Clean maritime: decarbonising marine transport in Northern Ireland

Power Northern Ireland (NI)

Credit: Power NI, part of the Energia Group

Northern Ireland Green Seas project explores the next generation of innovative technologies and solutions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A consortium of organisations in Northern Ireland has been awarded funding to investigate ways to decarbonise maritime transport as part of the UK’s goal to achieve net zero by 2050.

The Northern Ireland Green Seas feasibility study is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

The feasibility study will focus on three very different maritime locations:

  • Belfast Harbour, a major freight and transport port
  • Bangor Marina, a smaller leisure port
  • Rathlin, a remote but inhabited island.

Exploring low carbon solutions

The research project will explore practical real-life scenarios to help assess the energy requirements of these different maritime locations.

It will identify and investigate the most appropriate zero-emission solutions for both port and vessel operations.

Among the possible low carbon solutions being considered are battery energy storage to support the charging of electrified vessels, green hydrogen production and storage, shore-side electrical grid infrastructure for freight handling and renewable energy supply.

The project is being led by Power NI, part of the Energia Group, working with local partners including:

  • Belfast Harbour
  • Artemis Technologies
  • NIE Networks
  • Ulster University
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • global engineering firm, Mott MacDonald.

A crucial role in reducing emissions

David Macartney, Corporate Development Manager at Energia Group, said:

This project is really exciting for us and the funding will play a crucial role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in maritime operations and shipping in the future.

We are delighted to be working with some of Northern Ireland’s leading companies and academic institutions to undertake this study and help position NI at the forefront of the transition to zero emission maritime transport.

Energia Group has played a key role in the introduction of renewable energy in Northern Ireland, including onshore wind and hydrogen-fuelled buses but we wouldn’t have been able to progress this project as quickly without this vital funding.

Clean Maritime Demonstration competition (CMDC)

The CMDC was announced in March 2021.

It is part of the Prime Minister’s 10-point point plan to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology.

The competition is a £23 million investment from government alongside a further £10 million from industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector.

55 projects across the UK

The programme is supporting 55 projects across the UK, including projects in:

  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • from the south-west to the north-east of England.

As set out in the Clean Maritime Plan (2019), government funding has been used to support early-stage research relating to clean maritime.

The programme will be used to support the research, design and development of zero emission technology and infrastructure solutions for maritime and to accelerate decarbonisation in the sector.

Watch our video to find out more about how Power NI and its partners are exploring the next generation of innovative technologies and solutions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Last updated: 31 January 2022

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