How the UK’s knowledge base helps to drive our innovations
When you work in a fast paced, cutting edge innovative sector like ours, a robust R&D strategy and access to the very latest thinking and expertise is essential.
Research and development has always been a key part of our work. Our vision for large scale solar carports was borne out of R&D, and we continue to innovate with new renewable related products and projects. Over the last three years, FlexiSolar (and our sister company i2o Limited as it happens) have participated in what are known as KTP programmes; to help us access specialist resource for our R&D projects. Having just finished recruiting for two new graduates for our next two programmes - we thought it was worth a shout out.
Connecting business and education
The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps UK businesses innovate and grow by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate. This combined knowledge based partnership is designed to meet a core strategic need in the business and to identify innovative solutions to further cultivate it. Over the past 40 years, the UK wide programme and funded partnerships have helped a large number of businesses improve competitiveness and productivity thanks to these – including ours!
Through the programme, we have been able to make better use of the knowledge, technology and skills that reside within what is known as the UK Knowledge Base.
Leading the way in EV and solar
Specifically, our highly valued partnerships with Newcastle and Nottingham universities have enabled us to access new skills and the latest academic thinking; bringing our new range of integrated solar car parking structures, EV charging and energy storage systems together into SmartHubs. Both universities have a long history of collaborations with businesses via KTP and each institution is working on multiple projects in a range of subject areas and industrial sectors.
The FlexiSolar innovation specifically assisted by the KTP is in regards to the management of the energy within its own micro ’dc – dc’ grid. This is what allows clean green power to go directly from the sun into electric vehicles, without the (usually quite large) energy losses involved converting from dc current to ac and back again. With new expertise and insights provided by our KTP resource, we have been able to design systems that are affordable for use.
Thanks to our most recent KTP partnership, FlexiSolar now has a product that allows electric vehicles to be charged from renewable sources, affordably, and when and where the EV drivers want the cars to be. We wrote about our SmartHubs programme earlier this year; confirming that the Vehicle To Grid project had been chosen for dedicated Innovate UK funding.
The R&D culture and the value offered by the KTP programme is absorbed by everyone in the business – and we’re excited to have two more exceptional brains in the crew to help us go further.
Managing Director Keenan Gratrick commenting on the new programme said: “Having two new KTP graduates embedded within FlexiSolar will enable our team to tap into research and resources that we wouldn’t normally have access to. We know that the KTP team will bring exceptional knowledge to the table and help our engineers further develop and hone our EV and BESS concepts; meaning we are primed to hit the market with fully commercialised, cutting edge solutions more quickly.”
The Knowledge Transfer Partnership concept has been a game changer for us. If it sounds like it could be for you too, here’s where you can find out more.