Pulse Innovation Challenge

We’re excited to launch our 2020 Innovation Challenge. This time we’re focussing on residential heating, cooling and hot water. If you’re an early-stage business with innovative solutions, this could be your gateway into the world of EDF.

Highlights from the Pulse Innovation Challenge 2019

The Heat is on!


Heating is one of the UK’s biggest sources of carbon emissions. In June 2019, the UK Government committed to a Net Zero carbon emissions target across the economy by 2050 and decarbonising heat is key to achieving this. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has recently set out proposals for the future of low carbon heat beyond 2021.

But we want to explore what innovations are available now. EDF’s innovation accelerator, Blue Lab, wants to collaborate with the best young companies innovating in this space and help them develop and grow.

We’re looking for customer innovations to do with low carbon heating, cooling and hot water in the broadest sense – this could be new hardware, software, energy efficiency, insulation, performance monitoring, data services, maintenance, or customer engagement solutions.

Examples of solutions we would be interested in are electric heating (including heat pumps, infrared panels, building integrated solutions), domestic HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning), MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery), solar thermal, hybrid systems, hydrogen boilers, smart software solutions involving AI or machine learning that would help save energy, cutting edge insulation solutions, connected maintenance schemes and innovative ways to engage with customers.

We’re looking for solutions that would benefit residential consumers, as opposed to business customers. These could be applied to new build, housing association, rental as well as privately owned homes.

Your solution should be at least a minimum viable product, but something that is new and innovative that pushes the boundaries – not something that is already readily available in the market (i.e. we looking for solutions with less than 1,000 product sales in the UK).

In this challenge, we’re not looking for combined heat and power/district heating, insurance products and pure fossil fuel solutions such as oil or gas. 

Benefits on offer


Get access to EDF scale and network to develop business opportunities

Mentorship from senior leadership at EDF and access to subject matter experts

"We want to work with fantastic start-ups and can help you develop and grow your ideas with our knowledge and expertise in the energy sector and innovation.

"This challenge can give you a unique gateway into the world of energy and help us, jointly, deliver a powerful future for the benefit of energy users."

Jean-Benoit Ritz, Director of Innovation and Blue Lab

Free office space at IDEALondon, an innovation centre in the heart of London’s Tech City, run by EDF and UCL

£10k cash prize for overall winner

Opportunity to validate products, trial and test in live environments, along with customer feedback and consumer insights

Potential for EDF to invest in your business

Apply for the Pulse Innovation Challenge


To apply for the programme, simply register on the Innovation Challenge Platform and complete the application form.

Applications close on 26 June 2020.

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Terms and conditions can be found here.

Pulse Innovation Challenge timeline


20 May 20

Challenge launch

26 Jun 20

Applications close

29 Jun 20


3 Jul 20

Successfully Shortlisted Applicants Informed

20 Jul 20

Virtual Pitch Day

EDF Energy Electric Vehicle Consultancy Services
7 Sep 20

8-Week Programme Starts

2 Nov 20

Final Demo Day

Past winners of the Pulse Innovation Challenge



ev.energy is an electric vehicle (EV) charging software platform that optimises electric vehicle charging making it simpler, greener and cheaper.

The ev.energy team won the 2019 Pulse Innovation Challenge by impressing the judges with their customer-focussed solution giving EV owners greater control and visibility when charging their electric cars at home and on the go.

They were one of five start-up finalists in who spent the 12 weeks working closely with teams from EDF after being selected from nearly 160 entrants for the 2019 challenge.

"We’ve really enjoyed working with the team over the last three months and believe we have an exciting opportunity to develop a great solution for customers”

Nick Woolley, CEO and Co-Founder of ev.energy

"Working with EDF Energy has been a great opportunity for us. Our partnership has provided access to a broad customer base, along with ongoing support and expertise.”

Physiotherapist Louise Rogerson, Chief Operating Officer of Howz


Howz has been working closely with EDF Energy’s innovation accelerator, Blue Lab, since winning our start-up challenge in 2016.

We tested the original Howz smart home monitoring system with 200 of our elderly customers and helped further develop the product, which is now available via our Smart Home Store. 

Its user-friendly system includes smart sensors, which are easy to install and learn routines within the home. It can then send an alert to a family member, friend or carer if there is a sudden change in routine, or if more gradual changes are detected that might indicate a new condition at an early stage.

The Howz home care kit, discovered during our first start-up challenge, supports people to live independently for longer through a system of connected sensors that allow friends and family to digitally “check-in” on the resident to see how they’re doing.


Powervault has been working with EDF since winning the Blue Lab innovation challenge in 2018.

They have built a domestic energy storage system that is simple, affordable and smart. It can also help enable the transition to a smart grid and decentralised energy.

The battery stores free energy generated from rooftop solar panels during the day, which can then be used during the evening.

It can also store cheap grid electricity overnight for use in the morning, saving customers money on their energy bills.

"Winning the Blue Lab competition has been amazing. The Blue Lab team has worked with us to launch Powervault to EDF Energy customers, creating a market-leading proposition."

Joe Warren, Managing Director of Powervault

Pulse Innovation Challenge in association with:


IDEALondon is an innovation centre in the heart of London’s Tech City run by EDF and UCL.

Capital Enterprise are London’s startup experts; connecting & energising a world-class entrepreneurship ecosystem.


Find out more about EDF