Research and development funding is available for UK businesses to develop new inspection methods for nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms.
Projects are expected to last up to three months, with £5,000 to £10,000 for each project.
Through this competition, EDF Energy is inviting businesses to apply for funding to develop new inspection methods for nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms. This is an opportunity for innovative businesses of all sizes to work with EDF Energy to:
- develop solutions to long-standing technology challenges
- trial these new technologies
- get potential access to a multi-million pound market
- commercialise their innovations
The competition has two themes, based on existing challenges within EDF’s nuclear fleet and offshore wind farms. EDF is seeking proposals for feasibility studies that address these challenges.
Early stage and well-developed ideas will be considered and projects will be selected based on how innovative they are and how much value they create.
EDF Energy will attempt to work with the successful companies to bring the best ideas to on-site trials and possible commercial reality.
In this competition EDF will not fund technologies that:
- have been unsuccessful in previous trials unless the applicant has made clear innovative improvements;
- do not provide significant advantages over the current state of the art.
The competition is open to UK businesses of any size, from start-ups to large companies. A business can work alone or with academic partners, however a business must lead the project. Innovators from outside the energy sector are particularly welcome.
The nuclear fleet challenge is open to UK companies only.
Match funding is not a stipulated requirement of this programme.
The competition challenges are as follows:
Challenge 1: inspection of high-risk components in advanced gas-cooled nuclear reactors
EDF Energy is looking for innovative solutions, in particular:
New manipulators for access
One of the main challenges is that a lot of components are hard to access. EDF is looking for a device that can inspect boiler tubes remotely. It may also be able to navigate congested areas in enclosed spaces. In some cases it may need to steer around bifurcations.
New probes and techniques for inspection
EDF Energy is interested in a large range of inspection parameters:
- geometrical measurement, for example tube wall metal loss or defect geometries
- material characterisation for example carburisation effects, creep and fatigue damage, intergranular attack, deposition and pitting in austenitic stainless steel or 9% chrome steel
Remote sampling techniques
Extraction of samples, usually fractions of 1mm3. This allows accurate characterisation of global degradation mechanisms and material loss. Sampling provides a means of validating inspection results from non-destructive methods.
Solutions to decommissioning challenges
EDF Energy is looking for a wide number of solutions to the future decommissioning challenge. These vary from the inspection of ponds to remote sampling of radioactive environments, such as the graphite core.
Challenge 2: long-term solutions for offshore wind monopile foundation corrosion monitoring and control
At present, it is quite difficult to regularly monitor and inspect. This is because of:
- access constraints
- issues of working in a confined space
- hazards related to carrying out underwater inspections
Closed. The competition opened on Monday 18 July 2016 and the deadline for applications to be received was before noon on Wednesday 28 September 2016.
Details of any future rounds will be reported when available.
Link to guidelines:
The competition will follow a two-stage process:
1. Video submission
Applicants must apply online. They will need to complete an online form and upload a short video describing their idea.
2. Pitching session
The funder will score proposals and invite the highest scoring applicants to present their ideas to a panel of EDF experts. These experts will select the final projects.
Dates and deadlines
|Competition opens||Monday 18 July 2016|
|Briefing event for potential applicants||Thursday 8 September 2016 in Gloucester|
|Application deadline||Noon on Wednesday 28 September 2016 (now passed)|
|Pitching sessions for successful applicants||October 2016 - dates to be confirmed|
|Winners informed||November 2016 - dates to be confirmed|
|Projects start||January 2017|