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Cleantech Programme Launched To Nurture North East Innovators

The first cohort of North East cleantech firms have embarked on a new accelerator programme intended to make them investment-ready.

Venture Connect, which comes from the 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub – a business support body based at Port of Tyne and including partners Nissan, Drax and the Department for Transport – is designed to support firms with products and services that could help the maritime industry fully decarbonise by 2050. Eight businesses make up the initial group that will undergo the four-month programme that features mentoring from organisations such as Innovation Super Network, Barclays and Port of Tyne’s board and senior leadership team.

Among the first firms is Durham University spin-out H2CHP, which has developed prototypes of a fuel flexible generator that can allow docked vessels to switch off auxiliary engines – a feature which is said could reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to 1.2m diesel cars in the UK. The firm, founded by Stephen Hampson, is looking for £500,000 once it has completed the programme.

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H2CHP is joined by Newcastle-based renewables business CrowdHouse Energy, which has already delivered more than £100m worth of projects for clients since 2019. The family-run firm has its sights on delivering megawatt scale onsite renewable energy generation.

Other firms involved include lithium-ion battery recycling specialist ReLiB; electric logistics robots creator ANT Machines, and Walker Subsea Engineering. The list also includes energy monitoring and reporting specialist LnK Technologies, air quality analysis provider AirNode; offshore services firm O.S Energy and digital manufacturing specialist Autentica Industrial Platforms Ltd.

Julia Prescot, deputy chair at the Port of Tyne, said: “Venture Connect completely aligns with the Port’s vision to contribute to sustainable maritime development and expedite economic growth across the North East of England. She added: “There is a huge opportunity for cleantech businesses to thrive in the North East and we believe this programme will play a significant part in helping to transform not only the maritime sector, but also the UK and the region’s economic prospects.”

Stephen Hampson, founder of H2CHP, said: “We are immensely proud to have been selected for the Venture Connect initiative at the Port of Tyne’s 2050 Innovation Hub, and we eagerly anticipate leveraging this unique opportunity to advance our green maritime innovations with the support of expert coaching, valuable mentorship, and access to a network of forward-thinking investors.”

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