Funding launched to develop clean transport ideas for the West Midlands

Posted: 3 May 2024 | | No comments yet

Connected Places Catapult have launched a scheme to develop clean transport ideas for the West Midlands, directed at SMEs.

west midlands clean transport

Connected Places Catapult, the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and place leadership, has today announced that applications are open for the second round of the Clean Futures Accelerator. 

Innovative small-to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for support and funding to develop solutions in response to one of four challenge areas identified in the field of green transport. A total of £1 million is available to support 20 companies selected to take part in this second year of the programme, with each receiving up to £50,000.

Clean Futures is led by Connected Places Catapult, the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation (BCIMO), Coventry University and Coventry University Services. It is part of the wider West Midlands Innovation Accelerator, which is designed to bolster the region’s innovation and R&D capability and capacity to spark commercial growth and investment. The West Midlands Innovation Accelerator is delivered in partnership with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, Innovate UK and the West Midlands Combined Authority.

To be selected for the Clean Futures Accelerator, companies will have to show they have a solution that can address one of four challenges, which have been developed around the rail and automotive manufacturing sectors, along with related supply chains.

The four challenges are:

Clean and Efficient Vehicle Manufacturing and Assembly: Focusing on minimising scope 3 emissions, improving the integration of sustainable vehicles into the circular economy, and addressing the cost of acquiring and operating clean transport technologies.


Design or production of cost-effective solutions for a clean transportation infrastructure: Contributing to the development of mass rail-based transit systems that are accessible to everyone; clean, reliable and sustainable and that reduce air pollution and emissions.


Future Fuels: Produce, transport, or store alternative fuels such as hydrogen or biofuels: Exploring alternative sustainable fuels as the transition to electrification progresses, for scenarios including rural transportation and agri-tech where long distances and sparse charging infrastructure pose challenges.


Open Challenge: Looking at applications which contribute to sustainable transport and clean manufacturing in general.


Connected Places Catapult’s Chief Executive Officer, Erika Lewis said: “The Clean Futures Accelerator aims to identify companies and solutions which promise to transform transport provision in the West Midlands, which is a region renowned for delivering innovation over the years. We look forward to hearing from businesses with novel ideas that could provide greener and more sustainable outcomes for both the rail and automotive manufacturing sectors.”

Alongside funding, companies selected for the Accelerator will benefit from bespoke technical and commercial support as well as networking and showcasing events to connect with industry and financial partners. There will also be the opportunity to access an extensive range of facilities to support the development of future rail technologies at BCIMO and technical support from both the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering and the Centre for Advanced Low Carbon Propulsion Systems at Coventry University.

All companies selected will benefit from commercialisation support from the team to ensure that they are ready to maximise their impact. In addition, all applicants will have the opportunity to join the Clean Futures Catalyst, a network bringing together the wider West Midlands business community to enhance the region’s capacity for clean technology.

One company on last year’s Clean Futures Accelerator cohort was Global Nano Network, which delivers new innovations in battery technology.

Les Gill, the Chief Operating Officer at Global Nano Network, said: “Our engagement in the Clean Futures Accelerator allowed us to co-create a data simulation model and digital twin of our bespoke manufacturing processes; a fundamental building block in our ability to rapidly test, fail fast and deliver exceptional disruptive innovation.”