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Horizon 2020 Update and Workshops

A morning event, on 28 October 2014, in the 'Funding Cleantech' series, takes place during Smart Future London 2014. The event, organised by Cleantech Investor, is sponsored by K&L Gates, ZaZ Ventures and Clean Capital and will be hosted by K&L Gates at its London offices.

The European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme includes a number of calls which relate to 'smart cities'. These include calls in areas such as urban transport innovation, energy efficiency in existing buildings and visionary smart cities projects, all of which have been allocated significant funding budgets.

The morning will involve a panel discussion with expert speakers and will include both consortium building workshops and panel discussions of:

  • Progress so far: an overview of Horizon 2020 since the launch
  • Smart City funding opportunities: a review of the outstanding and forthcoming Horizon 2020 calls in this space
  • The biggest pitfalls of proposal writing and how to avoid them
  • Case studies of companies which have succeeded in raising funding

Consortium Building Workshops

The event will include a series of workshops aimed at facilitating consortium building (an important aspect of Horizon 2020 since the EC prioritises projects with an international component). Workshop themes will include:

Urban transport innovation
Energy efficiency of the existing building stock
Visionary smart city projects
Heating and cooling technologies
The role of local authorities

Speakers and workshop moderators will include:

Janis Folkmanis, EU DG Energy

Xavier Aubry, ZAZ Ventures

Suzanne Holt Ballard

Stephan Decher, ZAZ Ventures


Perovskite solar cell breakthrough at University of Sheffield

First published on the Cleantech Investor website, August 2014

The University of Sheffield has announced that scientists from the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Chemical and Biological Engineering are the first to fabricate perovskite solar cells using a spray-painting process – a discovery that could help cut the cost of solar power generation.

Efficient organometal halide perovskite based photovoltaics were first demonstrated in 2012. Perovskite combines high efficiency with low materials costs and combined with spray-painting - which has previously been used to produce solar cells using organic semiconductors - a process has been developed to use peroskites in high volume manufacturing.

The Perovskite spray-painting techniques waste very little of the perovskite material and can be scaled to high volume manufacturing – similar to applying paint to cars and graphic printing. According to lead researcher, Professor David Lidzey:

“This class of material offers the potential to combine the high performance of mature solar cell technologies with the low embedded energy costs of production of organic photovoltaics.”


EU Funding for Cleantech is Changing

European funding for technology commercialisation is changing with the European Commission's first series of calls for projects under Horizon 2020, the European Union's new €77 billion research and innovation programme, at the start of 2014.

Horizon 2020 is the successor to the EU's FP7 funding programme. However, there are some significant changes from the previous programme - notably a focus on funding for SMEs.

Throughout the collaborative calls of Horizon 2020, there is a greater focus on funding for technologies which are close to market than its predecessor FP7; there is a stronger focus on innovation, rather than research; and the funding programme also benefits from a streamlined review and contract negotiation process compared to FP7.



These new aspects of the EU funding are particularly highlighted in the new SME Instrument. Indeed, the EC has stated its ambition to make Horizon 2020 the most SME-friendly EU support programme in history, releasing a budget of €8.65 billion between 2014 and 2020 dedicated soley to innovation at SMEs. The instrument aims to fund innovation at SMEs that would otherwise be unlikely to come to the fore - and it aims to facilitate this through a simplified and accelerated application process.


Cleantech in 2014: Our Predictions for the Year

We reflect on the growing pains which cleantech has suffered and look forward to 2014 (and beyond) when we expect to see cleantech mature. Look out for 'smart cleantech' and 'industrial cleantech'!

By Anne McIvor

A look back at Cleantech 1.0

First generation clean technologies, let’s call them Cleantech 1.0, centered around alternative energy: innovations replacing fossil fuels with clean, renewable resources such as wind, solar, biogas, wave and tidal power for electricity – and biofuel replacements for liquid transport fuels.

The biofuel industry suffered a backlash from the ‘food / fuel’ debate, but in the power industry, cleantech has grown up fast. Within less than a decade we’ve experienced a revolution in renewable energy generation surpassing expectations.


Cleantech To Rebound in 2014?

First published on the Cleantech Investor website, 9th December 2013

Canadian research firm Kachan & Co has published its predictions for the cleantech industry in 2014. It anticipates a broad cleantech recovery, the rise of crowdfunding, risk to EV growth rates and surprises in rare earth element industry profits.

Gradual recovery in 2014?

Kachan finds parallels between the cleantech wave and other technology booms of the last 50 years, and a number of reasons for optimism when comparing the cycles. A recent downturn in venture capital investing in cleantech becomes less threatening, Kachan asserts, when viewed in the historical context of how venture capital always spikes early in emerging categories, later to be augmented with other sources of capital.


No “nuclear winter” in cleantech (Winners of the National Business Plan Competition)

14 June 2013

by Andrew Mitchell of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation


Venture Capital is broken – at least according to a report last year by the Kauffman Foundation. This was certainly a talking point in Washington DC at the US Department of Energy’s National Business Plan Competition on 12 June 2013. Indeed, someone even dared to mention a “cleantech nuclear winter”. The facts are that in all sectors since 1997 less cash has been returned to investors than they originally invested – which makes negative interest rates from the European Central Bank seem not so insane!

But go figure. If I had a big enough bag of money I would invest in each one of the six finalists pitching at the US Department of Energy’s National Business Plan Competition. With absolute confidence that at least one of them would return all the money back, and more. Add to this the confidence from Andrew Chung at Khosla Ventures that corporate venturing is going to save cleantech, there is no nuclear winter and, as David Danielson said, the world has passed the 400ppm CO2 milestone, so we have to make this work.

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