Government – guidance

Innovation funding for low-carbon technologies: opportunities for bidders

How to apply to take part in government - and EU - funded low-carbon energy innovation projects.


This guide gives information about schemes, open competitions and collaboration opportunities in government and EU supported low carbon energy projects, which form part of the drive for transformational innovation.

European Collaboration: funding schemes

European Energy Innovation Funding - 2016 Horizon 2020 Energy Calls

The first two topic areas of the 2016 Calls for Proposals for Horizon 2020 Energy are now open.

Horizon 2020 Energy, with a budget of around €6bn over the period 2014 - 2020, is the EU’s Research and Innovation grant funding Programme for energy technology research, development, demonstration and removing market barriers.

The 2016 Calls have a total budget of over €500m and will cover a range of technology areas including energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, smart grids and smart cities.

The table below includes links to more information on the specific challenges, scope and expected impacts for each of the topics.

UK organisations involvement: One of the objectives of Horizon 2020 is to increase industrial engagement in projects. UK organisations can participate in a number of ways: lead (coordinate) a project, be a participant in a consortium, or provide the demonstration facilities for a technology. Whichever way you choose to participate you need to start early to develop a competitive proposal. Proposals will usually involve a minimum of three organisations from three different Member States or Associated Countries.

Support available for UK organisations: EU Energy Focus is the UK‘s National Contact Point (NCP) Service for Energy. It is a free UK Government-funded service, that aims to ensure that UK companies, research institutions and other organisations are well informed and have every chance of success in applying for and securing European funding for energy-related projects. The service includes one-to-one discussion of proposal ideas, review of draft proposals and applying the learning from the previous Horizon 2020 Energy Calls. Further information on the EU Energy Focus website.

Topic areas and links to further information Indicative budget Indicative budget per project Indicative launch dates Indicative deadlines
Energy efficiency research and demonstration in the areas of heating & cooling, engaging consumers, buildings and industry & products 50M€ 3 to 5 M€ 14 Oct 2015 21 Jan 2016
Low Carbon energy technology development including PV, CSP, wind, ocean energy, solar heating, hydropower, geothermal, CHP, bioenergy, CCS 120M€ 0.6 to 10M€ 26 Oct 2015 16 Feb 2016
Smart grids and storage development and demonstration and socio-economic research 150M€ 1 to 15M€ 7 Dec 2015 5 April 2016
Smart cities and communities (Proposals must incorporate the demonstration of smart homes, integration of renewables, smart grids, energy storage, electric vehicles and smart charging infrastructure in a single specified area of the city) 60M€ 12 to 18M€ 7 Dec 2015 5 April 2016
Addressing barriers to energy efficiency in areas of heating and cooling, engaging consumers, buildings, industry and products and financing innovation 43M€ 0.5 to 2M€ 15 March 2016 15 Sept 2016
Low carbon energy technology demonstration including PV, wind, ocean and biofuels 85M€ 3 to 15M€ 10 May 2016 8 Sept 2016

The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund

The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund is a competitive funding scheme to support the development and demonstration of state of the art technologies, products and processes in the areas of energy efficiency, power generation, heat and electricity storage and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund seeks the best ideas, irrespective of source, across these energy technology areas from the public and private sector. The scheme particularly aims to assist small and medium-sized enterprises, including start-ups, and those companies that are selected will receive additional funding for incubation support.

Phases 1, 2 and 3

The first phase of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund was open from 23 August to 31 October 2012. Under this phase, £16 million was awarded to 31 projects. Following the second phase on 13th June 2013, a further £10m was awarded to 22 projects. Phase 3 in January 2014 resulted in a further £9m awarded to 19 projects. A full list of the projects who have received EEF grants to date is available on the GOV.UK website.

Phase 4

The fourth phase of the Energy Entrepreneur’s Fund was open from the 27 November 2014 to 26 January 2015. Under this phase £4.5m was awarded to 14 companies, with £1.7m allocated to projects focused on technologies associated with CCS. A full list of the projects who have received Phase 4 EEF grants is available on the GOV.UK website.

