A BELFAST tech firm which specializes in emissions data is to significantly scale up its operations after securing new funding under UK Government efforts to replace red diesel.
Catagen has taken four funding awards in all under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.
The latest two awards under the Red Diesel Replacement Competition follow last month’s double award for the development of green hydrogen production and a liquid hydrogen fuel carrier.
Catagen is the only Northern Ireland businesses to secure funding under the scheme, and it could be in line for several million pounds of additional cash if it successfully passes phase one of the process.
The tech firm is a Queen’s University spin-out, emerging from Dr Andrew Woods' PhD research on reducing emissions from vehicles.
Based in the Titanic Quarter, the firm currently sells its patented emissions testing services to global automotive manufacturers. It has also been approved by the UK Vehicle Certification Agency and Europe’s Applus IDIADA.
The company said the BEIS funding will allow it to significantly scale in Belfast in order to develop new net zero technologies in green hydrogen and e-fuel production.
Catagen has already doubled its workforce in the past year to a team of 35, and is aiming to double its headcount over the next year.
Describing the funding awards as a potential gamechanger for the firm, co-founder and chief technology officer Professor Roy Douglas said: “E-Fuels are needed to provide an alternative solution to electrification for sectors such as aviation, marine, heavy-duty diesel and heating systems that use liquid fuels.
“A blended solution of technologies is needed to meet net zero emissions targets by 2050.
“Some of our existing business partners have already expressed interest in piloting Catagen’s e-fuel as it can be used in a conventional internal combustion engine and utilises existing infrastructure.”
Commenting on the award, the UK's Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said: “As we accelerate the UK’s energy independence by boosting clean, home-grown, affordable energy, it’s crucial that our industries reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.
"This investment will help them to not only cut emissions, but also save money on energy bills, on top of supporting jobs by encouraging green innovation across the UK.”