UK transport department launches £20 million competition for zero-emission ships, infrastructure

Port of Southampton

Hydrogen-powered vessels and e-charge points at ports could soon become a common sight in UK seas and in the country’s coastal towns, thanks to a £20 million (US$27.6 million) competition launched by the Department for Transport (DFT) on Monday, March 22.

The fund will be used to support the development of prototype vessels and port infrastructure that could then be rolled out widely, propelling the sector towards net zero as the UK prepares to host the COP26 climate change summit in November.

The government is encouraging scientists and academics to collaborate with UK shipping, ports, and shipbuilders to enter ambitious proposals into the competition. The trials will enable companies to test the new technologies, with a view to these being developed commercially if proven to be successful.

UK Maritime Minister Robert Courts confirmed the news ahead of the launch of two government-funded studies focused on achieving net zero in both the recreational craft sector and offshore wind sectors.

A separate study is being developed on the offshore wind sector, produced in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Workboat Association. It will bring a coalition of industry partners together to break down the barriers to moving all operational and maintenance vessels working in the North Sea offshore wind sector to zero emissions by 2025.

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