Bioenergy: funding schemes

Bioenergy demonstrator funding opportunity

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), BBSRC and the Technology Strategy Board are part of a European consortium that, supported by the European Commission, aims to encourage generation of bioenergy through a single collaborative funding call. The objective of the call is to fund several collaborative bioenergy demonstration projects.

A consortium of 8 EU member states and associated countries, including the UK, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, is implementing BESTF, an Eranet-Plus activity. This activity will provide funding and support to collaborative bioenergy projects that demonstrate one or more innovative steps resulting in demonstration at a pre-commercial stage.

The competition took place in January 2013. Further details can be found on the InnovateUK website.

Second EU Bioenergy Demonstrator funding opportunity

Following the successful implementation of the first EU ERANET plus bioenergy demonstrator joint call that closed in March 2013, The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) joined forces again to lead a second initiative.

Bioenergy Sustaining the Future 2 (BESTF2), like its predecessor, aims to encourage the commercialisation of innovative bioenergy projects by providing financial support to high quality collaborative bioenergy demonstration projects.

Participating countries this time include the UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and The Netherlands. Projects need to demonstrate active participation from at least two of these countries.

The BESTF2 joint call launched on 11 December 2013, and full details can be found on the BESTF website](

Video footage of the UK launch event can be found on the on the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network You Tube channel.

Bioenergy Sustaining the Future 2: early market engagement document

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Energy efficiency and storage: funding schemes

Heat storage competition for SBRI contracts

DECC launched a competition to assess the performance of advanced thermal storage, which can be integrated with heat technologies to help balance peak loads to the grid.

The competition aimed to assess the viability of compact heat storage materials as an effective means to mitigate potential strain on the electricity grid in scenarios of increasing loads from low-carbon heat technologies (such as heat pumps).

The competition closed to applicants in August 2012. Successful studies were invited to participate in a prototype demonstration (Phase 2) in spring 2013, with monitoring to take place over a 12-month period.

Competition documents

DECC advanced heat storage project brief

Advanced heat storage competition guidance notes

DECC Pre-Commercial Procurement contract template (PDF, 105KB, 21 pages)

Nuclear innovation: funding schemes

Nuclear power is, and will continue to be, a key part of our low-carbon energy mix alongside renewable generation and Carbon Capture and Storage. All of these technologies are important in tackling climate change and diversifying our supply, contributing to the UK’s energy security and growth.

A cross-government review, undertaken in response to the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee’s report on UK nuclear research and development (R&D) capabilities, led to the publication, in March 2013, of a suite of documents including the Nuclear Industry Strategy; a Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap; a Nuclear Industrial Vision Statement; a Long Term Nuclear Energy Strategy; and a Civil Nuclear Research and Development Landscape Review.

In the UK, industry has set out plans to deliver around 16 GW of new nuclear by 2030. However, a significant expansion in nuclear power generation, beyond the immediate target of 16GW may be required if CO2 emission targets are to be met.

Investment in innovation will help to decrease costs, increase capacity, decrease delays to construction and demonstrate efficient waste and decommissioning processes. It has been estimated that investment in nuclear innovation could provide benefits valued between £2-14 billion to 2050 and £3-34 billion by 2100 (source Nuclear Fission Technology Innovation Needs Assessment). It would also help create UK based business opportunities that could contribute between £1.5 billion and £13 billion to GDP by 2050.

DECC is considering commissioning a techno-economic assessment, to deliver the necessary evidence base to inform any future Government policy decision on the development and deployment of SMRs within the UK. Further details are set out in the following document.

Early market engagement announcement

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Government is now considering its evidence requirements to support future policy decisions on SMRs. As such we are looking to engage with technology developers/vendors in the market to gather further detailed information on SMRs. This may lead to a techno-economic assessment in which parties will be invited to submit evidence for consideration against defined criteria.

