon left 40 dead.
And prices could rise higher still, amid fears of droughts in Argentina and floods in Australia and cold weather killing plants in the northern hemisphere. (GreenWise)
Standard Bank uses carbon trading to light up Tanzanian homes
Standard Bank Group is to help replace kerosene lamps with hand-held LED lights in 1.5-million homes in Tanzania, funding the scheme by buying the carbon credits generated through the large scale replacement of fossil fuel lighting.
ILLUMI Nation Tanzania, which owns the LED project, estimates that it will save households with an average annual income of only US$150 nearly a third of that income. The total national saving will be around $200-million. (Guardian)
Sustainable fish customers ‘duped’ by Marine Stewardship Council
The body which certifies that fish have been caught sustainably has been accused of “duping” consumers by giving its eco-label to fisheries where stocks are tumbling.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) manages the labelling system that tells consumers which species of fish they can buy safe in the knowledge they aren’t destroying stocks.It recently celebrated the 100th award of its eco-label – to the Barents Sea cod fishery – but a series of decisions allowing controversial fisheries to be granted the prized MSC label has prompted severe criticism of the organisation. (BusinessGreen)
South Korea pumps up support for renewable energy
South Korea, the world’s No.5 crude importer and No.2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer, will boost financial support for the new and renewable energy industry this year by nearly a quarter, the government said on Thursday.
The country has earmarked 1 trillion won ($891.2 million) in support, up from 808.4 billion won last year, for new and renewable energy projects and financing, such as support for building solar and wind power energy facilities, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement. (reuters)
Tomorrow’s world…[My favourite bit, or TitBit, ha!-RH]
Eco architect partners with technology firm on straw home
Pioneering eco architect Bill Dunster has partnered with technology firm Stramit on his latest design, a zero carbon house made out of straw.
The StramitZED house is a straw board home that meets Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and aims to make the highest level code more affordable. It combines many of the materials and technologies used in previous Dunster zero carbon designs, with the Stramit StrawBoard, a construction panel made entirely from straw and recycled paper. The blend of materials and technologies used in the StramitZED home mean that when completed it can be run at a net no energy cost, according to Dunster’s company ZEDfactory. (GreenWise)
New solar fuel machine ‘mimics plant life’
A prototype solar device has been unveiled which mimics plant life, turning the Sun’s energy into fuel.
The machine uses the Sun’s rays and a metal oxide called ceria to break down carbon dioxide or water into fuels which can be stored and transported.
Conventional photovoltaic panels must use the electricity they generate in situ, and cannot deliver power at night.
Details are published in the journal Science.
The prototype, which was devised by researchers in the US and Switzerland, uses a quartz window and cavity to concentrate sunlight into a cylinder lined with cerium oxide, also known as ceria.
Ceria has a natural propensity to exhale oxygen as it heats up and inhale it as it cools down.
If as in the prototype, hydrogen and/or water are pumped into the vessel, the ceria will rapidly strip the oxygen from them as it cools, creating hydrogen and/or carbon monoxide.
Hydrogen produced could be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells in cars, for example, while a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be used to create “syngas” for fuel.
The prototype is currently grossly inefficient, the fuel created harnessing only between 0.7% and 0.8% of the solar energy taken into the vessel. (bbc)
As the year turns, there is growing evidence that virtually every CEO worth their salt sees sustainability vital to future business success. Ninety-three percent of those surveyed by Accenture agreed with that statement. Other polls reported similar results.
More intriguingly, nine out of ten CEOs questioned on behalf of the International Business Leaders Forum believes their companies will have to employ new sustainable technologies to remain competitive five years from now.