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UK launches £20m competition to develop low-carbon shipping

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The government has launched a £20m competition designed to lower carbon emissions from the global shipping industry.

It hopes that technologies like hydrogen-powered vessels and e-charge points at ports could become more commonplace and will help to counteract rising emissions from the sector.

The fund will be used to support the development of prototype vessels and port infrastructure that could be rolled out widely. Scientists and academics are encouraged to team up with UK shipping, ports and shipbuilders to put forward their proposals.

The trials will enable companies to test the new technologies, with a view to them being developed commercially if proved to be successful.

International shipping is currently responsible for around 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and growing. Concerns have been raised that without action, these emissions could increase between 50 and 250 per cent by 2050.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new competition could “revolutionise” maritime technology as well as bring jobs to the UK.

Maritime Minister Robert Courts added: “This is a turning point for the UK’s maritime sector. It’s an opportunity for businesses to develop the technologies of the future, not only protecting our environment but driving economic growth.

“I urge this country’s best thinkers to put their green ideas forward and help us deliver a better, cleaner maritime sector.”

The government will also fund an additional study looking at how net-zero emissions vessels can be made more commonplace in the recreational craft sector.

Developed in partnership with the Carbon Trust, the study will set out how the UK can improve the supply and demand for zero-carbon recreational craft.

It will make a series of recommendations to governments and industry, including using alternative fuels.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: “The maritime sector must decarbonise by 2050. Large numbers of people both enjoy and are employed by the recreational craft industry, and there are opportunities for leadership in decarbonisation technologies.

“The recreational craft sector encompasses a wide range of vessel types, and there are unique challenges that need to be overcome. A combination of targeted innovation support, cross-industry collaboration and regulatory and financial intervention will be needed to accelerate the development and uptake of low carbon technologies.”

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