Energy Catapult launches SME support for low carbon heating and cooling

A new programme has been launched by the government's Energy Systems Catapult centre to assist small and medium sized businesses (SME) develop low carbon heating and cooling.

The Catapult is looking for smart, digitally connected heating and cooling solutions that use data to deliver services

The Catapult is looking for smart, digitally connected heating and cooling solutions that use data to deliver services

The package, dubbed Incubator and Accelerator, offers SMEs support to secure investment for smart energy systems with expertise from the Catapult offered alongside a network of partners to help with business growth.

Applications for the programme are open until 5 April, and the government centre has said that help with modelling services, consumer insights, digital and data services, system integration, business model innovation, market analysis, funding, and technical expertise can all be provided.

The assistance will be offered by the Catapult’s Innovator Support Platform (ISP) with two “Innovator Challenges” announced each year.

The ISP is looking for solutions with an end user focus, encouraging engagement with low carbon technologies, cross-vector solutions and energy-reduction measures. Specifically, it is looking for smart, digitally connected heating and cooling solutions that use data to deliver services and outcomes. This tech can be considered in isolation, but the centre is looking for those which are integrated or part of a whole system.

Systematic barriers

ISP business lead, Paul Jordan, said: “Many UK innovators face systemic barriers preventing their products and services getting to market at scale. Yet innovation is crucial to transforming our energy system to meet carbon reduction targets; and heating alone accounts for over a third (37%) of UK carbon emissions.

“The Catapult is also keen for larger corporate businesses to participate and sponsor the Innovator Support Platform to engage more directly with cutting-edge innovators.”

Jordan also said that the ISP will “likely” focus challenge calls in the future on areas such as digital platforms and services, network integration of future transport demands, and smart buildings.

Examples of work developed as a result of support from the centre includes Manchester start-up Evergreen Smart Power, who created a virtual power business aggregating and controlling domestic energy loads, resulting from the decarbonisation of transport and heating to suit specific customers, market, generation and grid conditions.

Speaking about the support, Evergreen's chief executive Andy McKay, said: “Business model evaluation of complex emerging energy sector business models requires in-depth knowledge of future energy scenarios and the Catapult could easily assemble experts with the insights and knowledge to develop our business model and value proposition.”

Decarbonisation of heating

The support follows the Government’s announcement last year of a £320m package to accelerate the adoption of low carbon heat technologies across the UK.

Called the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), it offers grants and loans to businesses, hospitals, schools and local authorities with a heat network of two or more buildings.

The scheme is being operated by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which claims that a switch to heat networks could “significantly” reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, if the transition is carried out at scale.


READ: edie Explains: low carbon heating and cooling

Is low-carbon heating and cooling right for your business? What are the technology options and how do you choose the right one? This edie explains business guide, produced in association with EDF Energy, has the answers.

Low-carbon heating and cooling can support the efforts of organisations that have set targets to increase their use of renewable energy and reduce their environmental impact. Decarbonisation of the UK’s heat can also help to strengthen security of supply.

This nine-page edie explains guide provides an end-to-end overview of the various low-carbon heating and cooling technologies and their uses, helping sustainability and energy managers understand exactly how to make the most out of low-carbon heating and cooling.

James Evison



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