The Energy Catalyst fund, run by the government-backed Innovate UK, will encourage firms to develop technologies that reduce carbon emissions, improve energy security and reduce costs for the consumer.

“Governments have their role to play,” said Cable. “But we also need there to be investment by businesses in innovation to develop new products and technologies.

“We are making £14 million available to encourage that investment and make sure that British companies have help to tackle this challenge.”

Fossil fuel extraction

In a separate competition, Innovate UK are offering £5 million, to encourage firms to find ways to reduce the environmental impact of extracting and using fossil fuels.

Innovate UK chief executive Iain Gray said: “The energy sector is already a significant contributor to the UK economy.

“The size of the market and the possibilities for innovation to address these challenges creates great opportunities for those businesses to develop and grow. That’s why Innovate UK is providing them with support to develop technologies that tackle the challenges, and bring them to market.”

Game changers

The two announcements cap a busy 24 hours for Cable and Innovate UK, which began the day by announcing a £50m investment for ‘potentially game-changing technologies’.

The fund is part of a four year Emerging Technologies program, which will “help UK business and academia transform ideas into reality in seven areas,” including energy efficiency and energy harvesting.

Gray explained: “With our strong and inventive research base, the UK is an excellent source of high potential early-stage technologies. This new investment will help make the push for full commercialisation, creating real economic growth for the UK in the process.”

Brad Allen

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