The first step of this process was a specification study which intended to inform the key parameters of such a techno-economic assessment. We wanted to engage with parties at this stage to enable comment on the draft proposed key parameters, the categories of information that we think are important to structure the evidence base and what evidence is available.

We held a Vendor Engagement Workshop, further details are set out in the following vendor invitation document.

Vendor engagement workshop

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Nuclear Innovation funding opportunities for advanced reactors and spent fuel recycle research facilities

DECC ran calls for proposals to establish world leading facilities to support research in to advanced reactors and spent fuel recycling in early 2015.

Details are set out in the following documents.

Nuclear research and development: Advanced fuel recycle technologies calls for propopsals

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Nuclear research and development: high temperature materials testing suite calls for proposals

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

DECC has issued a notification of the intention to issue two grants to establish world leading facilities to support research into accident tolerant fuels.

Details of the grants and how to provide any comments are set out in the following document.

Nuclear research and development - accident tolerant fuel

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Recent investment in nuclear innovation and R&D

On 10th December 2013, Michael Fallon MP, Minister for Business and Energy, announced a £28 million package of support for nuclear research and development aimed at making the UK a global leader in this field. This funding will support a number of R&D initiatives as part of the Nuclear Industrial Strategy:

  • The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) has been given the go-ahead to start commissioning the high activity cells in Phase 3 of their Central Laboratory, opening up opportunities to develop high end nuclear R&D skills and the potential to reduce decommissioning costs through further R&D. Government is providing around £5million to the NNL to commence the process for commissioning this world-class facility.
  • £8million to establish a Nuclear Fuel Centre of Excellence (NFCE), the latest in a number of R&D facilities needed to support industry and academia across the entire nuclear sector. The funding will provide shared equipment at NNL’s Springfields’ and Central laboratories and the University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbria and Manchester facilities.
  • Just over £1million, in financial year 2013-2014, for the 3rd phase of the National Nuclear Users Facility which will be used to provide equipment for the Advanced Digital Radiometric Instrumentation for Applied Nuclear Activities (ADRIANA); a state-of-the-art capability for the control, monitoring and operation of nuclear power stations with benefits also to nuclear safeguards & security, decommissioning activities, and fusion research.
  • A £1.5 million investment in an early nuclear R&D programme to be led by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and completed by April 2014. This work will carry out strategic assessments on a range of candidate nuclear energy systems for different UK low carbon electricity futures.
  • Early in 2014, up to £13 million will be made available jointly by the Technology Strategy Board, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to help UK-based businesses take advantage of the opportunities that arise from new nuclear. This is part of a drive to grow a robust and sustainable UK supply chain by developing innovative products and services for the nuclear sector. The initiative will focus on key technology areas such as construction, manufacturing, operation, maintenance and decommissioning & waste.

In addition to the investments highlighted above, the Minister also announced that Dame Sue Ion has been appointed as the Chair for the new Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB), and that a Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO) has been established to provide an expert secretariat to the Board and coordinate nuclear R&D across the UK. The NIRO will be hosted by the National Nuclear Laboratory in their Warrington offices, and Gordon Bryan has been appointed as the Director of NIRO with immediate effect.

£13m Funding available for Nuclear R&D

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are investing up to £13m in collaborative R&D and feasibility study projects, to stimulate innovation and strengthen the UK’s civil nuclear supply chain. The competition is open to all sizes of businesses and research organisations who may already be engaged in the nuclear sector or who are considering entering this growing market for the first time.

The competition has 2 strands:

  1. Up to £10m is available for Collaborative R&D projects
  2. Up to £3m is available for Feasibility Study projects

There are 5 technology themes which are applicable to both Strands of the competition and apply to both new build and existing nuclear power plant.

  1. Construction, installation and commissioning
  2. Operation and maintenance
  3. High Value Manufacturing
  4. Waste, decommissioning and storage
  5. Open theme (eg includes Small Modular Reactors)

It is envisaged that the competition will attract numerous cross-cutting and innovative technologies that could be developed or adapted for the above themes from areas such as; materials, processing & joining, NDE, condition monitoring, robotics, remote handling, sensors, electronics, chemistry and many others. We welcome and encourage technology transfer proposals from other sectors.

