News: Winners of £23m Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Announced

The first ever green submarine study has been named as one of 55 winning projects of a £23 million government-funded R&D competition, announced today (15 September 2021) by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, in Greenwich, as part of the greenest ever London International Shipping Week.

The Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, announced as part of the Prime Minister’s 10 point plan for green industrial revolution, is supporting the development of innovative technology to propel the government’s commitment to have zero emission ships operating commercially by 2025 – creating hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the nation and establishing the UK as world leaders in clean maritime.

A fully automated net positive submarine fleet, powered entirely on green hydrogen, could help cleanse the oceans of toxic pollution by collecting microplastics on its pilot route between Glasgow and Belfast. While transporting cargo shipments, the fleet could secure significant emission savings of 27 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the first year of operation, with an overall mission to reduce 300 million tonnes of CO2 emissions as the fleet grows. 

Also among the winners is an all-electric charge-point connected to an offshore wind turbine. The charge-points will be able to power boats using 100% renewable energy generated from the turbine. This offers potential savings of up to 131,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions a year – the equivalent of removing over 62,000 cars from our roads. 

Similar to roadside electric vehicle chargepoints, these will be operated by semi-automated control, meaning that sailors can moor up by the wind turbine chargepoint, plug in, charge up, then sail on. 

Announcing the winners in Greenwich, the heart of British maritime, on the state-of-the-art Royal Navy ship, HMS Albion, the Transport Secretary outlined how this is the latest in a string of government initiatives aimed at cutting emissions in the sector as part of London International Shipping Week – including joining other nations in supporting a world-leading absolute zero target for international shipping emissions by 2050. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: 

"As a proud island nation built on our maritime prowess, it is only right that we lead by example when it comes to decarbonising the sector and building back greener. 

"The projects announced today showcase the best of British innovation, revolutionising existing technology and infrastructure to slash emissions, create jobs and get us another step closer to our decarbonisation targets. 

"This comes as Maritime Minister Robert Courts supports the opening of the UK’s greenest cruise terminal. The Horizon Cruise Terminal at the Port of Southampton, Europe’s leading cruise turnaround port, is the first of its kind, using an innovative mix of solar panel roofing and clean energy shore power plug-in charging for ships – pioneering the way towards greener cruising."

Maritime Minister Robert Courts said: 

"As the cruising sector bounces back from the pandemic, it’s important that our environmental commitments are at the heart of everything we do. 

"Building state-of-the-art green infrastructure at cruise terminals helps us move towards cleaner cruising, creating more spaces for these ships to dock and putting us on track to hit net zero by 2050." 

Maritime UK chair Sarah Kenny said: 

"We have always been an island of maritime pioneers and today’s competition shows this will long continue with potential to rule the green waves of the future. 

"Through increased investment and closer collaboration with government our industry can rise to the challenge of steering the UK’s vessels in a green direction. 

"We still have a very long way to go, but today marks an important step towards our journey to net zero."

View the list of winners