UK invests £77 million to decarbonise maritime travel

UK invests £77 million to decarbonise maritime travel
Government-funded competition will assist UK operators and ports with sustainability projects

The UK Government is investing £77 million ($93 million) in clean maritime technology and has launched a Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure competition for UK ship operators and ports to apply for funding.

This is the UK’s first funded sustainable maritime initiative and the money will be used for sustainability projects such as battery-powered vessels, wind-assisted ferries, low-carbon fuels like hydrogen and ammonia, and building shore power supply capabilities. Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate a plan to launch zero-emission vessels or initiatives by 2025 at the latest.

“When it comes to tackling climate change, we are taking action on all transport modes, which is why we’re making sure our world-leading maritime sector has a greener future,” said Mark Harper, UK transport secretary. “This multimillion-pound investment will help the latest tech ideas become reality and ensure UK waters will play host to green cargo ships, ferries and cruises in the next few years.

“Our funding will support a cleaner freight system, a more environmentally friendly tourism industry, and a net-zero maritime sector.”

The investment demonstrates the government’s commitment to reduce the rate of global warming by 1.5C, which was a target set within the Paris agreement, by encouraging sustainable maritime travel.

“Our National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh set ambitious plans to drive the green maritime revolution as a key step to reaching this government’s net-zero targets,” said Ben Wallace, defence secretary and the government’s shipbuilding tsar. “This investment is a clear statement that we are taking these plans seriously, helping to put the UK at the cutting edge of clean maritime technology while benefitting thousands of UK jobs.”

The competition will be overseen by Innovate UK.

“This latest £77 million investment in clean maritime innovation is another major milestone in the delivery of the wider UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme to accelerate the transition to net zero,” said Mike Biddle, executive director for net-zero projects at Innovate UK. “Innovate UK will work closely with the Department for Transport in delivering the Zero Emission Vessel and Infrastructure competition, resulting in multi-year, real-world demonstrations of clean maritime technologies around the UK.”

The government will also provide up to £7.4 million ($8.9 million) to fund the new Clean Maritime Research Hub, which will involve teams from several UK universities. The research will provide expertise for the maritime sector. The hub will be co-funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as part of the UK SHORE programme, which launched in March 2022 with £206 million ($248 million) in funding.

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Alice Chambers
By Alice Chambers
06 February 2023

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