£1.48m awarded to small business making a big environmental impact

Inventers and innovators developing the ‘next big thing’ in zero-emission tailpipe technology for cars, buses and heavy-duty vehicles, have received a major boost today after the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) confirmed 11 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) have been awarded a combined total of up to £1.48 million, provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to help bring their ideas to life.

As part of APC’s Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP) each company will receive up to £135,000 to help take their concept a step closer to being used by the automotive industry and helping drive the UK towards a net-zero emissions future.

It’s seen as a welcome boost for the SMEs in what, for some, has been a tough year, as Josh Denne, Head of SME programmes explains: “The past 12 months have been difficult for the automotive sector, with COVID-19 and shortages of some key materials, it’s been challenging for all parts of the supply chain, not least those small to medium enterprises trying to turn their green automotive innovation into a commercially viable product.

“However, the need to decarbonise transport has never been more important. With the UK government setting world-leading targets to clean up on and off-highway vehicles, and transport featuring heavily in their Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, there’s an opportunity here for UK companies to really make a difference.”

The support isn’t just about funding the technology development. APC are keen to ensure that these ideas turn into a commercial success as Josh goes on to explain: “The winners of this competition demonstrated that their technology enables the shift towards net-zero emissions vehicles, but our aim is to provide successful applicants with a systematic, phased approach to building their businesses – a 360-degree programme of support to help great ideas flourish in a commercial space.”

“So alongside the funding we will link the winning technology developers with a range of industry experts – or as we call them, Delivery Partners – providing developers with practical guidance and mentorship on everything from protecting their intellectual property rights, attracting investors and PR and marketing.

“We’d like to see these great ideas grow into next-generation products, ultimately leading to more to CO2 savings, more jobs created and contributing to the push towards net-zero as the UK cements itself as a leader in innovative propulsion technology.”

The winners of the funding support include:

Composites Evolution – Derbyshire
Using plant-based composite materials to replace conventional materials for next-generation lightweight vehicle structures that will lead to increased vehicle range.

Ben Hargreaves, Sales and Marketing Director, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to join the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s Technology Developer Acceleration programme. We see big potential in our novel bio-based composite materials and we’re looking forward to working with the TDAP team to help us bring the technology to market.”

D2H Advanced Technologies – Buckingham
Developing faster, more flexible simulation to compare battery performance (AMMBa) to cut cost and speed up timescales.

Chris Hebert, Engineering Director of D2H Advanced Technologies Ltd, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the Advanced Propulsion Centre has chosen to support D2H Advanced Technologies’ innovative and pioneering work in battery modelling through their TDAP programme. Such grant funding, coupled with professional support, will be instrumental in helping us to deliver a market leading product.” 

Enable Manufacturing – Leicester
Using 3D printing to create casts for manufacture meaning more complex metal parts can be developed more quickly.

Phil Kilburn, Sales Director at Enable, said: “We are delighted that the Advanced Propulsion Centre has made this grant available to support the further development of our Additive Casting process. Having support from the APC is a great testament to the potential of Additive Casting and will help us and our customers to reduce weight, add performance and reduce costs for many critical drivetrain components.”

Ilika Technologies – Romsey
Developing solid-state battery technology that will lead to benefits such as greater range, lighter weight and faster charging.

Graeme Purdy, CEO, IIika, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to participate in this highly competitive programme and look forward to working with industry experts. As our Goliath solid state battery technology matures, we look forward to accelerating our time to market by working with the automotive industry under the TDAP framework, through the APC. This APC funded programme represents a strong opportunity to ensure Goliath meets the needs of the automotive markets and for Ilika to collaborate with stakeholders in the industry.”

LiNa Energy – Lancaster
The LiNa sodium-nickel-chloride battery platform is Lithium and Cobalt free which will reduce costs and ease recycling.

Gene Lewis, CEO of LiNa Energy said: “I am delighted that LiNa is participating in TDAP. This program will help us reach our ambitious commercialisation targets. The programme arranged for us by TDAP team is very precisely targeted to our needs. I have no doubt our participation will increase awareness of our technology with OEM end-users; the TDAP team have already facilitated important industry introductions.”

Maxpower Semiconductor UK – London
Using silicon carbide to improve efficiency and thermal properties reducing cooling system requirements which will reduce costs but improve performance.

Dr Craig A. Fisher, PhD, Design Engineering Manager, said: “MaxPower Semiconductor UK are delighted that the Advanced Propulsion Centre has accepted us onto the Technology Developer Accelerator Programme and made this grant available to support our innovation.  We look forward to working with the APC to further advance our technology and bring it to market.”

Oxford RF Solutions – Oxford
A multidirectional radar sensor to enable all-weather situational awareness in autonomous vehicles.

Kashif Siddiq, CEO of Oxford RF Solutions Ltd, said: “We are delighted that the Advanced Propulsion Centre has made this grant available to support the proprietary radar sensor design work being undertaken by Oxford RF Solutions Ltd to enable all-weather autonomy.”

Seren Technologies – Redcar, Yorks
Using Ionic liquids to enable the sustainable separation of rare earth elements used in net-zero technology including electric vehicles. Increasing efficiency and reducing costs.

Edward Morrell, Director of Seren Technologies Ltd said: “We are pleased that the Advanced Propulsion Centre has recognised the need for separation technology to achieve high-purity rare earth oxides in the electric vehicle supply chain. Their grant will support the innovative work being undertaken by Seren Technologies Limited.”

Sigma Lithium – Oxfordshire
3D metallic lithium anode for high performance electric vehicle batteries with a faster charge and greater driving range.

Dr Gleb Ivanov, CEO, Sigma, said: “We are delighted to have support of APC in this journey. The lithium battery industry is experiencing a paradigm shift by moving away from wet chemistry cells to solid state components. We want Sigma Lithium to be a pioneering that transition especially in dendrite free lithium anode materials.”

StoreDot UK – London
Developing electric vehicle battery technology with dramatically reduced charging times.

Tzemah Kislev, StoreDot Vice President Operations and Engineering, said: “We are delighted that the Advanced Propulsion Centre has made this grant available to StoreDot and our pioneering work in extreme fast charging battery technologies for electric vehicles. It will be used to support our mission to eradicate range anxiety as we move towards an electrified future and an emissions-free world.”

Westfield Sportscars – Dudley
Developing autonomous vehicle technology for last mile deliveries.

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