At these two links, on the right hand side of the pages you will find details of:

  1. The full competition brief , key dates and guidance for applicants documents;
  2. Registration for Brokering events at Manchester (21 January) and Penrith (12 February) where you can look for and meet potential partners from large and small businesses and academia and briefly present your project ideas. You will also hear from the nuclear sector about their R&D needs and SMEs who will share their experience of working with the TSB and showcase their innovation from previous projects.
  3. Registration for a Competition briefing event in London (or live by webinar) on 19 March where you will hear full details of the scope of the competition, the application process and how to maximise your chances of success We recommend all potential applicants to attend these events wherever possible. It is particularly important that people attend the Competition Briefing event as funding rules have recently changed and are more attractive for businesses, particularly those working with research organisations.

Registration places for all events are limited and will be allocated on a first come basis

Developing the civil nuclear power supply chain

DECC co-founded a competition with the Technology Strategy Board, NDA and EPSRC to stimulate innovation in the civil nuclear power sector. The competition ran from 2 July to 4 October 2012. Read more about the competition.

Invitation to tender for nuclear innovation investment analysis

Investment decisions need to be evidence-based to ensure public money is used in the most cost-effective manner and will deliver maximal benefit. To prioritise investment DECC wants to analyse where, how, and to what extent investment across the nuclear life cycle will deliver benefit to the UK.

This work will help to define specific R&D programmes and/or capital investment that will unlock significant benefits for the UK.

DECC has issued an Invitation to tender for this work on the Contracts Finder website.

Advanced reactors and fuel cycle reports

DECC’s work includes considering how the UK energy system might evolve in the future and the roles that different types of energy generation may play in it. This may include new designs of nuclear reactors and new types of fuel.

Most of the world’s nuclear power reactors tend to run on uranium fuel, be cooled by water and, in order to sustain the heat-giving nuclear reaction in the reactor core, they must slow down the neutrons that the fuel emits. However, there are a range of reactor designs in various stages of development that differ from these and that may offer advantages over currently available reactor systems. Some of these also offer the possibility of using thorium, rather than uranium as a fuel, which also may offer desirable characteristics.

These reports aim to consider a range of advanced reactor systems and fuel cycles, to offer insight into their potential advantages and disadvantages and to highlight some of the challenges to developing them.

The findings should be seen as a preliminary analysis of technological potential and are not intended as an exhaustive review. Additionally, they do not aim to include the influence of market and policy drivers in the future, which would determine whether the technological characteristics might deliver real-world advantages. These influences would include changes in demand for energy, the level of worldwide uptake of nuclear power, developments in nuclear waste disposal technology and the growth of other energy generation sources.

Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration scheme

Fourth call for offshore wind innovation – NOW CLOSED

The fourth round of DECC’s offshore wind innovation funding competition is now closed to further applications – ie. any application submitted after the 15 June 2013 deadline can not be considered.

The decision to close the scheme slightly early has been taken in the light of the current budget position for the Scheme which reflects both the funding already committed to offshore wind innovation projects and the applications received to date in the fourth round.

Innovators who may have considered applying to the Offshore Wind Component Technologies Scheme may find it useful to look at DECC’s Energy Entrepreneur’s Fund (EEF) which launched its second phase on 13 June 2013.

Closed schemes (still current)

Heat Networks Demonstration Small Business Research Initative (SBRI)

The Heat Networks Demonstration SBRI competition aims to stimulate innovation that will help address cost and performance efficiency challenges related to heat networks.

