The UK government has committed to help fund innovative technologies and fuels to reduce maritime emissions, ultimately helping create a zero-emissions sector.
In partnership with industry, it has committed to spending over GBP£6 million on funding trials of innovative energy saving devices, such as:
- state of the art propellers
- on board waste heat recovery
- rotor sails that use wind power to cut fuel consumption
In addition to funding trials, the government is also providing technical backing and expertise through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for the following projects:
- work in Scotland to prove the use of hydrogen fuel cells for ferries in the UK
- Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries ongoing work to deliver innovative vessels such as hybrids, and their longer-term efforts to prove the use of innovative propulsion and fuels for the next generation of ferries
Maritime transport emits around 1,000 million tonnes of CO₂ annually worldwide, and is responsible for about 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If emissions from international shipping are not addressed, studies suggest they will account for almost a fifth (17 percent) of global emissions by 2050, highlighting the need for urgent action.
The UK says it is playing a leading role in implementing binding energy efficiency targets for shipping. By 2025, the majority of new ships will be expected to be 30 percent more efficient than current designs.
The country’s maritime minister John Hayes commented, “The UK is home to a wealth of expertise in maritime technology, but more needs to be done to move this sector towards a zero emissions world. That’s why this government is committed to backing vital technology to meet this goal, and we are looking to deepen our technical expertise to further support industry.”
The government has also been working closely with industry to develop international regulations to support liquid natural gas and other alternative fuels. Vessels fuelled with liquid natural gas are regularly refuelling in the UK at ports including Teesport, Southampton and Immingham.
The UK already has several hybrid ships operating in its waters. These systems offer local air quality benefits, can be quieter for port communities and provide opportunities for further energy efficiency on board a vessel.
The UK is home to the largest maritime sector in Europe and generates an estimated GBP£56bn of UK GDP, employing 10 percent of the UK’s workforce.