Six companies across Norfolk and Suffolk have joined an award-winning technology accelerator programme that pioneers new products and services for the UK’s offshore renewable energy sector.

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult revealed the firms selected for its Launch Academy at an event in Norwich on Tuesday, June 27. It marks the first time that ORE Catapult has run the programme in the East of England.

The first cohort for Launch Academy East of England includes Norfolk-based Exo Engineering, Aquaterra Energy and Urban XR, along with Suffolk-based Extend Robotics, Fern Communications and Recyclatrack – plus three firms in Essex.

The programme will run from now until December 2023, and the companies will each receive support worth up to £25,000.

They will also be assisted on their journey to commercialise their product or service, which include robots for offshore wind turbine maintenance, recycling wind turbine blades using waterjet technology, and the development of carbon capture devices.

Norwich-based Exo Engineering, one of the companies chosen for the programme, is developing eco-reefs that provide underwater protection for offshore wind infrastructure such as turbine foundations, while supporting a variety of marine life.

William Coulet, managing director at Exo Engineering, said: “The Launch Academy East of England programme will inform us of sector specific requirements within the offshore renewables industry. We are raring to expand our team’s market knowledge and improve our offering.

“Our company places the customer at the centre of our solutions, therefore clearly understanding their perspective is pivotal. We aim to expand our business in the offshore renewables sector, and Launch Academy will help us gain the traction we need to succeed.”

Eastern Daily Press: The Launch Academy East of England cohortThe Launch Academy East of England cohort (Image: ORE Catapult)

Funding for the Launch Academy programme has been provided by ORE Catapult, offshore wind developer RWE, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and Essex County Council, with pro bono support provided by Marks & Clerk, Birketts and Lovewell Blake.

The six-month programme will also include tailored support modules – delivered by ORE Catapult and partners – covering legal, marketing, export, accountancy, intellectual property (IP), investor readiness, technology assessment and business case reviews.

Imogen Stevenson, innovation manager at ORE Catapult, said: “It’s fantastic to see the huge amount of talent and innovation emerging from the East of England, which could play a vital role in supporting the significant offshore wind industry in the region and beyond.

“While the programme is led by ORE Catapult, Launch Academy East of England is driven by commitment from our regional partners. It is this ongoing collaborative approach that is critical to supporting companies and their much-needed innovation disrupting the UK’s offshore industry.”

ORE Catapult was established by the government in 2013 as part of a network of catapults set up by Innovate UK in high growth industries. Its Launch Academy programme has supported 38 companies and raised over £22m of investment since 2019.