Key objectives of this scheme are:

  1. to support the deployment of low carbon heat networks out to 2050
  2. to demonstrate the successful integration of innovative technologies and techniques on heat networks
  3. to provide real world evidence on reducing costs and improving energy efficiencies
  4. to improve the customer experience of heat networks; and
  5. to increase DECC’s understanding of heat network innovators and the heat network technology supply chain

Key dates:

  • Competition opens – 2 October 2014
  • Deadline for proposals – 28 November 2014
  • Phase 1 projects start – January 2015
  • Phase 2 projects start – April/May 2015

For further information visit the Contracts Finder website.

NER300 - EU Funding Mechanism for Renewables Demonstration Projects: Second call for proposals

On 3 April 2013, the European Commission published its Call for Proposals for the second round of New Entrant Reserve (NER) funding. The NER300 is a common fund of 300 million EU ETS allowances set aside for supporting about 8 CCS and 34 renewable energy projects. DECC put together guidance for potential UK applicants for renewable demonstration projects.

The Call closed on 20 June 2013.

DECC energy storage innovation competition

12 organisations have been awarded nearly £0.5million to carry out phase 1 feasibility studies into innovative and diverse energy storage ideas under the under Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition. The Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition is part of the Small Business Research Initiative, a pre commercial procurement scheme run by the Technology Strategy Board. The competition is being funded and run by DECC and it aims to encourage the development of innovative, pre-commercial energy storage technologies that can address grid-scale storage and balancing needs in the UK electricity network.

DECC will invite some of the innovators who won funding under the Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition to take part in the second, demonstration phase of this competition later in 2013, with up to £17 million available in total to test designs on the ground by the end of March 2015.

Details of the Phase 1 winners are summarised in the following document:

Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competitions – Summary of Phase 1 Winners

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Component research and feasibility study scheme

Four organisations have won a share of £1.5million under the first round of the energy storage systems component research and feasibility studies competition. The winning companies will use the funding to improve components or materials used for energy storage systems or to develop feasibility studies to explore how storage systems work and how they can be used in the UK electricity network.

The bids were assessed against a range of criteria including the technical specification, value for money and potential for commercialisation. DECC will announce the winners from the second round of this scheme, which closed on 27 March 2013, later in 2013.

Details of these first round winners are summarised in the following document:

Energy Storage Component Research and Feasibility Study Competition – Summary of 1st Call Winners

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Further information

An online group for the storage competitions, organised by the Energy Generation and Supply Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), can be accessed from the Connect: Energy Storage Group web page.

Invest in Innovative Refurb programme

In September 2011, the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change announced that up to £35 million innovation funding would be earmarked to support the development and demonstration of innovative technologies and systems that can reduce carbon emissions from buildings. Of this £35 million, £10 million was allocated to a competition to reduce the risk and cost of innovative technologies or processes that can demonstrate significant energy and carbon savings in non-domestic buildings (which currently comprise 18% of the UK’s carbon emissions).

The Invest in Innovative Refurb programme was launched on 30 April 2012 and is being run in 2 tranches by the Technology Strategy Board. Each tranche includes a Phase 1 design and Phase 2 demonstration phase. It will introduce new energy efficient technologies and processes for the low-carbon refurbishment of existing non-domestic buildings.

Generation technologies are not in the scope of this competition but will be supported in other innovation schemes such as the Energy Entrepreneur’s Fund Scheme. Funded activities must support the installation and demonstration of innovative equipment, systems or processes that directly impact technology performance.

The scheme seeks to address a lack of product and systems innovation in the energy efficient refurbishment of these buildings and aims to demonstrate a greater range of options and their value proposition. The competition will support the assessment of innovative products that could potentially be certified under regulated assessment frameworks for inclusion under the Green Deal.

For competition timings and details, visit the Technology Strategy Board: Invest in Innovative Refurb web page.

Background analysis to the programme’s context is available in the Non-domestic buildings TINA from the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group.

The Marine Energy Array Demonstrator (MEAD) scheme

In June 2011 DECC announced it is investing up to £20 million in the MEAD scheme to support the development of marine energy technologies, subject to value for money assessments.

MEAD closed to applications in June 2012, with final awards being made early in 2013 for project commencement in 2013.

