Ten new UK innovators have secured a place in the second intake of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s industry-backed national technology accelerator programme, the Launch Academy.
From a highly competitive pool of applicants, 10 companies were selected to pitch to a panel made up of industry representatives from ORE Catapult, bp, ScottishPower Renewables and Scottish Enterprise.
The 10 winning companies – Steamology, MJR Power & Automation, 4Ax Technologies, Future Energy Associates, JET Engineering System Solutions, MasterFilter, Crack Map, VRAI International, Force 55 and IONATE – are all developing ambitious and innovative technologies that could be game-changing for the offshore renewable energy industry, making a vital contribution to technological advancement and cost reduction.
The companies were asked to pitch against specific industry-sponsored challenges from bp and ScottishPower Renewables, addressing areas such as zero-emission crew transfer vessel operations, minimising the impact of offshore wind on natural ecosystems, improving inter-array cabling for floating wind farms and integrating autonomous vessels into offshore logistics operations.
There was also an Open Innovation Category, sponsored by ORE Catapult and Scottish Enterprise, for companies developing innovative solutions that can support the development of next-generation wind farms and improve the efficiency of current operations.
The 10 winning companies came together at TusPark Newcastle last week for the launch event that kicked off a programme of industry-guided support and mentoring, individually tailored to suit their own business needs.
Alex Louden, ORE Catapult’s Senior Technology Acceleration Manager, said: “We are thrilled with this latest cohort of our National Launch Academy programme. We have gone through an incredibly exciting and rigorous process of hearing pitches from all the shortlisted applicants, and we believe these 10 winners will make a significant contribution to the UK offshore wind sector. We want to see UK innovation taking centre stage in the growth of the global offshore wind sector and in our race to achieve Net Zero.”
Bob Flint, VP Digital Science at bp, said: “This is the first time we have sponsored this competition, and I’ve been really impressed with the quality and variety of the applications. The UK continues to have a thriving innovation ecosystem and we’re excited to welcome the 10 winners into the programme and support them through the process. As we grow our UK offshore wind capability through our existing Morven, Morgan, and Mona projects, it will be great to see new technologies being developed and I look forward to these exciting innovators growing and flourishing.”
Charlie Jordan, ScottishPower Renewable’s UK and Ireland Offshore Wind Director, said: “Innovation, creativity and ambition will continue to be key features in the offshore wind industry as we continue to work towards a clean energy future and it’s great to welcome the 10 winning companies on that journey. There has never been a more exciting – or important – time for businesses to get involved, really make their mark and support the growth of offshore wind as the backbone of the UK’s energy mix. I can’t wait to see what these companies achieve through the accelerator programme.”
Established in 2019 by the Catapult, the National Launch Academy paves the way for supply chain development in the offshore wind industry as a technology accelerator programme, focusing on near to market solutions. The programme is already creating success stories in the industry, with companies that took part in the first cohort reporting contract wins, job creation and increases in public and private investment.
The National Launch Academy is accompanied by regional programmes, with the next applications opening on the 3rd March 2022 for companies operating in North East England within the North of Tyne Combined Authority region (Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle Upon Tyne). The Launch Academy North East is funded through the Catapult’s Technology, Innovation & Green Growth for Offshore Renewables (TIGGOR) programme by the North Tyne Combined Authority.