The Role of State Aid in Fuelling Research and Development at Skeleton Technologies
At Skeleton Technologies, state aid is pivotal, particularly for our cleantech R&D initiatives. It not only provides financial support but also validates our efforts to develop technologies that contribute to energy conservation and CO2 emission reductions—even in demanding industries like mining.
Beyond financial assistance, public funding represents a vote of confidence in our potential to deliver transformative technologies. For Skeleton, innovation is a relentless pursuit involving the creation of novel energy storage solutions, product enhancements, and the scaling of nascent technologies. Addressing global challenges such as climate change and raw material scarcity requires not just ideas but the capital to innovate and take calculated risks. Public funding offers a safety net for such bold endeavours, reducing the financial strain as we push the technological envelope.
For a company like Skeleton, public funding also serves as a seal of approval to investors, signalling that we have passed thorough scrutiny by funding authorities. This validation often results in increased private investment, fuelling further innovation.
The provision of state aid has a multiplier effect on growth and employment prospects. By alleviating financial barriers and backing high-risk, high-reward projects, it allows companies to expand more aggressively than would otherwise be possible. This accelerated expansion is not only about scaling up operations and market presence but it is also intrinsically linked to job creation.
State Aid Instruments Utilized by Skeleton
Skeleton Technologies has tapped into a spectrum of state aid instruments to support its R&D activities:
1. Early-stage Research Funding: This is essential for developing new technologies and understanding the capabilities and limits of our products. Collaborations, often part of a consortium, allow us to leverage external expertise and resources. National instruments in Estonia and Germany, along with Horizon Europe grants, are pivotal in this phase.
2. Later-stage Development Funding: This supports the transition of technologies from the lab to the market. It's a phase where significant innovation is still required, and EU programs frequently provide the necessary support.
3. Scale-up Project Funding: As products begin to reach the market, continued R&D is necessary. The EUBATIN project, implemented in Germany, exemplifies this, integrating scaling with innovation and benefiting from German federal and state funding.
2023: A Year of Notable R&D Projects
Skeleton Technologies launched several new R&D projects this year. Here are a few examples:
- HydroCap Project: Backed by Estonian state aid, this project aims to develop SuperBattery-based Hydrogen Booster technology, the first bespoke energy storage solution for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. “HydroCap” will allow Skeleton Technologies to develop, test and validate the SuperBattery module in relevant environment and achieve higher technology readiness.
- V-ACCESS Project: With Horizon Europe Funding, this project synergizes expertise across supercapacitors, superconductive magnetic energy storage systems (SMES), and the design and management of shipboard power systems, including power electronics and ship classification. This collaboration aims to advance the technology readiness of hybrid storage systems, which integrate batteries with supercapacitors, SMES, or both. These systems will be incorporated into an innovative DC shipboard microgrid, enabling flexible management of power distribution among various energy storage technologies, thereby enhancing the deployment of supercapacitors in the marine sector.
- CloudCap Project: Also supported by Estonian state aid, this project this initiative centers on developing and validating a supercapacitor management system capable of precisely determining the state of health (SOH). “CloudCap“ will enable us to develop, test and validate the UMS technology within the relevant setting, encompassing both onboard and cloud-based solutions.
- GreenCap Project: Funded by the EU, this project aims to engineer a technology that is not dependent on critical raw materials (CRM), while still delivering an energy density on par with that of batteries (>20 Wh/kg, >16 Wh/L). This technology will be characterized by distinctly high-power density and extended cycle life typical of traditional electrochemical double-layer capacitors, along with advanced energy management system.