The government has allocated almost £9 million to new smart energy projects, which will help to lower the impact of energy production on the environment and explore new ways of generating power.
The package was unveiled by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts at the Innovate UK conference, and is designed to help boost energy harvesting projects, launch energy-efficient computing initiatives and fund research into developing smart applications for transport, energy and the built environment.
A total of nine companies will share £1.25 million to develop feasibility studies for energy-efficient computing, developing new and innovative ways for computers and electronic devices to consume less energy.
Meanwhile, 10 firms will split a £1.15 million pot to fund feasibility studies for energy harvesting, enabling them to examine ways in which battery life can be extended or if the need for batteries can be removed altogether.
At the event, Mr Willetts also unveiled the results of a £6.2 million competition for the so-called “internet of things”, revealing that eight business-led projects are to develop smart applications across areas including transport, energy and the built environment.
The projects will look at the technology people use in everyday life, and how that could be connected to help reduce the reliance on energy production that has a negative impact on the environment.
The science minister said the funding will play a major role in helping to protect the country’s economic competitiveness in the years ahead.
“Investing in new ideas for technology now means that the UK will maintain its position as a global leader for innovation,” Mr Willetts stated.
App to the future
It is part of a wider move to help people reduce their impact on the environment and lower their outgoings in the process; something that has led to the creation of many smartphone apps to assist with this.
Among these are the iamgreen Battery Saver app, which helps the smartphone itself to use less energy by controlling energy-draining features such as brightness and Wi-Fi connection.
Its purpose is similar to the iGo Vampire Calculator, which calculates which household appliances suck power from the mains, in the fashion of a vampire, and encourages people to turn them off.
Meanwhile, most major energy suppliers now have apps that allow people to submit their meter readings if they do not already