Funding available to 40 SMEs working on energy storage projects


The Harwell Campus-based Faraday Institution, the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, skills development and early-stage commercialisation, has teamed up with Cambridge Cleantech to lead the UK’s delivery of a European programme for innovative energy storage.

The programme, called STEPS, aims to strengthen the competitiveness of businesses in North-West Europe which 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 help them bring innovative energy storage products to market.

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

The Interreg North-West Europe STEPS programme offers support to 40 businesses through a competitive product enhancement voucher programme – valued at €12,500 each. Additionally, 20 of these companies will receive expert support  worth €50,000 each to demonstrate their technology at regional testbeds throughout North-West Europe.

In the UK, the Oxfordshire-based Faraday Institution will serve as the STEPS knowledge partner and Cambridge Cleantech as the STEPS business support partner.  They will advise e-storage SMEs on entering new markets in North-West Europe and engaging with potential end-users. STEPS will also connect end-users with providers of new e-storage solutions via a business support programme to increase their technological readiness level through real-life testing.

The Faraday Institution supports 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.

Ian Ellerington, Head of Technology Transfer at the Faraday Institution, said: “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.”

Emma Southwell-Sander, Manager of the EnergyTec Cluster at Harwell Campus, added: “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.”