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Innovating for Clean Air Programme

Despite a temporary COVID-related reduction, cities worldwide are once again struggling with air pollution. The increased adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) can be part of the solution but rolling out the necessary infrastructure to enable this transition is not simple. Connected Places Catapult, Energy Systems Catapult and Satellite Applications Catapult, are running a joint programme to support UK and Indian innovators in Bengaluru city to promote best practice innovation and technology exchange in order to help address these challenges.

Launched in May 2019, the IfCA programme will run for 22 months and is funded by the UK government’s Newton Fund. The goal of the programme is to work with innovative businesses, local authorities, academics and civil society organisations to develop interventions which have the potential to improve air quality. This includes supporting the government of India’s FAME scheme to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles as well as trialling and demonstrating other activities which drive positive changes in urban air quality.


Our approach

Throughout the IFCA programme, Energy Systems Catapult and Connected Places Catapult will identify market opportunities in Bengaluru, India for collaboration between UK and Indian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the air quality and EV transition sectors.

In order to ensure that the Catapult efforts are focused in the right areas, the IfCA programme commenced with extensive engagement activities and workshops with Indian stakeholders to identify some of the critical EV and air quality challenge areas for Bengaluru.

Following identification of these challenge areas, the Catapults’ launched an open call to find Indian and British SMEs who could deliver innovative solutions and were willing to be part of an urban “testbed” – an area of the city which will act as an experimental ‘canvass’ upon which innovative interventions can be tested and evaluated.

The aim of the Clean Air Testbed is to enable the introduction and early adoption of the selected EV and air quality products and services by deploying them in real-life environments for up to 5 months from October 2020 through to February 2021. For the selected innovators, the testbed forms a safe space to test interventions in real life conditions, understand their impact, and interact with stakeholders in order to further develop their products and services – as well as showcase the efficacy of the solution to prospective partners and customers.

The programme includes work from Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC). SAC is working with UK SME Earthsense to develop a unique measurement system for air quality by integrating satellite and on-the-ground sensor data to deliver a detailed localised map of air quality to provide a more nuanced map of pollution in the city and how it changes over time.



From the UK end, the IFCA programme is funded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through the Newton Fund and delivered by Energy Systems Catapult, Connected Places Catapult and Satellite Applications Catapult. From the India end, it is a partnership of matched resources with various organisations in India including: