• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £7.5m in collaborative R&D projects to improve the ways in which energy is managed on ships and other marine and maritime vessels.

  • Programme: Collaborative research and development

  • Award: Up to £7.5m

  • Opens: 12 Jan 2015, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 04 Mar 2015, 12:00

  • Closes: 11 Mar 2015, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Managing energy on marine vessels

Competition results

See the competition results here.


dstl logoInnovate UK and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (dstl) are to invest up to £7.5m in collaborative R&D projects to improve the ways in which energy is managed on ships and other marine and maritime vessels.

The focus of this competition is on the underlying technological challenges that will enable greater efficiencies in the production, management and use of energy. 
We are not only seeking proposals from companies within the marine and maritime sector, but also those operating outside it. Companies should have expertise in aspects of electrical systems, energy management or performance monitoring. 
Proposals must be collaborative and business-led, and we would like to see micro and small businesses involved. We expect to fund mainly industrial research projects in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). 
We expect projects to range in size from total costs of £500k to £1.5m, although we may consider projects outside this range. 
This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 12 January 2015. The deadline for expressions of interest is at noon on 11 March 2015
Register for the briefing event or WEBINAR for potential applicants on 22 January 2015


This competition is the third to be run under the theme of increasing the efficiency of marine vessel operation.


The first two competitions - Piloting UK marine and maritime innovation and Better systems at sea – placed an emphasis on projects that could increase the efficiency of a marine platform.


Modern shipping is increasingly moving towards an architecture where the power required to meet both propulsion and hotel load (crew and passenger accommodation) is generated from a single, shared source.


That offers greater flexibility and the opportunity for increased efficiency in power supply generation. In addition, it can exploit and combine power generated from a number of sources.


This competition encourages developments in integrated electrical systems, performance monitoring, and energy management and recovery.


Industry studies have demonstrated a considerable UK capability in these areas and the strategy for growth for the UK marine industries estimates the global commercial marine market at £3tr. However, UK companies need to continually innovate in order to exploit opportunities and meet industry challenges. 


This competition addresses underlying technological challenges that will enable greater efficiencies in the production, management and use of energy on board a vessel. 
We will fund projects likely to result in: 
  • more robust management of energy/ electrical power 
  • increased efficiency in the storage and movement of energy/electrical power 
  • enhanced adaptability/flexibility in the use of energy/electrical power.
Proposals should be directed towards technologies that promote vessel efficiency and the more efficient operation of the following: 

Integrated electrical systems 

By integrating energy from multiple sources, energy needs can be balanced to meet a variety of requirements and usage can be optimised by switching between stored and generated electrical power. Proposals could include, but are not limited to: 
  • optimised electric systems architecture (AC/DC) ensuring flexibility and adaptability with minimum losses 
  • protection and resilience to electrical faults, particularly ensuring that an isolated failure does not result in an issue for the entire system 
  • high-density energy storage, including electrical, chemical or mechanical solutions that can meet the high-volume density and mass-density requirements 
  • electric propulsion systems such as rim-driven propellers and motors focusing on high-power density, both volume and mass 
  • control of energy systems, including power demand management, quality of supply, prioritisation, scheduling and load shedding 
  • ‘hot swappable' computing and power management systems that enable maintenance and repairs without shutting down the whole system. 

Performance monitoring 

To ensure that the vessel and systems are operating at optimum performance there is a requirement for unobtrusive and non-invasive sensors, volume data collection and analysis algorithms. Proposals could include, but are not limited to: 
  • sensors, measurement and monitoring technology, including connectivity and retrofit solutions 
  • data management systems, information processing and presentation, including fault diagnostics and prognostics as part of overall vessel health monitoring. 

Energy management and recovery 

A large proportion of a ship's energy usage is wasted in the form of heat, noise and vibration, and from the additional energy required to manage this wasted energy via HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and other systems. There are opportunities to scavenge waste energy, and to improve controls. Proposals could include, but are not limited to: 
  • technologies or management that can reduce waste energy output and end-user energy demand, such as limiting ‘wild' (uncontrolled) heat, noise and vibration 
  • waste heat removal, including air conditioning, that is effective in all climatic conditions 
  • energy scavenging/harvesting – such as technologies that help turn waste energy into useable energy 
  • next-generation electric actuators with improved volume and mass density, and reduced energy consumption. 
Projects must demonstrate technologies that deliver significant improvements compared to the best currently available. 
A number of the challenges outlined here are unique to the marine environment or require specific solutions to operate effectively in that environment. However, certain relevant technologies have reached a higher level of development in other sectors, so we want these to be applied to similar problems in the maritime environment. 
The projects should include research aimed at the acquisition of new, or significant improvement of existing knowledge and skills for developing new products, processes or services. 
They should act as a catalyst for marketable solutions and so enable business-led innovation to bridge the gap between academia and business. Each project should consider carefully how any intellectual property is handled and secured within the UK, for exploitation by and to the overall benefit to the UK. 

Funding allocation and project details

We have allocated up to £7.5m to fund collaborative R&D projects that address the technical challenges outlined in the scope. Successful applicants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs. The percentage of costs that we pay varies, depending on the type of research being carried out and the type of organisation involved. 
For this competition projects must be business-led and collaborative. They should last between 12 and 36 months. We are primarily seeking to fund industrial research with a business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). We expect projects to range in size from £500k to £1.5m. We may consider larger projects but applicants should contact us directly before making their application to discuss further. 
To find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME, see: http://ec.europa.eu/small-business/faq/index_en.htm

Application process

This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 12 January 2015. 
Stage 1 - applicants submit an expression of interest which is assessed. 
Stage 2 – we invite selected applicants to submit an application. 
All applicants must first register via our website by noon on 4 March 2015. The deadline for expressions of interest is noon 11 March 2015
The second stage deadline for invited applications is at noon on 14 May 2015
Applications are assessed on individual merit by an independent panel of experts. We may apply a portfolio approach across the themes/areas involved. 
A briefing for potential applicants will be held in London on 22 January 2015 to highlight the main features of the competition and explain the application process. Applicants are strongly recommended to attend this event.
Note: All deadlines are at noon. 

More information

For more information and all the documents you need to read before you apply, including the Guidance for Applicants, go to the web page for this competition at interact.innovateuk.org/
To apply you must first register with us through the competition page on the website. Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for applications. 
Competition helpline: 0300 321 4357


As part of the application process all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive. The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the decision to offer an award has been communicated to applicants by email. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public. 

E-mail pressoffice@innovateuk.gov.uk with any queries. 

Key dates

Competition opens: 12 January 2015 
Competition briefing: 22 January 2015 
Registration deadline: 4 March 2015 noon 
Expressions of interest (EOI) deadline: 11 March 2015 noon 
Stage 2 opens for invited applicants: 30 March 2015 
Deadline for invited applications: 14 May 2015 noon