Efficiency for Access awards nine clean energy innovators grants to accelerate efficient appliance development
Efficiency for Access has released the first round of funding from its new research and development (R&D) grant fund. Funded by UK aid, Efficiency for Access will provide £1.05million to nine organisations conducting innovative research on highly efficient appliances which can reach populations in developing countries not served by the national grid.
These projects aim to accelerate the affordability, availability, efficiency and performance of a range of low energy inclusive appliances that are suited to developing country markets and promote social inclusion and achievement of the Sustainable Development Global Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Efficiency for Access is providing funding across two segments of the off- and weak-grid appliance sector – ‘near-to-market products’ which could reach customers in developing countries very soon with the appropriate support, and ‘horizon technologies’ where additional fundamental research is needed to make new products possible in longer timeframes.
Winning organisations and projects included established household solar companies: BBOXX (iron for the off-grid market), Azuri Technologies (off-grid smart fan) and M-KOPA (smart batteries that enable DC appliances) are expanding the range of appliances they offer in developing countries. Also supported are specialists such as Agsol (smarter, efficient solar enabled mill), Sure Chill (improved controls for off-grid domestic refrigerators), DGridEnergy (solar powered cold chain for farmers) and Basil Energetics (highly efficient, low cost motors for off-grid appliances). Software and technology companies who can enable the uptake of appliances, Innovex Uganda (improved remote monitoring of appliances) and Solaris Offgrid (open source standardised Pay-As-You-Go communication protocol) were also amongst the supported companies.
The projects will include field trials to take place in a number of countries over the next two years, including Kenya, Uganda, Togo, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The last project is set to finish in March 2021.
UK Minister for Africa Harriet Baldwin said: “As climate extremes worsen, it is the world’s poorest countries and communities that will be most affected. If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need to change the way we do business.”
“UK aid is investing in research and development projects like this to make power more accessible, but also cleaner and more efficient, for those in need,” she added.
Additionally, in collaboration with the newly launched Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme, led by Loughborough University and supported by UK aid, a further six recipients, focused on clean cooking technologies, will receive a further £750,000 of funding. Supported projects will work on a range of innovations including electric pressure cookers, solar electric cookers and business models to improve the affordability of clean cooking appliances.
Investing R&D funding into these projects now has the potential to mitigate future climate change impacts. For example, the demand for cooling is growing rapidly. Meeting this demand through refrigerants that have high global warming potential, up to 11,000 times greater than C02, would result in significant impacts on the global climate. The winning projects under the first call aim to address this specific challenge and other climate-related issues.
Supporting more efficient appliance start-up companies and encouraging established energy access companies to expand their appliance range is promising for developing country customers. In addition, EforA expects that more consumer appliances companies can be encouraged to innovate and expand their focus to developing country markets in the future.
Efficiency for Access will continue to support organisations in these areas over the next few years. As part of their cooling campaign, Efficiency for Access will launch an R&D call focused specifically on cooling technologies, with at least £1m in total available in June 2019.
If you would like to keep up to date with the latest Efficiency for Access news, including announcements regarding the R&D fund, please sign up to the EforA newsletter, visit efficiencyforaccess.org or contact the team directly EforAgrants@est.org.uk.