The High Growth Innovation Fund has been designed to support high growth businesses in the Liverpool City Region who have innovative solutions to adapt and grow.
Part of the wider LCR High Growth Programme, the fund received applications earlier in 2022 from a range of businesses with a wide variety of proposals to tackle the issues we face in the city region and beyond, such as plans for increased digitalisation and low carbon technology. Recipients were announced in October 2022.
We caught up with one recipient, Armada Technologies Ltd, to find out how the High Growth Innovation Fund will help them to realise their plans.
Armada Technologies uses innovative thinking and design to reduce the impact of merchant ship operations on the planet.
Set up in April 2020, Armada Technologies received funding through the Department for Transport’s T-Trig 20 grant in December that same year to develop a passive air lubrication system (PALS), which reduces drag, fuel consumption and, therefore, carbon emissions from the 56,000 ships that make up the world’s merchant fleet.
Since then, they have gone on to win further investment and grant funding to continue the development of PALS, alongside multiple other projects that seek to accelerate energy performance and lower energy consumption in the maritime sector. Armada Technologies collaborates widely with a range of universities, technology, design and compliance companies around the world in a bid to deliver the ambitious Net Zero targets: in April 2022, they jointly founded the ’Retrofit55’ Consortia, which won EU Horizon grant funding to adopt new innovations into shipbuilding.
In October 2022, Armada Technologies was awarded funding through the High Growth Innovation Fund [HGIF] to continue developing their innovative passive air lubrication system. This funding was used to finance the front-end development and detailed design work to enable PALS installation onboard an Irish Ferries passenger freight ferry. The decision to install will be made ahead of the vessels next planned dry-dock in 2025, after which performance analysis of the system’s benefits will be undertaken.
“PALS will make a significant, relatively low-cost contribution to the world’s biggest problem – climate change”, says Roger Armson, Co-Founder and Chairman at Armada Technologies.
“The [HGIF] grant funding has financed an important step towards PALS installation on an operational merchant vessel. We are currently engaged in detailed discussions with three ship owners to install our systems on their vessels during 2024.
“The funding has provided significant assistance, in demonstrating that we are a company with a credible product underpinned and validated by world class research, development, testing and design.”
“One of the ship owners we are discussing installation with said to us recently: ‘We receive a lot of ideas sketched on a napkin from people expecting us to support them. You on the other hand, took your idea, invested significant capital and time working with specialised partners to develop your concept into a credible proposal for installation on our vessel. Most importantly, you have taken personal risk in capital and time to develop your concept’.”
Following successful testing on an oceangoing merchant vessel, Armada Technologies, along with growth partner Ecochlor, plan to work with ship owners across the world to install PALS onto as many merchant vessels as possible – resulting in a meaningful and significant reduction in carbon emissions.
“Collectively, we [at Armada Technologies] have worked in the maritime industry for almost sixty years”, says Roger.
“Now, working with our partners in academia, industry and government we want to help this industry, which has supported us for so many years, to be environmentally sustainable for the future.”
The LCR High Growth Programme is specifically designed to support high growth (or high growth potential) businesses in the Liverpool City Region to adapt, innovate, and grow; get in touch with one of our account managers to see how we can support you and your business.
The High Growth Innovation Fund is part of the LCR High Growth Programme that is part funded by ERDF and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and delivered by Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company.