UK SHORE: Government delivers fresh wave of clean maritime R&D funding

The government has today announced a further £12m of funding to support the development of green maritime technologies, such as zero emission ferries and low carbon shipping fuels.

Maritime Minister Robert Courts confirmed the funding is to be made available through the second round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), which is to be delivered through the recently launched UK SHORE agency that has been tasked with leading efforts to slash emissions from the maritime sector.

“I want to see a new green age for maritime travel that is free from emissions,” said Courts. “Following the success of last year’s competition, this second round has been designed to support a shipping future that uses the most creative and innovative ways for people and goods to sail in cleaner and greener ways.”

The announcement was made at an event in Portsmouth where Courts met some of the 55 winners from last year’s competition, such as MJR Controls which showcased its new wind turbine charge points for electrical vessels.

The latest round of funding will also support a number of feasibility studies, which will explore how the ‘green shipping corridors’ proposed through the Clydebank Declaration agreed at last year’s COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow could work in practice.

The latest funding was welcomed by Maritime UK chief executive, Ben Murray, who said the establishment of UK SHORE had noted “a very important step on the UK maritime sector’s decarbonisation voyage”.

“Its first intervention – an extension to the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition – is showing the UK is determined to be a global leader in clean maritime,” he said. “As before, industry will co-invest to create the solutions needed to decarbonise. The projects on display today – from remotely operated vessels to green port infrastructure and electric wind turbine charging points – proves Britain remains an island of maritime pioneers. Continued investment and collaboration with government will drive the momentum we need and create skilled jobs around our coast.”

The news comes just days after the latest round of talks at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on plans to introduce new global mechanisms to curb emissions across the sector and bring it into line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The meeting of the Intersessional Working Group (ISWG) on Greenhouse Gases (GHG) came ahead of next month’s gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). Observers said the latest meeting delivered some progress on proposals for new fuel standards and a potential carbon levy on international shipping, with a number of countries coming out in support of the plans for the first time and a consensus building that some form of carbon pricing mechanism should be introduced.

However, various industry groups and some countries continued to argue that significant exemptions should be put in place, warning that new policy measures could have significant cost implications for parts of the shipping industry.

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