Up to £1bn (€1.13bn) in aid funding will be made available for climate change innovation through the UK’s Ayrton Fund.
The Ayrton Fund is named for Hertha Ayrton, a British suffragette and scientist. Ayrton was the first woman elected to membership of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1899 and the first female recipient of the Royal Society’s Hughes Medal in 1906; during World War 1, she developed a ‘flapper’ fan which was used to dispel poison gas in trenches. More than 100,000 ‘Ayrton fans’ were in use on the Western Front.
The Ayrton Fund is designed to assist UK scientists in developing innovative new technologies for use in the developing world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate the impacts of climate change. Potential innovations could fulfil clean energy needs in a variety of ways, including:
- Ensuring affordable access to electricity from clean sources – a billion people around the world do not currently have access to the electricity grid;
- Reducing the carbon emissions produced by factories;
- Developing clean-burning stoves – 2.7 billion people rely on firewood, leading to environmental damage and issues of public health; and
- Improving cooling systems to reduce the amount of energy they waste.
Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “The UK is leading the world in tackling climate change – cutting emissions further than any other G20 country, becoming the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming and being nominated to host crucial UN climate talks next year. Having successfully decarbonised while growing our economy, we’re proud to work with the poorest countries, who suffer most from the impacts of climate change, to develop and deploy wind, solar and battery technology to help drive the clean energy transition.”
International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Climate change will hit the poorest communities hardest and fastest. The UK’s pioneering work through the Ayrton Fund will find innovative ways to develop clean energy solutions for homes, which will transform the lives of the most vulnerable.”