Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce up to £1 billion of funding for projects aimed at tackling climate change in developing countries.
Scientists and innovators in Britain will be able to access the new Ayrton Fund to develop and test new technologies that can help developing nations reduce their emissions and meet global climate targets.
Projects could include solar technology for homes, large-scale battery technology to replace polluting diesel generators and clean stoves like electric pressure cookers for some of the 2.7 billion people who still rely on firewood.
Scientists and researchers could also work with factories in major polluting industries like iron and steel, petrochemicals and cement to reduce their carbon output, improve the technology behind cooling systems so energy isn’t wasted as well as design low emission and electric vehicles (EVs) to cut pollution and make transport systems cleaner and greener.
The fund is named after leading British scientist and suffragette Hertha Ayrton, a pioneering physicist, mathematician and inventor whose work contributed to major scientific advancements at the turn of the 20th century, including in electricity.
Her research into the flow of water and air also inspired the Ayrton fan which was used on the Western Front in the First World War to dispel poison gas from British soldiers in the trenches.
Speaking ahead of the UN General Assembly today, where Mr Johnson will make the announcement, he said: “Britain is a nation of innovators. Our scientists have been at the forefront of technological advancement for generations, pioneering world-changing inventions like the jet engine, the television and the light bulb.
“I have always been deeply optimistic about the potential of technology to make the world a better place. If we get this right, future generations will look back on climate change as a problem that we solved by determined global action and the prowess of technology.
“This innovative use of aid money benefits all of us and shows how we can use our aid budget to tackle climate change. The Ayrton Fund will back scientists and our world-leading tech industry – reducing emissions in the poorest countries with the help of our home-grown talent.”