Zero emission road freight strand 3: supply chain technology

Key Features

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £10 million for feasibility studies and industrial research in supply chain technology.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £10 million

Opens: 22nd Mar 2021

Closes: 5th May 2021

! This scheme is now closed


The Department for Transport (DfT) will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £10 million in innovation projects.

This investment is for advanced feasibility studies and industrial research in supply chain technology.

Your project can be for the future use of zero emission trucks, including battery electric trucks, hydrogen fuel cell trucks, or trucks which will be operated on an electric road system.

The competition strands are:

  • electric road system demonstration feasibility study– strand 1
  • hydrogen fuel cell vehicles demonstration feasibility study – strand 2
  • supply chain technology feasibility studies and industrial research– strand 3 (this strand)

There is a related SBRI procurement competition supporting uptake of battery electric trucks.


The aim of this competition is to fund ambitious industry-led research into supply chain technology for zero emission capable freight vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and the supporting infrastructure.

Your proposal must:

  • address the challenges associated with the transition to zero emission road freight
  • define a solution to the technical challenges to developing or operating zero emission trucks

Your project

At the end of the feasibility study or industrial research, your project must have reached one of the following stages:

  • be ready to continue in future R&D competitions
  • be able to raise private sector investment to take the project outcome to market

Examples of technologies in scope include:

  • electrification of conventional powertrains towards zero emission, including hybridisation
  • new and novel e-powertrains solutions where the project does not include costs related to any conventional engine R&D work
  • hydrogen projects where the innovation focuses on fuel cell development or use of hydrogen to produce electricity
  • zero carbon emission combustion technologies which offer an immediately deployable solution and are considerate and reflective of air quality requirements
  • retrofit of existing vehicles to support their operation on a catenary or other electric road system solution
  • trailer technologies that enable zero emission capability for the tractor unit, including auxiliary power systems, such as for refrigeration or trailer equipment.
  • efficiency improvements specific to zero emission heavy goods vehicles
  • technologies which enable the construction and scalable installation of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure or electric road system infrastructure
  • hydrogen refuelling or electric road system infrastructure system or subsystem innovations
  • innovations in the interface between hydrogen supply (refuelling) and the vehicle

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Your project can:

  • address well to wheel (life cycle) savings for HGVs
  • consider any use-cycles, including urban, regional and trunking
  • be for future use on zero emission trucks, including electric trucks, hydrogen fuel cell trucks or trucks which will be operated on an electric road system

We want to fund a portfolio of projects across the three strands of this competition.

The programme reserves the right to adjust the distribution of funding across zero emission road freight competitions.

Specific Themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following to address the challenges associated with the transition to zero emission road freight:

  • power electronics, machines and drives
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures
  • infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling and electric road systems
  • highly disruptive zero emission technologies


Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • dedicated internal combustion engine projects
  • about energy production including hydrogen and renewables
  • business as usual projects which maintain the status quo or do not demonstrate a high degree of innovation
  • focused on developing zero carbon fuels or sustainable fuels
  • dealing with technologies focused on off-highway vehicles
  • about fleet charging or related to the electric vehicle charging, including ‘vehicle to grid’
  • dedicated manufacturing optimisation or improvement projects
  • technologies which improve truck aerodynamics
  • dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage- for example if they insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product


Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £100,000 and £250,000.
  • start by 01 July 2021
  • end by 31 March 2022

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, RTO, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

If the lead organisation is an RTO it must collaborate with 2 businesses.

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, research organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

In a collaboration the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

  • failed to exploit a previously funded project
  • an overdue independent accountant’s report
  • failed to comply with grant terms and conditions

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £10 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.