Figures announced at today’s Clean Energy Conference at Harwell Campus show the impressive progress of Harwell’s EnergyTec Cluster since its launch in May 2018. The Cluster has grown 17 percent and now includes 35 industry, academic and public organisations working on the Campus, collectively employing ~900 people. A further 26 companies, which started off in Harwell’s Space or HealthTec Clusters, now also focus on the energy sector as a major market for their innovative technologies. With a focus on energy storage, battery technologies and carbon neutral alternatives to fossil fuels, the technologies emerging from these 61 organisations will influence every aspect of life across work, travel and recreation, improving the environment and developing sustainable alternatives for the future.
The Campus, which in total has 200 organisations employing 5,500 people focuses on successfully commercialising scientific research and new technologies through clusters in the major markets of Space, Health and Energy. The EnergyTec Cluster counts multinational organisations including Siemens and EDF Energy among its cohort, consultants such as Ricardo Energy & Environment, and fast-growing start-ups such as Zap&Go and MIRICO. The Faraday Institution, which has received a £74m investment from the UK Government to accelerate battery technology in the UK, sits at the heart of the Cluster alongside open access facilities Diamond Lightsource and ISIS Neutron & Muon Source.
Interdisciplinary collaboration between the Clusters is driving growth. “Harwell Campus’s uniqueness lies in its cross-industry collaboration. The 26 organisations from the Space and Health Clusters that now have technologies or applications being used in the energy sector are testament to the powerful advantage of working in close proximity with organisations that have nothing to do with your original market.” explains Dr Barbara Ghinelli, Cluster and Campus Business Development Director at Harwell Campus for the UKRI Science and Technology Facilities Council, “Through shared learning and collaboration, however, new business opportunities are identified and innovative solutions to long standing problems are created”.
One company that has benefited from collaboration is spin-out, MIRICO. Its laser gas sensing technology, originally designed to measure atmospheric constituents in space, has been found to have commercial ground-based applications. MIRICO’s technology can more accurately measure atmospheric pollutants for a variety of environmental and industrial applications including energy companies, helping them to determine where to focus their efforts in improving mitigating fugitive emissions, reducing carbon footprint and lost product, and improving the safety of operations. The technology has already been deployed in trials by major energy companies and is scheduled for full commercial launch in 2019.
“Harwell Campus’ combination of state-of-the-art research facilities and access to organisations that we can collaborate with makes it the ideal environment to develop a product and grow a company,” said Mohammed Belal, Founder and Business Development Director, at MIRICO. “At Harwell, our technology has gone from the STFC lab to deployments within major organisations, which couldn’t have been achieved anywhere near as quickly without the ability to share resources, knowledge and even contacts with other companies operating in this unique environment.”
Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP, commented: “Harwell Campus is one of Oxfordshire’s stand-out international assets, recognised globally as a place that can support genuine innovation-led growth and greater productivity.
“With a £23bn GVA per year – one of just three net County contributors to the exchequer – and home to the largest concentration of science research facilities anywhere in Western Europe, there is much for us to shout about in the county”.