Clean Futures Accelerator


Click here to view the winning SMEs comprising the Clean Futures Accelerator

What is the Clean Futures Accelerator?

The Clean Futures Accelerator is a new initiative which forms part of the wider West Midlands Innovation Accelerator.

The Clean Futures Accelerator focuses on the area of Clean Tech and will support the West Midlands’ transport sector as it transitions away from fossil fuels towards clean technologies. The programme will also drive economic growth in the region by accelerating the route to market for SMEs in the sector.

Who is involved?

BCIMO is collaborating with project lead Connected Places Catapult and partners Coventry University and CU Services Limited to deliver the initiative, which officially launched on the 12th July 2023.

Who is it for?

Over the course of the next two years, 40 SMEs (20 per year) will be selected to join a 6-month, challenge-led accelerator where they will receive up to £50K to trial their solutions.

The challenges, which were set by BCIMO, Coventry University and key representatives from industry at a workshop on the 15th June 2023, identified the most pressing needs within the rail and automotive manufacturing sectors, along with their related supply chains.

Of the 20 SMEs selected to take part in Year 1 of the accelerator, applications that are focused on developing Clean Tech solutions for Rail will be supported by BCIMO for the duration of the programme.

What does the support include?

Over a period of 6 months, selected SMEs will receive:

  • Up to £50K in funding to develop and test solutions (which must be matched in-kind e.g., labour time)
  • Access to BCIMO’s state-of-the-art facilities, including its unique Rail Development and Test Site, a dedicated Clean Futures collaboration area and private meeting rooms
  • An engineering support package
  • A commercial support package
  • Networking and showcasing events
  • Access to the Clean Futures Catalyst, bringing together the wider West Midlands transport community

What are the challenges?

There are 5 challenge topics and applications:

Challenge 1

Greener EV components

Design or produce components which reduce embodied carbon across the vehicle lifecycle

Challenge 2

Circular economy of transport

Design or manufacture solutions to reuse or recycle batteries and other vehicle components

Challenge 3

Road freight alternatives

Design or produce systems or sub-systems enabling alternatives to traditional road freight, including using existing infrastructure, facilitating, multi-modal freight transportation and exploring shared transport solutions

Challenge 4

Greener transport infrastructure

Design or produce cost-effective solutions for clean transport infrastructure

Challenge 5

Future fuels

Produce, transport or store alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biofuels or synthetic fuels

Who are the challenge setters?

This list shows just some of the challenge setters involved in the programme:

*BCIMO is keen to engage with potential future Clean Futures challenge setters – if you are interested in getting involved, please register your interest on our Contact Us page or contact Naomi Arblaster, Head of SME Development at

What should I do next?

*To find out more about this exciting opportunity, and to apply, please visit the Clean Futures Opportunity page on the Connected Places Catapult website.

*If you are interested in applying for the Clean Futures Accelerator but would like to understand more about a particular challenge and/or how BCIMO facilities can support your application, visit our Challenge Support Workshop website pages below.

BCIMO is a not-for-profit Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) and operator of the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRNIC), a unique, world-class centre for rail innovation based in Dudley in the West Midlands.

BCIMO Project Funders

Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre
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