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London's universities say ‘OpenSME’ to new support for capital's small businesses

A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.

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The Carbon Trust has invested in a novel, low-cost fuel cell architecture which is being commercialised by UCLB and Imperial Innovations.

21 February 2012

Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is injecting over half a million pounds into a collaboration between UCL and Imperial College to accelerate the commercialisation of an innovative fuel cell.

The new technology could help the UK gain a significant share of a fuel cell market estimated by the Carbon Trust to be worth up to $26bn in 2020.

Fuel cells efficiently convert the chemical energy contained in a fuel directly into electricity - they produce electricity like a battery but are fuelled like an engine or a boiler. Although fuel cells are already emerging in specific markets, they are currently too expensive for widespread commercial applications, such as road vehicles and co-generating heat and power. A reduction of a third in the cost of mass-producing a fuel cell system could unlock a global fuel cell market worth billions of pounds annually.

The Carbon Trust is running the Polymer Fuel Cell Challenge (PFCC) to develop, prove and commercialise novel fuel cell technologies which have the potential to deliver a step-change in overall system cost.

The UCL and Imperial College collaboration led by Dr Dan Brett (UCL Department of Chemical Engineering) and Professor Anthony Kucernak (Imperial College Department of Chemistry) is developing a fuel cell stack that could offer significant cost savings by using existing high-volume manufacturing techniques employed in the production of circuit boards.

Dr Tim Fishlock, Senior Business Manager at UCLB, said: 'This novel fuel cell stack has huge commercial potential and the funding from the Carbon Trust comes at a critical point in its development. 
UCLB has also invested its own proof-of-concept funds into the project and we continue to work with our colleagues at Imperial Innovations to help bring this exciting technology to market'.

About the Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, providing specialist support to business and the public sector to help cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies. By stimulating low carbon action we contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.

For further information, please visit www.carbontrust.co.uk

About UCLB

UCLB is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK's top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from the laboratory to market. UCLB supports UCL's Grand Challenges of increasing UCL's positive impact on and contribution to Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.

For further information, please visit www.uclb.com