Innovate UK launches energy game-changer funding competition


Innovate UK is to invest up to £1.5 million in technical feasibility studies to encourage new entrants to the energy sector and stimulate the adoption of disruptive technologies. Up to a further £500,000 is also available from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) for the support of relevant projects.

The aim of this competition is to find innovative solutions to long-standing challenges faced by the energy sector. It is believed that game-changing technologies can solve these problems, either by the development of completely new ideas or through technology transfer from other sectors. Innovate UK is therefore seeking proposals that are led by innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and can provide disruptive solutions to the challenges that are in the scope of the competition.

Included in the scope of the competition is ‘taking inspection to the limit’, covering the inspection, characterisation and clean-up of buildings, vessels and components operating in aggressive (for example explosive, radioactive, subsea or high-temperature) environments in the energy industry, a normally time-consuming, hazardous and expensive operation.

Innovative technologies are sought that can be deployed either in buildings, process vessels or components, to:
  • Accurately locate, identify and characterise defects, debris, objects and layout without human entry
  • Remove debris, decontaminate and transfer waste without direct human intervention
  • Accurately locate, characterise and potentially repair areas of corrosion under insulation on pipelines and vessels without breaching the insulation.
In order to encourage novel and radical solutions, projects must be led by an SME whose main business lies outside the energy sector. They can work alone or collaboratively with partners of any number and from any sector.

Small businesses could receive up to 70% of their eligible project costs, medium-sized businesses up to 60% and large business partners up to 50%. Projects are expected to last 6-12 months and range in size, from total costs of £25,000 to £100,000, although projects outside this range may be considered.

The competition opens on 28 March 2016 and the deadline for video submissions is at noon on 11 May 2016. There will be a briefing event for potential applicants on 6 April 2016 in London. game changer - competition brief