The West Midlands economy needs efficient, clean and decentralised energy systems to support its economic growth. The technology and knowledge is out there to make this happen, but it needs political will, and the space to enable collaboration. Climate-KIC UK & Ireland teamed up with Birmingham City Council and Encraft to make that space with the West Midlands Climate Innovation Challenge. With three prizes of £20,000 on offer to the winning ideas, and an ongoing opportunity to work with the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, the interest throughout the business and academic communities was intense. On the day, over 25 ideas were pitched to the judges, with businesses and academics from across the UK & Ireland making useful connections. “In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, we need to act in a way that we have never seen before, at a scale that we have never seen before. So the way to do that is to support innovative companies who are going to be good for the environment and good for growth and jobs” (Tom Mitchell, Director of Climate-KIC UK & Ireland). The three winning ideas were from Sampson Ltd (specialises in decarbonised manufacturing), Coheat (developing heat networks) and Smart Renewable Heat (offering ‘heat-as-a-service’ technology). Matthew Rhodes, Managing Director of Encraft and Chair of the Judging Panel was extremely impressed by the quality of the finalists. “It was a fantastic day and really exciting to see such an interesting range of ideas, as well as the entrepreneurial passion and technical capabilities of so many of the applicants. The judges felt that almost everybody we saw could have won, and in the end the differences between the finalists and those that didn’t win this time were really very small.” Find out more about the winners and the challenge on the Climate-KIC website.
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