Aims of the MEAD scheme

The MEAD scheme will support up to 2 pre-commercial projects to demonstrate the operation of wave and/or tidal devices in array formation for an extended period of time. By supporting the sector as it moves from single device prototypes to first arrays of full-scale devices, the MEAD will build confidence in the technology as a viable option to produce bulk electricity and in its potential contribution to the long-term deployment of renewable energy.

Award of MEAD funds will be subject to prior State Aid approval. DECC is applying for State Aid clearance for the scheme and will seek clearance to cumulate the grant funding with the relevant government revenue support.

Eligibility for the MEAD scheme

To encourage technology acceleration in marine energy this call focused on those projects that meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • the array must expect to generate at least 7 gigawatts (GWh) per year when complete and must include at least 3 generating devices. We expect this to equate to a capacity factor of at least 3MW
  • larger arrays at or in excess of 10GWh annual energy production will be assessed more favourably and we expect to support arrays of between 5MW and 10MW nameplate capacity
  • the technology used must have been previously demonstrated at full-scale in real-sea conditions with comparable resource to the project site and using devices of equivalent design and scale to those to be installed in the MEAD project
  • the technology used in the MEAD project must be manifestly similar in scale and concept to devices that will be installed in future commercial arrays
  • project planning must be underway such that the complete project can be energised by 31 March 2016 at the latest. At the time of application:
    • the project site must have an in-principle grid-connection lined up, with connection to have been completed before 31 March 2016
    • the project must hold an agreement for lease for a wave and/or tidal array at the site from the relevant leasing body (probably The Crown Estate)
    • application for planning consents must be well underway, with at least a formal scoping letter from the relevant consenting body or bodies available at the application date - to achieve this we expect that baseline environmental monitoring will have already commenced.
  • the project site must be entirely within UK territorial waters and must supply electricity to the UK grid
  • arrays awarded MEAD funding are expected to operate for a minimum of 2 years. (Although we expect arrays to operate for up to 20 years, and to provide a commercial return based on sale of electricity and revenue support)

Pre-submission briefing

A pre-submission briefing was held in London on 2 May 2012 to provide applicants with further information on the purpose of the scheme, project scope, eligibility criteria and to answer any questions in relation to this call. You can download the following material presented at the briefing:

Offshore wind: Component Technologies Development and Demonstration scheme

5 November 2012: third call for offshore wind innovation

A briefing event for these new offshore energy competitions was held in London on Tuesday, 13 November. You can download the presentation slides:

Briefing (PDF, 7.89MB, 118 pages)

This scheme has closed to applications. For reference, documents relevant to the application process are available for download as follows:

In parallel with the third call of the Component Technologies Scheme, 2 related competitions have been launched to stimulate innovation in the UK offshore wind sector and to strengthen the supply chain.

Wetland biomass to bio-energy competition

DECC has launched a SBRI competition to develop and demonstrate a bioenergy process that optimises wetland management activities and utilises the biomass arisings.

This scheme aims to increase the availability of renewable, sustainable bioenergy whilst addressing the challenges of wetland management and avoiding conflicts with alternative uses of land such as food or housing. Specific objectives include:

  • optimisation of wetland management processes across challenging UK sites
  • demonstration of an efficient feedstock conversion technology that utilises wetland biomass arisings
  • integration of harvesting and conversion processes into an efficient cost effective system that can be used by regional land owners across the UK and that will provide energy either locally or nationally

The three-phase scheme initially enabled contractors to develop their ideas into detailed project plans with projected life cycle assessments. Three contractors have now been awarded funding to go into Phase 2 to progress their innovative ideas into technology demonstrators.

