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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.
UK Government Transport Secretary
The UK government has ringfenced £77m to fund the development of zero-emission ferries, cruises and cargo ships in UK waters over the next two years.
The funding includes a multi-million-pound Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition to help decarbonise the country’s maritime sector.
Successful projects must be able to 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.
“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,” says transport secretary Mark Harper.
“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 ZEVI competition — launched on Monday (6 February 2023) — will see innovative companies apply for the funding, which must be used to decarbonise technology both on board and shoreside.
The government says the funding will ‘take the tech from the factory to the sea’ – identifying which projects will have a long-term impact in reducing emissions.
The government says the investment demonstrates its commitment to a “new green age for maritime travel, which is free from emissions,” in line with the 1.5-degree temperature target set by the Paris Agreement.
Ben Wallace, defence secretary and shipbuilding tsar, adds: “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 competition is being overseen by the national innovation agency, Innovate UK.
The government is also calling on universities across the UK to join forces to establish a new Clean Maritime Research Hub, with £7.4m funding from the government and additional funding from academia and industry.
Research in the fundamental science behind clean maritime technologies will be delivered by the hub, building evidence and expertise for the maritime sector. It will also support skills development across the industry and generate knowledge for maritime decision-makers.
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).
The ZEVI fund and Clean Maritime Research Hub are part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK Shore) programme, which was launched in March 2022 with £206m in funding and aims to tackle shipping emissions.