Novel energy storage for sea and land based applications

The Innovate UK KTN Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside a British multinational company that is trying to overcome a significant challenge related to energy storage. To help address this challenge, the company is looking for solution providers across the research and innovation ecosystem.

Opportunity Details


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Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenge Owner. There is also the possibility of technical and business support from KTN, and the Challenge Owner may consider offering co-investment to speed up deployment and is open to varied business models dependent on readiness for deployment.

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The Challenge Owner is seeking a novel rechargeable energy storage system for deployment on-board ships and large land-based vehicles, and also static land-based applications. Solutions should be capable of storing energy from hours to days (and preferably longer) with a quick response time.

Priority will be given to modular systems and proposed solutions at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 5 or higher – technology validated in a relevant environment. Consideration may be given to lower TRLs, however, the solution should be close to deployment within a 5-year horizon.


The Challenge Owner has a commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its operations by 2030 and across its supply chain by 2050. As part of this ambition, the organisation is exploring ways to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and the mains grid, while building resilience of supply.

The energy storage system is required for deployment in transport uses (ships and large land-based vehicles), and as such weight and size should be kept to the minimum possible.

Functional Requirements

A modular energy storage system currently in final stages of development or at the demonstration stage – TRL5 or higher. (Particularly novel potential solutions – TRL2 to 4 – could also be explored if deemed suitable and if they could be developed within the preferred timescale). The Challenge Owner is looking for significant improvements on existing energy storage solutions and will not consider submissions based on solutions that are already in the market.

Potential solutions could be deployed in the following scenarios:

  • Land-based and static
  • Land-based and mobile
  • At sea – mobile

As a minimum requirement, it should be possible to store energy for hours/days. Any improvement on this would be viewed favourably but it is recognised that this may incur a cost penalty.

Solutions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Batteries
  • Flywheels
  • Seawater pumped
  • Hydro fuel cells and/or hydrogen fuel cells
  • Air batteries
  • Compressed air batteries

Technical Requirements

Target performance criteria are as follows:

  • Storage capacity 10 to 500 MWh
  • More efficient, reliable, robust, safe, low mass, volume and cost-effective compared to the current state-of-the-art Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC-811) battery energy storage system
  • Specific energy density >500 Wh kg-1
  • Volumetric energy density >3000 Wh L-1
  • Cost <£100/kWh
  • Life >2000 cycles Instantaneous efficiency >95%
  • Charge degradation <1% per month

Any solution should be equally or less noisy than existing alternatives, however, silent operation is not necessary.

Operating Conditions

Solutions should be lightweight enough to be viable for deployment on mobile platforms (land-based vehicles and ships). Due to the environments in which they will be deployed, any technology must be robust and resilient and able to operate in a wide range of climatic conditions.

Potential solutions will be expected to be able to be developed and deployed within 5 years.

For promising early-stage technology propositions, consideration may be given to investment in intellectual property to support further research and development.

Cost Requirement & Market Opportunity

The Challenge Owner is willing to work with potential solution providers to develop promising early-stage solutions and may invest in return for ownership if appropriate.

The Challenge Owner is open to discussion around different deployment options and business models.

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs*
  • UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base

(while strong preference will be given to solutions from UK based organisations, consideration will be given to compelling propositions from other countries).

Submissions from universities and other research organisations are also welcomed.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate ownership of Intellectual Property (IP). Existing background IP associated with a potential solution will remain with Solution Provider(s). Where any new IP generation is envisaged, it will be subject to the mutual IP agreement of the Solution Provider(s) and Challenge Owner.


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