GBSLEP awards grants to low carbon businesses
12 Aug 2021
Innovative projects designed to lower carbon emissions have been awarded funding by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).
Through its Low Carbon Grant Fund, the GBSLEP has awarded grants to three organisations across the region. Energym, IPV Flexgen and a partnership of the Confederation for British Metalforming (CBM), University of Birmingham and Kelvin Thermotech, have received up to £35,000 each to undertake feasibility work for solutions that can support the decarbonisation of the region’s economy.
Energym, a precision engineering start up in Birmingham, used the grant to accelerate the development of its ‘RE:GEN’ indoor fitness bike. It captures and converts human power into clean electricity for charging electronic devices. The Energym team led by CEO Will Flint has secured patent design certifications and is preparing for a wider rollout of the ‘RE:GEN’ model through ensuring it is compatible with apps such as Zwift.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and GBSLEP Net Zero Board Champion said:
“The Low Carbon Grant Fund was launched last year to provide innovators with early-stage funding during the challenging economic conditions caused by the global pandemic. This regional innovation will help the region continue to grow its low carbon sector whilst also supporting the Government’s national commitment to achieve net zero by 2050 and the WMCA target of 2041.
“Unlocking growth in the low carbon sector is crucial to delivering local, regional and national decarbonisation targets as well as delivering new investment and creating jobs. Recent analysis from the Midlands Energy Hub indicates that up to 168,000 low carbon jobs could be created by 2050 to deliver on national Net Zero targets.”
Will Flint, CEO of Energym said:
"The support from the GBSLEP has made a meaningful contribution to our product testing and development. It’s great to see them supporting innovation and businesses in the region."
Located on the A46 in Coventry, IPV Flexgen is using its grant to develop Brandon Reach Gateway. This new site will develop a renewable-powered microgrid system connected to a vertical farming facility to grow crops and generate power. The facility will combine a number of distributed low-carbon technologies including solar PV, solar thermal, hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology and battery storage for the first time in a commercial setting.
To address the productivity and efficiency challenges faced by metal forming companies in the Black Country, the Confederation for British Metalforming (CBM) and it partners used the funding to explore waste heat recovery (WHR) solutions using composite Phase Change Materials (ePCM). ePCM can capture high-grade waste heat, to be stored and reused later, or elsewhere. Capturing this high-grade head can be used to accelerate start-up phases, be used in other industrial processes that require lower temperature, and research done by the University of Birmingham during this project indicates that the storage properties of this technology could even open up opportunities to trade heat across the region to respond to local needs!
Derek Bond, Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM) said:
“The CBM were delighted to receive grant funding from GBSLEP to support two local member companies conduct an initial feasibility study into recovering waste process heat. Metal-forming is a high energy intensive industry using large volumes of natural gas to provide heat. The funding has helped both a forging and heat-treatment facility understand an innovative solution and benefits in recovering waste heat from furnaces to both reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint. The findings of the study have also been shared with other CBM sector members and it is hoped that further funding can be obtained to take this study to the next level.”
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