Cargo ship on the ocean

UK launches £77m competition for clean maritime technology

Image credit: Pixabay

The UK government has launched a multi-million-pound Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition to help decarbonise the country’s maritime sector.

The £77m ZEVI competition launched today, 6 February 2023 and it will focus on projects that aim to reduce emissions in maritime transport, both on board and shoreside, through innovation in green technology for the sector.

The goal of the initiative is to develop tools that will help operators launch a zero-emission vessel by 2025 at the latest.

Examples of such technology include battery electric vessels, shoreside electrical power, ships running on low-carbon fuels like hydrogen or ammonia, and wind-assisted ferries, the government has said. 

"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, the government's transport secretary. 

"This multi-million-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."

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.

To address this global issue, the UK government is also calling on universities across the UK to join forces to establish a new Clean Maritime Research Hub (CMRH).

CMRH will be supported with £7.4m in funding from the government, as well as additional economic support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The hub is expected to deliver research in the fundamental science behind clean maritime technologies, building evidence and expertise for the maritime sector.

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary and shipbuilding tsar, commented: “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.” 

The competition will be overseen by Innovate UK.

The latest funding forms part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme launched in March 2022 with £206m in funding, to help the sector reach net zero.

The UK has pledged to invest approximately £4bn in the country’s regional shipbuilding industry. The investment is expected to support shipyards and suppliers across the UK, delivering a pipeline of more than 150 new civil and naval vessels over the next 30 years.

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