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How is Plymouth Leading The Way For Maritime Net-Zero?

3 min

Cc: The University of Plymouth
With the recent announcement of the first electric maritime vessels to be installed in Plymouth, Quadrant Transport looks at how this will impact the maritime industry.

Plymouth is to be the first city in the UK to install a network of charging facilities for electric maritime vessels as part of a wider goal to decarbonise the ocean.

Over the past year, the city has become home to the UK’s first electric marine passenger ferry and electric water taxi, which operates 364 days a year.

Maritime transport emits around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

However, infrastructure barriers still pose a huge issue for the adoption of wider electrification, allowing the announcement of funding, as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, to be a major assist to the decarbonisation of the ocean.

The development is being led by the University of Plymouth in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Princess Yachts Limited and Aqua SuperPower.

More than £570,000 of funding has been given towards the project

The competition, overseen by The Department for Transport, worked with Innovate UK to invest up to £20m for innovative clean maritime and smart shipping projects.

It aimed to support the design and development of technologies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the UK’s maritime sector, as set out in the Clean Maritime Plan and support the transition to net-zero by 2050.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Quadrant Transport: “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.

Between now and March 2022, the project will identify suitable locations for charging facilities that can be easily linked to the National Grid while meeting both consumer and commercial demand. It hopes to create a network of charging facilities around Plymouth Sound, offering multiple and flexible sites.

The development is in response to the Maritime 2050 route map for maritime net zero

It will also develop and deploy an array of sensor technologies that can assess the environmental and operational impacts of e-charging.

Professor Will Blake, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute at the University of Plymouth, told Quadrant Transport: “This is an exciting project that has the real potential to showcase Plymouth as a trailblazer in clean maritime innovation.”

The University has a long track record of using its world-leading sustainability research and partnerships to both highlight challenges and develop new ways of working. This project, and the opportunities it brings, is the perfect way to continue expanding that work.

The scheme furthers Plymouth’s reputation as a centre of excellence in clean maritime innovation and will be designed to complement existing and emerging initiatives including Oceansgate, Smart Sound Plymouth, the Plymouth Freeport and the UK’s first National Marine Park.