£5 million competition invites ideas to reduce the cause of vehicle emissions, minimise the amount of particulates produced and improve air quality.

Air pollution can have a huge and potentially fatal impact on human health, particularly vulnerable groups such as children and people suffering from lung and heart conditions.

A new competition from Innovate UK is to invest almost £5 million to reduce the cause of emissions from vehicles, minimise the amount of particulates produced and improve air quality.

Many of the particulates in the air come from vehicle and surface wear, as well as non-road vehicles and equipment. Addressing these sources will help to reduce harmful emissions and create cleaner air for everyone.

Commenting on the importance of tackling air pollution, British Lung Foundation Director of Policy, Alison Cook said:

The UK’s poor air quality truly is a public health crisis. We know that air pollution affects us all, and that children, the elderly and people with heart and lung problems are most at risk.

That’s why finding new solutions to clean up the air we breathe is so important. This competition is a fantastic initiative from Innovate UK and could ultimately result in a healthier future for us all.

We recently released a report on particulate matter around UK health centres. The findings revealed that over 2,000 hospitals and GPs are in areas of unsafe air pollution according to limits set by the World Health Organisation.

Particulate pollution is extremely harmful to our health, as the particles are small enough to pass through the lungs and into the bloodstream. It’s not right that hundreds of thousands of patients are breathing in dirty air as they seek medical care, and it shows just how crucial it is that we solve the UK’s pollution problem as soon as possible.

Non-exhaust and non-road pollution

Organisations can win funding to work on ideas that go beyond exhaust and road vehicle fumes:

  • emissions, either from road vehicle brake and tyre wear or road surface abrasion
  • industrial equipment and non-road vehicles used on construction sites, such as excavators, bulldozers, front loaders, cranes and compressors with combustion engines
  • refrigeration units in vehicles including vans or heavy goods vehicles

Projects in this competition should develop and demonstrate products or services in these 3 areas.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition that is being run in 2 phases.

Up to 6 projects can get funded contracts for feasibility studies in the first phase, where there is up to £300,000 available. The best projects will be invited to apply to a second phase, worth £4.5 million, to take their ideas further, develop a prototype and test its effectiveness.