The University of Strathclyde has signed an agreement with Energy Systems Catapult to support innovative companies in transforming the UK energy system.

The two organisations will seek out opportunities to help innovators, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to evolve the UK energy system by addressing systems integration challenges such as data management, communications and control systems.

David Rutherford, Chief Executive of the University of Strathclyde’s Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC), who signed the agreement, said: “This presents an exciting opportunity to truly accelerate innovations to help deliver the energy system of the future.

“The initiative is about stimulating innovation to support the low carbon economy and encouraging all aspects of total energy efficiency.

“It is about supporting and encouraging the concepts of multi-energy systems being operated in an integrated way so that customers are more in control of what they use and when they use it.

“The projects will often support activities hidden from customers but which will have a huge impact on the way a customer or energy company organises energy, whether it be electricity, heat or transportation.”

“The PNDC’s facilities, coupled with academic, research and industry expertise, will enable SMEs to access our distribution and simulation environments to assist with development and commercialisation of their solutions. We are delighted to be working with the Energy Systems Catapult on this initiative.”

Philip New, Chief Executive of the Catapult, said: “The Catapult is always looking for new ways to support British industry and innovation and unleash the energy opportunity. The signing of this agreement with PNDC is a constructive step forward in delivering this.

“We will be starting a pilot programme to support SMEs by providing lower cost access to both low and high voltage test time and development support. The pilot will test the proposition, inform possible improvements, and I hope build a platform that can develop into a sustainable mechanism that accelerates SME innovation. Our two organisations will also explore barriers to innovation relating to testing, certification and standards.”

The PNDC is a venture founded by the Strathclyde, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy aimed at accelerating the adoption of novel research and technologies into the electricity industry.

The PNDC incorporates the most complete power distribution network test bed available in the UK or Europe and connects innovators in academia and industry to undertake cutting edge research, development and demonstration projects.

The Birmingham-based Energy Systems Catapult is a leading technology and innovation centre set up to help the UK navigate the transformation of the country’s whole energy system and capture the new commercial opportunities created.