Net zero at land and at sea – Innovate UK teams up with DfT

Comparison of ice caves and rocky sand caves

Innovate UK is supporting two new Department for Transport (DfT)-funded competitions for net zero carbon emission projects at sea and on land.

The £20 million clean maritime demonstration competition (GOV.UK website) could result in hydrogen-powered vessels and zero emission shore-side power becoming a common sight on our seas and in our coastal towns.

The competition is being run by Innovate UK on behalf of the DfT.

It will be used to support the development of prototype vessels and port infrastructure that could then be rolled out widely.

This will propel the sector towards net zero, as the UK prepares to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit (GOV.UK website) in November.

£20 million competition

In a related development, Innovate UK is also partnering with DfT on a £20 million competition for net zero road freight projects.

This investment is for advanced feasibility studies for zero emission road freight, in the field of:

Additionally, there is dedicated support for the uptake of battery electric trucks (Innovation Funding Service) for public and private sector fleet operators.

Transport decarbonisation plan

The competition launches come as the government prepares to publish its transformational transport decarbonisation plan.

The plan sets out how all modes of transport – sea, rail, road and aviation – can make the switch to net zero.

The project adds to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s councils’ long tradition of investing in cutting-edge research and innovation to understand, tackle and mitigate the effects of climate change.

UKRI will use its role as a steward of the research and innovation system to bring our communities together. We aim to create sustainable and resilient solutions and encourage new behaviours and new ways of living that enable the UK to reach net zero by 2050.

Innovations of the future

Announcing the maritime competition, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

We have a proud shipbuilding history and, together with industry, I am determined to build on that as we look to develop the innovations of the future and meet our net zero target.

We are revolutionising maritime technology and, from electric boats to hydrogen ports, we will change the way this country sails forever, and bring jobs and prosperity to the UK.

Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK said:

In the year the UK hosts COP26, Innovate UK and our partners are supporting a huge variety of decarbonisation initiatives. These programmes play a prominent role in reaching net zero and are testament to Innovate UK’s power to convene across sectors to help deliver those goals.

By harnessing the best ideas for the maritime and road freight sectors UK innovators will show us again how ingenuity to meet global challenges can be achieved and we call upon those innovators to get involved.

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