New funding for offshore wind projects to drive maritime decarbonisation


The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has successfully won funding for five projects as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

Fifty-five projects successfully secured £23m funding as part of the Competition, announced at an event during London International Shipping Week by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. ORE Catapult is either leading or is a consortium partner in five of those projects, totalling £3.3m in funding awarded. The projects will convene industry, the supply chain and Government to address the policy, commercial, regulatory and technical barriers to achieving maritime decarbonisation.

One of the Competition’s flagship projects is a feasibility study into establishing a National Clean Maritime Demonstration Hub in ABP’s Grimsby docks – the world’s largest offshore wind O&M Port. ORE Catapult will lead this project alongside nine supply chain partners and two industrial advisors.

The other four projects include a project led by Artemis Technologies to further develop their eFoiler technology; Working alongside MJR Power & Automation to develop a world-first offshore vessel charging system taking power from an offshore wind farm; a project led by Concept Systems Ltd (CSL) investigating data-led emissions management; and the development of an offshore wind power barge, providing vessel-to-vessel charging capability, to be led by Aluminium Marine Consultants (AMC).

The decarbonisation of the UK’s maritime fleet is essential if we are to achieve Net Zero by 2050 and transitioning to a future of zero-emissions shipping with clean vessels and alternative fuels is vital.

As both a potential producer and user of clean fuels, the UK’s offshore wind industry is in a unique position to act as a springboard for that broader maritime decarbonisation. Offshore wind has ambitious growth and decarbonisation targets and engages the UK’s maritime fleet and its Ports across all aspects of its lifecycle – from installation to decommissioning. The industry’s workboat sector already includes 70 per cent UK content, and there are opportunities for the sector to develop solutions that can further decarbonise our broader maritime supply chains.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ”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.”

Regional Partnership Manager Stuart Barnes, who led on the Competition bids for ORE Catapult, said: “The fact that ORE Catapult is leading, or is a partner in, five out of the 55 projects funded through the Competition just underlines the huge role that offshore wind will play in the future decarbonisation of the UK’s maritime sector. These grant funding wins build on the work we undertook earlier this year in partnership with the Workboat Association on behalf of the Department for Transport and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to develop an innovation roadmap for decarbonising North Sea offshore wind operations and maintenance vessels.

“We are excited to be working on this diverse group of projects with some of the industry’s leading players from across the UK. We must ensure that offshore wind plays a key role in forging the emerging clean maritime industry of the 21st Century, driving rapid innovation, improving sustainability and levelling up through the creation of high-value jobs in key maritime clusters across the UK.”

Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer for Innovate UK added: “As the UK prepares to host COP26 in the maritime city of Glasgow, it is great that we can announce funding for these fantastic projects in the maritime sector that will help the UK meet its net zero goals. From this competition we saw a very high level of demand, we have seen the very best of British ideas from all over the country. It is clear that not only does the UK have a great maritime history, but also a bright and greener future too.”

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