Ten of the UK’s brightest technology innovator companies have secured more than £1 million in funding to help deliver solutions for the UK’s offshore wind industry.
The companies are part of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Launch Academy programme and have created new jobs and won new contracts thanks to the initiative, backed by bp, ScottishPower Renewables and Scottish Enterprise.
The latest Launch Academy cohort have each developed a solution for issues within the offshore wind industry, including providing 5G at sea, or replacing diesel engines in marine vessels with renewable hydrogen steam power. Launch Academy’s nine-month programme helps them develop their technology and commercialise solutions.
The companies shared their progress at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth to mark the midway point of their Launch Academy journey, where they also had networking opportunities with bp, Scottish Power Renewables and Scottish Enterprise.
Alex Louden, Senior Technology Acceleration Manager at ORE Catapult, said:
“Each of the ten companies have enjoyed fantastic successes since we started the latest round of Launch Academy in March 2022. It has been great to hear more about their impressive achievements and celebrate with them in person at our midterm event. We cannot wait to see how the grants, new hires and collaborations further enhance this selection of future businesses who will no doubt play a leading part in our renewable future.”
Since joining Launch Academy, Jet Engineering System Solutions, has secured over £500,000 in grant funding from both UK Research and Innovation and commercial contracts. They have also successfully launched a floating 5G base station and hired seven new staff members.
James Thomas, CEO at JET Engineering, said:
“It is a great experience to be part of Launch Academy and benefit from the skills and expertise that ORE Catapult provides. The opportunity to be immersed in the offshore wind world has supported our focus on the value we can bring to the market, and we are fortunate to be doing that alongside big industry players as well as others early on in their journey thanks to the Launch Academy team.”
Further success includes:
- Ilosta, which creates digital AI versions of structures to predict the extent of defects based solely upon surface visual inspection with no human interaction, has expanded by two new team members, secured £40,000 in funding from the Scottish Enterprise smart grant and is using data from ORE Catapult’s Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine (LDT) to validate and verify its technological solution.
- MJR Power and Automation, which is working on developing the world’s first on-turbine charging system for charging electric vessels at offshore wind farms, has won the ‘Renewables Category’ award at Innovations Showcase 2022.
- Steamology, which is looking to replace diesel engines in marine and transport vessels with renewable hydrogen steam power, has secured more than £650,000 in public funding. It also announced a collaboration with ORE Catapult on a Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition proposal project with hopes to work together on a Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV) demonstration project.
- VRAI, which combines virtual reality and artificial intelligence to make simulation training for high hazard environments more authentic, memorable and measurable, was successfully accepted onto a second round of Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) funding, receiving £130,000.