The Department for Transport has funded 30 projects with a share of £9m. This year, the competition has been aimed at making the railways cleaner, greener and more passenger-friendly.
The competition is focused on developing pioneering technology and exceptional ideas that can improve journeys for travellers, encourage passengers back onto the network and reduce the environmental impacts of rail as we build back better from COVID-19.
The winners of the latest round of the First of a Kind (FOAK) competition were announced on 2 July 2021 by the Transport Secretary.
Grant Shapps said: “These winners will hopefully play a role in putting passengers at the centre of our railways as we build back better from COVID-19. The competition always throws up surprises and the ideas shown today could transform how we travel in future.”
Winning projects include:
The competition was runin partnership with Innovate UK. Simon Edmonds, deputy executive chair and chief business officer, Innovate UK, said: “As we move ever closer to getting past the pandemic, passengers are returning to the railway. To give them ever greater confidence that rail is safe and sustainable, we called upon UK innovators to come up with fresh ideas. Yet again the response has been fantastic. Not only will passengers benefit from these great innovations, but business prospects are bright in this sector too.”
Now in its fifth round, the competition was open to inventors from across the nation, regardless of the organisation’s size, which allows small companies with bright ideas to be recognised.
Previous winners include the LoCe (Less oil, Cleaner exhaust) project that secured £398,000 in 2020. The project has developed new diesel exhaust technology that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by around 80%. The technology has been fitted to a Porterbrook-owned Class 170 Turbostar, operated by East Midlands Railway, and has subsequently reduced harmful engine emissions.
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