You can download:

Key dates for the Wetlands scheme

Phase 1 (system design and life cycle analysis) Date
Competition opens/briefing 8 October 2012
Deadline for applications 14 November 2012
Notification of Phase 1 assessment results December 2012
Phase 1 begins January 2013
Deadline for design and analysis report March 2013
Phase 2 (preliminary demonstration and trials) Date
Notification of phase 2 project selection May/June 2013
Phase 2 development commences May/June 2013
Phase 2 delivery and monitoring June 2013 to March 2014
Phase 2 development report March 2014
Phase 3 (final development, demonstration and trials) Date
Phase 3 development commences April 2014 - Feb 2015
Phase 3 delivery and monitoring April 2014 - Feb 2015
Final report February 2015

Closed schemes (scheme has ended)

These schemes have closed and the resulting innovations are referenced where applicable.

Hydrogen and fuel cell innovation

Hydrogen and fuel cells are related, but distinct, technologies that offer the potential for low - and ultimately zero - CO2 emissions, and increased energy security.

Fuel cell technology has potential applications in:

  • Transport (replacing the internal combustion engine)
  • Stationary power generation and combined heat and power (CHP)
  • Microgeneration - domestic scale power or CHP
  • Portable and remote power

These technologies are currently being demonstrated, at a pre-commercial stage, but will have to overcome significant techno-economic barriers in order to displace the incumbent technologies. DECC-funded programmes are helping address fuel cell costs and uncertainty about performance in real operating environments - which are some of the potential barriers to hydrogen deployment.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier, like electricity, which requires a source of primary energy to make it, and its carbon footprint depends on its production pathway. It can be produced from a number of different sources, including fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas; renewable energy sources, such as wind, hydro and biomass; or from nuclear power. The most widely used and economic method uses reformation of natural gas, which results in carbon emissions. However, there are a number of low or zero carbon routes for the production of hydrogen; for example, the use of water electrolysis using electricity generated from wind power. This option could also have useful energy storage and electricity system balancing benefits.

Hydrogen can be converted to electricity and heat using modified combustion engines, gas turbines or fuel cells. It is one of a number of low carbon energy technologies which may have the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing our carbon emissions from 2020 to 2050 and beyond.

The Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG) is currently undertaking a Technology Innovation Needs Assessment (TINA) for Hydrogen, a process which involves an in depth analysis of the economic and low carbon benefits of a particular technology. When this analysis is complete, it will be published on the Technology Innovation Needs Assessment (TINA) pages of the LCICG website.

DECC is also involved - with the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - in an industry-led project which is evaluating the potential for hydrogen as an ultra low carbon fuel for transport in the UK - UKH2Mobility.

Low Carbon Funding Navigator tool

The Low Carbon Funding Navigator web tool helps connect potential applicants with low-carbon funding providers. Users can search for the latest funding opportunities in the low-carbon area as well as opportunities to build collaborations for specific calls. Both public or private funders can add and manage their own funding opportunities. The navigator is a resource for the entire low-carbon energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) community, increasing transparency and knowledge sharing throughout the sector. It will be particularly valuable to smaller technology companies who struggle to keep up to speed with the myriad of support mechanisms in the UK. By placing this information at the users’ fingertips the navigator will reduce time wasted and opportunities missed.

The Energy Generation and Supply Knowledge Transfer Network developed the Low Carbon Funding Navigator with support from DECC.

Other public innovation funding

Innovation support is needed from early stage research and development through to demonstration and pre-commercial deployment. DECC is mainly involved with the later stages, with other players supporting earlier stage interventions.

The UK submits a return to the International Energy Agency (IEA), setting out how much the UK Government (excluding the devolved administrations) has spent on energy innovation, which the IEA publishes on its website alongside the data submitted from other IEA member countries. The spreadsheets include various data, including showing that in Financial Year 2010/11 the UK spent £522.12m on Research, Development and Demonstration.

Energy innovation: spend data (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 64.5KB)

Main providers of support

The Energy Generation and Supply Knowledge Transfer Network should be the first port of call for questions about funding and other opportunities.

