Energy Catalyst Round 9: Malawi Visit Report

Posted on: 08/07/2022

From 25 June to 2 July, representatives of twelve clean energy companies that aspire to secure funding from the Energy Catalyst programme travelled together with organisers from Innovate UK to Malawi for a brokerage visit. Jonathan Abra, our Water expert and Support for Energy Catalyst project lead gives us an overview of the trip.


Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst programme is one of the UK’s biggest energy access focused grant funding initiatives. This latest round of funding aims to support innovations which improve energy access in a sustainable way, reducing reliance on fossil fuels in these regions.

Launched in 2014, Energy Catalyst has improved energy access in 34 countries, and supported 566 organisations, including 119 international partners.

Since its conception, it has provided a total of £60m of grant funding for energy access technologies and business models. The overall aim of Energy Catalyst is to create a just and inclusive energy transition and extend the benefits of clean energy to all, with the aim of meeting Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate action).

Why Malawi?

Jonathan Abra, who manages the Support for Energy Catalyst project for Innovate UK KTN, accompanied Innovate UK, RTC North, and Innovate UK EDGE on a trip to Malawi in order to gain a perspective of the issues, and make contact with key parties in the country to enable better matchmaking with applicants looking to find partners in Malawi.

A full itinerary included attending and presenting at a conference organised by the Renewable Energy industry Association of Malawi, a trip to a the lush hills on the border with Zambia to see how a solar minigrid has transformed the tiny village of Sitólo, a long trip to Golomoti to the 20MW solar generation and storage scheme, which was partly funded by Energy Catalyst, and a tour of the Chibuku brewery in Blantyre to see how technology might help the company in the face of spiralling energy costs and lack of resilient energy infrastructure. The group also visited Malawi University of Science and Technology campus in Thyolo to learn about the university’s work in the area of sustainable energy and how it might contribute to potential Energy Catalyst bids as a partner.

How to get involved and apply for funding

Round 9 application process is open from 18 May 2022 to the 10 August 2022. Round 10 is expected to be announced in early 2023. Organisations can apply for a share of up to £20 million to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific regions.

Funding is provided through the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), as part of the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) Platform, and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Both contributions are from the UK’s Ayrton Fund, part of the UK’s International Climate Finance commitment.

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Related Opportunities

Energy Catalyst Round 9

Opens: 18/05/2022   Closes: 10/08/2022

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £20 million to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific regions.

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Jonathan Abra

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Jonathan Abra

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