Heat from abandoned mines one of green projects to win government backing


RESEARCH and innovation projects across the UK addressing urgent challenges such as climate change and low carbon heating will receive up to £50,000 each of government funding.

The 17 projects, running from Glasgow and Belfast, through to Nottingham and parts of Cornwall include heating homes and businesses in Glasgow using energy from disused mines, developing new green transport products at the Midlands and accelerating building of large scale offshore wind farms in the South West of England.

Through the second round of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund, each project will be able to apply for a further longer-term investment of £10-50 million later this year if the early stages of development are successful.

It follows the announcement by the government in June this year of the first wave of the fund, which saw seven projects across the UK benefit from over £400 million of government and industry funding to develop their research and innovation projects.

One of these projects, Artemis Technologies, led a consortium that was awarded £33 million to develop zero emissions ferries in Northern Ireland – a project which will be viewed by Business Secretary Alok Sharma during a visit to Belfast.

At the site in Belfast Harbour, the Business Secretary is expected to meet with partners of the project to hear how it plans to establish Belfast as a global leader in zero emissions maritime technology.

Mr Sharma said: “We are backing our innovators and with the support they need to turn great ideas into first-class industries, products and technologies.

“From virtual construction projects to extracting clean heat from disused mines, the pioneering projects we are funding today will help create jobs and boost skills across the UK as we continue to drive forward our economic recovery.”

The projects

Projects each receiving up to £50,000 of early stage government funding include:

HotScot, led by the University of Strathclyde

HotScot will provide low-cost, low carbon heat to Scottish homes and businesses by extracting energy from disused, flooded mines in Glasgow. By overseeing three new geothermal minewater projects, the consortium aims to deliver economic growth equivalent to £303 million and around 9,800 jobs across the Central Belt of Scotland

South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator, led by the offshore renewable energy research company Wave Hub

This will build on Cornwall and Plymouth’s world-renowned excellence in offshore renewables business and research, to fast track the building of large-scale floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea from 2025 onwards. This will enable the region to make a decisive contribution to Britain’s offshore wind target of 40 gigawatts by 2030, and also target a five-fold increase in Britain’s offshore wind exports

The International Centre for Connected Construction, led by Northumbria University

This project will bring together experts from industry, academia and the public sector to create, test, and bring to market new technologies involving 3D modelling, smart cities and cloud computing. This will help engineers to tackle potential problems before building has even begun, ultimately speeding up construction and improving safety on building sites. The project aims to create 500 jobs across the North East, making the construction industry ‘cleaner, safer, and more productive.’

Trans-Mid, led by the University of Nottingham

Trans-Mid will partner universities with transport technology businesses, as well as local suppliers to the vehicle, aerospace and rail industries to develop new green products, with the aim of establishing the Midlands as a supercluster for net zero transport. The project will form part of the UK’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, creating thousands of new jobs.