The drive to decarbonise the UK shipping industry took another step forward recently, as the UK government pledged a further £34 million of funding for research and development of new technologies that will provide cleaner shipping solutions.
In a recent press release, the Department for Transport said that the funding would be available as part of the fourth round of the clean maritime demonstration competition (CMDC4), bringing the total invested in the initiative so far to £129m.
The range of projects in the competition so far have included the creation and use of alternative fuel sources, the improvement of battery power for vessels, and the development of a charging system that can be used on offshore wind turbines to power service vessels.
Maritime Minister Baroness Charlotte Vere said: “Pushing the boundaries of possibility is integral to the UK’s global ambition of a greener maritime sector. That’s why today’s new round of funding continues to set that course, not only keeping our climate goals on track but also boosting opportunities for private investment, new jobs and growing the economy.”
She added: “The UK’s maritime sector is one of the most competitive and innovative in the world and today’s latest clean maritime demonstration competition funding is testament to that.”
UK Chamber of Shipping Chief Executive Sarah Treseder said: “Instilling confidence in the UK shipping industry to invest in new technologies and fuels is central to reaching net zero.”
She added: “This funding, with a focus on real world demonstrations, will help to do that and unlock investment from across the shipping community to deliver the technologies that will reduce emissions while ensuring shipping remains at the heart of the UK’s economy.”
Meanwhile, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has released a new report that makes recommendations on the use of hydrogen fuels to power maritime vessels. The UK as an island nation is dependent on sea freight for about 90% of its trade imports and exports, and the maritime sector contributes to at least 5% of all annual Co2 emissions.
One solution to the current reliance on fossil fuels is to switch to hydrogen fuel, which produces almost no harmful emissions. The new report outlines how the use of hydrogen fuel would be regulated within the sector, and also sets spending commitments for rolling out the required new fuelling infrastructure.
The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology wrote to the Regulatory Horizons Council: “I welcome the Council’s pragmatic approach to regulatory reform, focusing on establishing a proportionate regulatory framework that encourages the safe development of hydrogen fuel and whilst providing clarity to innovators, shipbuilders and ports.”
“From stimulating demand for UK shipbuilders, to bolstering job creation in our coastal communities, to sustainably supporting our world-leading offshore wind farm industries, the adoption of hydrogen and other low-carbon fuels in the maritime sector offers an array of opportunities for the UK to deliver on our plan to build an innovative economy.”
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