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North East businesses awarded funding to develop new energy products

£100,000 of funding has been awarded to help five North East energy businesses bring new products to market.

The five SMEs all entered the Energy Innovation Challenge which was launched by the North East Energy Catalyst as a way of supporting businesses in the region to develop solutions to global energy challenges.

The five businesses awarded funding are DLAW Contractors, The Energy Workshop, Otaski Energy Solutions, Power Roll, and Solar Capture Technologies.

David Lynch, Energy Innovation Partnership Manager at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), explains: “The Energy Innovation Challenge is a rolling programme of challenges based around different themes. So in the first phase, we wanted to hear from people who could develop a product or service that can help to decarbonise the energy that we use in our homes and businesses.

The Energy Innovation Challenge is led by the North East Energy Catalyst, a partnership of the region’s leading energy sector organisations which aims to showcase the North East’s capabilities in developing solutions to the world’s energy challenges.

As well as funding, the five businesses receive business advice through the North East Growth Hub, and have already taken part in workshops on topics including marketing, business models and IP.

Sunderland-based DLAW Contractors is planning to manufacture photovoltaic-powered water filtration systems for use in rural communities. The new product has the potential to be exported worldwide, with manufacturing and supply chain based in the North East.

The Energy Workshop is a renewable energy consultancy which will use its funding to carry out a study to assess the potential of using hydrogen to fuel fleet vehicles and community energy projects in the North East.

Otaski Energy Solutions, which is based in Gateshead, put forward a proposal to develop a product which uses artificial intelligence to dim street lighting when it’s not in use.

Sunderland SME Power Roll was awarded funding to work towards manufacturing a new type of solar panel which can be used on building and vehicles.

The fifth business awarded funding is Blyth’s Solar Capture Technologies, which will be stepping up production of its lightweight SolarFace modules, which can generate energy in low light levels and in a range of locations.

“The standard of entries into the challenge was exceptional, and really shows that the North East is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to developing innovative energy products,” said David Lynch. “With the recent unveiling of the government’s 10-point plan to create a green industrial revolution, businesses in our region are at the forefront of leading the way into a greener future economy, and the North East Energy Catalyst is here to support them.”

Round two of the Energy Innovation Challenge is currently underway, with 10 submissions from North East SMEs. Round three, on the theme of energy materials, will open in January 2021. To find out more, contact David Lynch on [email protected].

The North East Energy Catalyst is supported by ERDF and the Energy Innovation Challenge received grant funding from the government’s Local Growth Fund via the North East LEP.