Some of the other organisations that support innovation at its different stages are:

  • the Research Councils UK Energy Programme, which provides funding for basic strategic and applied research into a wide range of technology areas
  • the Technology Strategy Board, which supports medium-size research and development projects using technology-specific research calls
  • the Energy Technologies Institute - a public-private partnership that invests in developing full-system solutions to long-term energy challenges
  • Carbon Trust, which offers a wide range of support for low-carbon innovation mainly in the pre-market arena
  • DECC, which supports and demonstrates key later-stage innovative technologies relating to energy supply and efficiency
  • the EU, which coordinates a Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) that supports the development of energy technologies necessary for meeting the EU’s 2020 targets and 2050 vision (email to receive regular updates by newsletter on the SET Plan and other European initiatives
  • EU Energy Focus - a free UK government-funded service that helps UK companies and research institutions access EU energy technology research, development and demonstration funding programmes (advice available covers the EU’s Framework Programme 7 Energy theme, Intelligent energy Europe 2 and the SET Plan

Technology Innovation Needs Assessments (TINAs)

Invitation to tender to appoint a supplier to undertake analysis of the potential innovation needs for Solar Photovoltaic and Thermal technologies - Technology Innovation Needs Assessment (TINA)

The aim of the Solar Photovoltaic and Thermal Technologies TINA is to identify the key innovation needs in solar photovoltaic (PV) and thermal technologies, while also assessing the potential of these technologies in terms of the UK energy system in 2050, and their contribution to UK economic growth.

The TINA will:

  • Assess the potential benefit to the UK from deployment cost reduction via innovation (i.e. meeting carbon abatement targets at lowest cost)
  • Evaluate the UK’s competitive advantage in solar technologies, and assess the potential value add and jobs supported in the UK both from exports and domestic economic activity
  • Place these assessments in the context of a wider UK energy system perspective, to fully consider the potential positive and negative impacts of solar technologies
  • Assess the case for public sector support for innovation in solar technologies

Key dates:

  • Competition opens: 26 November 2014
  • Deadline for proposals: 5 January 2015
  • Project start date: February 2015

For further information and to apply, visit the Contracts Finder website.

About TINAs

TINAs aim to identify and value the main innovation needs of specific low-carbon technology families to inform the prioritisation of public sector investment in low-carbon innovation.

The TINA for each low-carbon technology:

  • analyses the potential role of the technology in the UK’s energy system
  • estimates the value to the UK from cutting the costs of the technology through innovation
  • estimates the value to the UK of the green growth opportunity from exports
  • assesses the case for UK public sector intervention in innovation
  • identifies the potential innovation priorities to deliver the greatest benefit to the UK

The TINAs apply a consistent methodology across a diverse range of technologies, and a comparison of relative values across the different TINAs is as important as the examination of absolute values within each TINA.

In addition to offshore wind, the following technology sectors are being assessed using the TINA methodology:

  • marine
  • domestic buildings
  • non-domestic buildings
  • heat
  • bioenergy
  • electricity networks and storage
  • CCS
  • nuclear fission

Summary reports for these TINAs will be published over the next few months.

Beyond innovation there are other barriers and opportunities in planning, the supply chain, related infrastructure and finance. These are not explicitly considered in the TINAs conclusion since they are the focus of other government initiatives, in particular those from DECC and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The TINAs are a collaborative effort of the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group (LCICG), which is the co-ordination vehicle for the UK’s major public-sector backed funding and delivery bodies in the area of ‘low carbon innovation’. Its core members are DECC, BIS, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), the Technology Strategy Board and the Carbon Trust.

The TINA analytical framework was developed and implemented by the Carbon Trust with contributions from all core LCICG members as well as input from other expert individuals and organisations.

Summary TINA reports are published on the LCICG technology focus area web pages as they become available.


The TINAs provide an independent analysis of innovation needs and a comparison between technologies. The TINAs scenarios and associated values provide a framework to inform that analysis and those comparisons. The values are not predictions or targets and are not intended to describe or replace the published policies of any LCICG members. Any statements in the TINA do not necessarily represent the policies of LCICG members (or the government).