Innovating for Clean Air (India)

The UK and India launched a two-year joint initiative – called the Innovating for Clean Air (IfCA) programme – providing opportunities for businesses to improve air quality monitoring and electric vehicle (EV) interventions.

Air quality in urban areas of India can be impacted by a mix of different emissions – fossil fuel burning power plants, heavy industries, construction, agricultural burning and of course traffic.

In 2018, the cities of London and Bengaluru led the C40 Air Quality Network, a global effort to tackle air pollution in urban areas across the world.

The IFCA programme is led by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and delivered by Energy Systems Catapult, Connected Places and Satellite Applications Catapult. The programme is funded by the Newton Fund with matched resources from various partners in Karnataka and India.

The Challenge

Of the world’s 30 most polluted 30 cities, 22 are in India, according to research by IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally, and Greenpeace. India and Indian states are also setting ambitious goals for the update of EVs.

The IFCA programme aims to support UK and Indian firms to develop innovations to improve air quality and tackle pollution at source in Bengaluru by addressing challenges related to charging infrastructure, grid management and the integration of renewable energy.

The innovation partnership also aims to strengthen capacity to promote the economic development and social welfare in India; and provide export opportunities for UK companies in the wider environmental sector through enhanced collaboration.

The Project

Through engagement with Indian stakeholders in Bengaluru, the Catapults identified some of the key EV and air quality challenge areas for the city and Indian enterprise and launched an open call in the UK to find small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who could deliver innovative solutions.

We aim to enable the introduction and early adoption of the selected EV and air quality products and services by deploying them in real-life urban testbeds in Bengaluru, India; creating tangible collaboration opportunities for UK and Indian innovators.

These Clean Air Testbeds will involve a cohort of 17 high potential UK and Indian SMEs developing innovative clean air and electric vehicle solutions.

Out of those, 9 will deploy their solutions on the Clean Air Street – a collaborative initiative between the Connected Places and Energy Systems Catapults, the Directorate of Urban Land Transport, and the Indian Institute of Science.  The rest of our joint cohort will carry out experiments in multiple locations across the city, including office buildings, residential areas, schools and university campuses.  

Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) are also working with SME Earthsense to develop a unique measurement system for air quality by integrating satellite, ground and mobile sensor data to deliver a detailed localised map of the air quality to help support the integration of EVs within the city of Bengaluru.

Led by the UK’s Catapult Network and providing a unique business collaborative Indian and UK innovators, the project aims to increase the evidence base for policy that delivers cleaner air, while creating a replicable model which can be used in other cities and countries.

Clean Air Street

Clean Air Street in Bengaluru, India, aims tcreate a healthy, citizen-centric street environment that prioritises green and active forms of transportation while encouraging sustainable behaviours.

Clean Air Testbed

Involving a cohort of 17 high potential UK and Indian SMEs that are developing innovative clean air and electric vehicle solutions, carrying out experiments in multiple locations across the city, including office buildings, residential areas, schools and university campuses.