Feb 17, 2023
£77 Million Investment in Maritime Net Zero Technology | UK Government
The UK government has launched a £77 million Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition aimed at decarbonising the country’s maritime sector. The funding will take existing green maritime technology from the factory to the sea, identifying which projects will have a long-term impact in reducing emissions.
The ZEVI competition will provide funding for innovative companies working on zero-emission ferries, cruises, and cargo ships. Successful projects must show they could use this money to work with major UK ports and operators to 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.
UK Net Zero
Transport Secretary Mark Harper 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.
“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. 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 a new green age for maritime travel, which is free from emissions, in line with the 1.5°C temperature target set by the Paris Agreement. The ZEVI fund is part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme, launched in March 2022 with £206 million in funding, which aims to tackle shipping emissions and advance the UK towards a sustainable shipping future.
In addition to the ZEVI fund, the government is also calling on universities across the UK to establish a new Clean Maritime Research Hub. The hub will be delivered in partnership with and co-funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). With £7.4 million in government funding, the hub will focus on research in the fundamental science behind clean maritime technologies, supporting skills development across the industry and generating knowledge for maritime decision-makers.
Net Zero Strategy UK
Defence Secretary and Shipbuilding Tsar, Ben Wallace, said: “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. 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 ZEVI competition will be overseen by Innovate UK, a government agency that has a track record of delivering similar competitions. Innovate UK Executive Director for Net Zero Mike Biddle said the £77 million investment was a “major milestone” in the delivery of the wider UK SHORE programme.
“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,” Biddle said.
The ZEVI competition marks a significant step forward in the delivery of the wider UK SHORE programme to accelerate the transition to net zero. The program includes a range of measures to tackle shipping emissions, including grants for shore-side infrastructure, funding for hydrogen and ammonia engines, and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing vessels. With this new investment in green maritime technology, zero-emission ferries, cruises and cargo ships will set sail in UK waters within two years, creating thousands of new jobs in the industry.
WasteTrade and ThinkCarbon
Seeing this level of investment being made in reducing the emissions of the maritime industry, particularly in cargo shipping, is very exciting for us here at WasteTrade. As well as everything else we do to reduce carbon emissions, we partnered our online platform with ThinkCarbon. ThinkCarbon is an artificial intelligence tool specifically designed to reduce the carbon emissions resulting from the transporting of goods, whether by road, rail, sea or air.
ThinkCarbon uses AI to calculate the potential carbon footprint of actions the users on our platform could undertake, then provides them a breakdown of the emissions these choices would cause; this empowers our users to make the most carbon-efficient decisions possible.
A spokesperson for ThinkCarbon said: “This level of funding being made available to advance the transition towards net zero in the maritime industry is certainly a very important achievement, even if it is long-overdue.
“Ideally, we would have seen this support for the development of zero-emission maritime technology being offered years ago, but nonetheless we are glad that it is being offered now. One of the reasons ThinkCarbon was founded was to reduce the enormous carbon footprint of freight transport, so the thought of zero-emission cargo vessels being a reality in the near-future is very exciting to us.”