The top five sustainable Scottish innovations that can help us bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic

Head of the Sustainable Innovation Fund at Innovate UK, Jonny Voon outlines his vision for the country’s economy in a post-Covid future.

The Scottish economy has suffered considerably over the past two years at the mercy of Covid-19. While uncertainty persists, there are lots of reasons to be hopeful.

We have a fantastic opportunity as we recover from the pandemic to build an economy and society which is greener, fairer and more resilient.

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Key to a sustainable recovery is innovation. Young, dynamic companies and their inspirational entrepreneurs are the lifeblood that can revive our economy and deliver pioneering solutions to our most pressing challenges.

Tidal energy is a sustainable source. Picture: Innovate UKTidal energy is a sustainable source. Picture: Innovate UK
Tidal energy is a sustainable source. Picture: Innovate UK

They can help us to develop a more robust economy, promote equality, diversity and inclusion, and achieve the country’s net zero goals.

There are a large number of early-stage projects and companies, and visionary leaders I have been impressed by in recent months that are creating new products, services and processes that will help Scotland to decarbonise and minimise adverse environmental impacts.

These are my top five sustainable innovations to watch in 2022 – exciting Scottish companies that are changing manufacturing processes and developing greener technologies:

Flex Marine Power

A concept design of hydrogen energy storage from renewable sources. Picture: Innovate UKA concept design of hydrogen energy storage from renewable sources. Picture: Innovate UK
A concept design of hydrogen energy storage from renewable sources. Picture: Innovate UK

Located on the river Clyde on the west coast of Scotland near Glasgow, Flex Marine Power is developing tidal turbine technology that will enable coastal communities to thrive through harnessing the power of the sea.

The technology will deliver a scalable, affordable solution to unlocking the power of tidal energy, which to this date is relatively untapped.

Coastal communities and businesses will be able to generate electricity from the natural ebb and flow of tides in their local waters. The company’s vision is to enable a global network of Community-Embedded-Tidal energy projects, each generating local value and opportunities in the form of jobs, business opportunities, and sustainable energy.

Hv Systems

With haulage vehicles significantly contributing to air pollution, HVS is developing technology to help businesses deliver goods sustainably. The Glasgow company designs and develops hydrogen-electric vehicles and works with leading technology integrators, component suppliers and vehicle prototype design houses to deliver unique solutions to de-carbonise the medium and heavy duty commercial vehicle sectors.

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They plan to use hydrogen-electric technology in a range of vans and trucks, which are intended to produce zero emissions and have a range of 1,100km. Hv Systems is also working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC), the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and Foresight Innovations to develop the UK’s first purpose-built hydrogen-electric emergency ambulance.

Space Intelligence

This Edinburgh-based technology company uses satellite data to support nature restoration projects around the world. It offers a range of products and services geared towards monitoring the natural environment, such as ecosystem service mapping and deforestation monitoring.

Its latest project, STOMPER, will test and deploy new satellite analysis technologies to map degraded peat across Scotland. The business will then create a web mapping system that will highlight the priority areas of the Scottish peatlands that would benefit from greater sustainability management.


OrganLike are a team of leading bio-engineers, technology innovators and surgical practitioners revolutionising healthcare practices. Developed from University of Strathclyde research, the pioneering 3D Organ Printing Technology has been created to support safer and more effective surgery.

The business produces “hyper-real” organ models and tools for use in surgical simulation, medical training and for the medical device industry. This includes developing novel 3D printing technology and unique material formulations to create synthetic organs to train up future generations of surgeons.

Integrated Geochemical Interpretation

IGI is developing a digital North Sea Emissions Atlas to support the decarbonisation of the UK energy sector. The Emissions Atlas will enable the cost-effective monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions associated with oil and gas production for domestic needs during the energy transition.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund, set up by Innovate UK in 2020, is a £250 million public investment programme that provides financial backing and support for innovation projects to help build a greener, fairer, and more resilient future for the UK. More than 1,800 projects across the UK have received financial investment to support Covid-19 recovery, equality, diversity and inclusion and achieving net zero goals.

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