Ofgem and Innovate UK have unveiled £8 million in investment across 18 energy projects, as part of its Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).
Following on from the SIF's initial funding announcement in March that saw 40 projects in the ‘discovery’ phase awarded funds to support feasibility studies, 18 ‘alpha’ projects will now receive up to £500,000 each to develop their concept more in depth.
Neil Kenward, director for strategy and decarbonisation at Ofgem, said: “Innovation in energy is a vital part of the process of bringing down the cost for energy consumers, accelerating the decarbonisation of our energy system and reducing our dependence on costly imported fossil fuels, over time.”
The funding for the projects will start in August, and will focus on clean forms of large-scale storage, heat decarbonisation, zero emission transport, data and digitalisation, and whole system integration. Several projects will explore technologies that would enable the use of hydrogen in the energy system for example, while others are looking at weather data and how it can be used to predict risks and faults in the energy networks.
The project teams now have six months to explore their concepts in detail, after which they can apply for large-scale funding of their project.
The programme was launched last year and will run for a duration of five years, with a total £450 million fund available to promote energy network innovation. There will be another call for study proposals this autumn.
Ahead of the second SIF’s round, Ofgem and Innovate UK unveiled the four key priorities to be addressed by applicants in autumn 2022.
Matt Hastings, deputy director of the Ofgem SIF programme at Innovate UK, said the SIF was an "optimistic ray of hope", with the projects addressing some of the key barriers to net zero.