Nine companies across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex are embarking on an award-winning technology accelerator programme to pioneer new products and services for the UK’s offshore renewable energy sector – launching today (Tuesday) in Norwich.
This is the first time the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have run their flagship Launch Academy programme in the East of England – a region that is one of the UK’s largest offshore renewable energy hubs.
The regional programme has been developed following the success of previous national and regional Launch Academy programmes that have supported 38 companies and raised over £22 million of investment since 2019.
Imogen Stevenson, Innovation Manager at ORE Catapult, said: “It’s fantastic to see the huge amount of talent and innovation emerging from the East of England, which could play a vital role in supporting the significant offshore wind industry in the region and beyond.
“While the programme is led by ORE Catapult, Launch Academy East of England is driven by commitment from our regional partners. It is this ongoing collaborative approach that is critical to supporting companies and their much-needed innovation disrupting the UK’s offshore industry.”
Funding for the programme has been provided by ORE Catapult, leading offshore wind developer RWE, Norfolk County Council, Essex County Council and Suffolk County Council, with pro bono support provided by Marks & Clerk, Birketts and Lovewell Blake.
Exo Engineering in Norfolk is developing eco-reefs that provide underwater protection for offshore wind infrastructure such as turbine foundations, while supporting a variety of marine life, and is one of the companies chosen for the regional programme.
William Coulet, Managing Director at Exo Engineering, said: “The Launch Academy East of England programme will inform us of sector specific requirements within the offshore renewables industry. We are raring to expand our team’s market knowledge and improve our offering. Our company places the customer at the centre of our solutions, therefore clearly understanding their perspective is pivotal. We aim to expand our business in the offshore renewables sector and Launch Academy will help us gain the traction we need to succeed.”
The Launch Academy programme will run from now until December 2023 and the companies will each receive support worth up to £25,000.
Each of the innovators will receive support on their journey to commercialise their product or service, including robots for offshore wind turbine maintenance, recycling wind turbine blades using waterjet technology, and development of carbon capture devices.
The six-month Launch Academy programme will include tailored support modules, delivered by ORE Catapult and expert partners. These include legal, marketing, export, accountancy, intellectual property (IP), investor readiness, technology assessment, and business case reviews.
You can find out more information, including the first cohort for Launch Academy East of England, here.