Cambridge Cleantech and the Faraday Institution to support energy storage companies to bring new technologies to market through the STEPS programme

December 16, 2020

The Faraday Institution and Cambridge Cleantech are leading the UK’s delivery of a European programme – called STEPS – which aims to strengthen the competitiveness of businesses in North-West Europe who provide innovative energy storage solutions. Two UK testbeds on Harwell Campus and at Allia Future Business Centre will allow small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to demonstrate new technologies and put them on the journey to bring innovative energy storage products to market.

Applications for SMEs to receive knowledge and business support will open on 11 January 2021. Further details here.

The Interreg North-West Europe STEPS programme offers support to 40 businesses through a competitive product enhancement voucher programme – valued at 12,5k€ each. Additionally, 20 of these companies will receive expert support worth 50k€ each to demonstrate their technology at regional testbeds throughout North-West Europe.

The programme will provide additional support through business partners and knowledge partners from Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom to strengthen the competitiveness of innovative energy storage (e-storage) providers in North-West Europe.

For the UK, the Faraday Institution will serve as the STEPS knowledge partner and Cambridge Cleantech as the STEPS business support partner. Together they will offer SMEs a user-centric, demand-driven approach to bring their products closer to the market through tailored testing. Specifically, knowledge and business partners will advise e-storage SMEs on entering new markets in North-West Europe, engage with potential end-users, and increase the awareness of solution providers. STEPS will also connect end-users with providers of new e-storage solutions via a business support programme to increase their technological readiness level (TRL) through real-life testing.

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, skills development, market analysis, and early-stage commercialisation. It will support SMEs through its links into the UK’s battery research and innovation network and, if needed, can quickly mobilise resources to address specific technical challenges through “Industry Sprint” projects.

Within the consortium, Cambridge Cleantech will actively reach out to potential energy storage SMEs within the UK. As the British business support organisation, Cambridge Cleantech will play a pivotal role in connecting these innovative energy storage SMEs with the recruited testbeds. The organisation will make sure that the selected SMEs can tailor, implement and test their innovative storage products on the UK test beds.

Ian Ellerington, Head of Technology Transfer at the Faraday Institution, commented: “We are excited to be working with the North-West Europe consortium funded by Interreg to demonstrate the latest energy storage technologies in realistic applications across international boundaries. We welcome the opportunity to assist growing businesses realise their commercial ambitions. Our links into the UK’s battery research and innovation network and base at Harwell Campus mean we are well placed to provide technical advice to businesses innovating in e-storage and help supercharge their route to market.”

Sam Goodall, International Programme Manager at Cambridge Cleantech, commented: “Cambridge Cleantech supports entrepreneurs, researchers and corporates across the low carbon economy and as the transition from fossil fuels to renewables continues to accelerate, we are proud to be part of this innovative project to commercialise game-changing energy storage solutions. Our goal is to facilitate innovation partnerships and technology commercialisation in the energy sector.”

Emma Southwell-Sander, from the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, is Manager of the EnergyTec Cluster at Harwell Campus and commented: “The Faraday Institution is world-renowned for their expertise in energy innovation. As part of the ‘Net Zero Living Laboratory’ in Harwell’s EnergyTec cluster, young innovative businesses will have direct access to the wealth of resources and knowledge they possess, and I’m excited by the prospect of this funding bolstering their mission to revolutionise the UK’s battery capabilities.”

“Allia Future Business Centre is excited to be supporting the STEPS programme by acting as a testbed for these emerging energy storage technologies,” commented Director, David Broach. “Supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs in developing low-carbon technologies is core to our mission and we look forward to working with Cambridge Cleantech and the rest of the consortium in supporting this programme.”