iX challenge: Delivering a Digital Twin for the North Northamptonshire region to optimise a roadmap for achieving Net Zero
The Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside Electric Corby Community Interest Company on how to get the region to net zero. This challenge is aimed at finding innovative digital twin providers that can best digitally represent the region and offer a visual route to help in identifying the optimal projects and locations to deliver Net Zero solutions.
Successful applicants will have the opportunity to present to the local authority, and potentially work with the project partners to pitch for further funding to support modelling and delivery of low carbon initiatives.
Corby and North Northamptonshire are a mixture of industrial towns and small rural villages, the region is a desirable area for manufacturing and warehousing and includes some large storage areas with easy access to the motorway network to travel across the UK. The towns have good shopping facilities which cater for residents within the towns and surrounding rural locale. This brings many challenges for delivering Net Zero within the region; larger vehicles will potentially need sources for alternative fuels or e-charging combined with larger consumptions of electricity and additional internal network needs that will require chargers for both residents, service vehicles and public transport. Many villages have traditional stone houses and classic brick style buildings through to modern estates with up to date housing standards which will all need to be transitioned towards a net zero carbon future and the region must ensure there is both the facilities, infrastructure and grid capacity to be able to achieve this.
The North Northamptonshire to Net Zero project aims to develop a holistic strategic options programme that will lead to the provision of innovative energy, housing and transport responses to community challenges and local needs, that support Priority Places and their place making infrastructure to achieve net zero carbon ahead of 2050 targets.
Electric Corby CIC has been delivering research, innovation, pilot and early commercialisation studies into future solutions for sustainable housing, transport and energy for nearly 10 years. They have secured over £4m of UK and EU public investment and leveraged a further £15m in direct private investment in the projects they have delivered.
The team at Electric Corby CIC are reaching out to innovative organisations using Innovate UK KTNs Innovation Exchange programme to help them find organisations that can help them establish a digital twin of the region to help in identifying the optimal projects and locations to deliver Net Zero solutions.
The aim of the entire regional project is split into three themes:
- Sustainability strategies for new developments – aligning with the urgent demand from local authorities to build new homes that meet low carbon standards and financial viability criteria of developers – meet new building regs and growth of EVs
- Modern methods of construction (MMC) – viability of different options and the roadmap to provide skills to build with MMC and set up manufacturing in North Northamptonshire.
- Regional EVCP infrastructure analysis – responding to the ban on new petrol and diesel cars sales from 2030, Support charging of EV’s when and where people need it anticipating industry changes and innovation – shared mobility, charging hubs.
- EV supply chain – Northants is a key logistics area and beacon area for the future of mobility. Logistics hubs and associated transport routes infrastructure needs assessment for electrification
- Building- and community-level management and balancing of electricity demand, generation and storage. Maximising renewables usage to reduce carbon footprint and bills and creating flexibility to benefit communities economically.
There are many ideas and solution providers that could help the region deliver Net Zero projects across the themes above, however; an understanding of what might be possible needs to be visualised and scenarios built digitally would be of huge benefit in helping prioritise and create a roadmap for which projects to deliver and when. There is a need to develop a digital map or twin where the right technologies/innovations can be examined, mapped and developed to suit the potential and available resources to gain maximum impact whilst ensuring the upgrades of any networks and facilities can be timed to give max benefit.
There are many different technology options possible for the region to deploy, however delivering a digital twin that considers selecting and optimising sites for renewables, transport infrastructure, grid capacity, housing developments etc will help the region to be able to prioritise projects on their roadmap to achieving Net Zero by 2030. Considerations around locating the best options for energy or fuel supply, potential includes EV charging, Hydrogen or other options for energy/fuel as they are developed over time. They are looking for digital twin solutions that will help them optimise the renewable power generated in the most efficient way and avoid grid upgrades where possible.
Proposals are welcome for:
- Existing market-ready technologies
- Established solutions from other sectors of industry which can be adapted for this application.
- Development proposals based on existing competencies.
- Universities and catapults with solutions above TRL 5 +
This is a short term contract to develop a digital twin model before the 30th June 2022 to drive delivery of the Northamptonshire to Net Zero project.
Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenger.
The package may also include:
- Support from KTN
- Invitation to attend or present at KTN events
- A potential business/commercial collaboration or collaborative grant application.
- Investor introductions (if investment is required)
- Support if any Innovate or similar competitions are relevant.
Entrants to this competition must be UK based established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs.