Investment will focus on companies that offer prospects of a strong commercial return and, in particular, on those renewable energy technologies where the UK has natural strength and potential to become a global leader.

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, says: "This cash injection will help safeguard the new generation of promising renewable technologies. Supporting green start-up companies with this capital means innovative ideas for low carbon energy will be able to make it out of the lab and into the future energy mix."

Tom Delay, Chief Executive at the Carbon Trust, adds: "The UK is a real hot-bed of clean tech innovation and the sector has the potential to create significant economic value for Britain but it needs urgent support. In the current environment, even the most promising companies are finding it hard to attract the funding needed to turn bright ideas into commercial success stories. With this new funding boost, we are confident that the tide will now begin to turn."