The £20 million competition for green shipbuilding

Hydrogen-powered vessels and e-charge points at ports could soon become a common sight on British seas and coastal towns, thanks to a £20 million competition launched at the end of March 2021 by the UK government to make innovative green maritime ideas a reality.

The fund will be used to support the development of prototype vessels and port infrastructure that could then be rolled out widely – propelling the sector towards net-zero, as the UK prepares to host the COP26 climate change summit in November.

The Competition

The government is encouraging scientists and academics to collaborate with UK shipping, ports and shipbuilders to enter ambitious proposals into the competition:

  • driving economic growth
  • revitalising coastal communities
  • creating 1000s of jobs
  • positioning the country as a leader in the field

The trials will enable companies to test the new technologies, with a view to them being developed commercially if proven to be successful, helping the British government to build back greener from the pandemic.

Closing date is: Wednesday 2 June 2021 11:00am

The competition launch comes as the government prepares to publish its transformational Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which sets out how all modes of transport – sea, rail, road and aviation – can make the switch to net zero.

“This is a turning point for the UK’s maritime sector. It’s an opportunity for businesses to develop the technologies of the future, not only protecting our environment but driving economic growth. I urge this country’s best thinkers to put their green ideas forward and help us deliver a better, cleaner maritime sector.” said Maritime Minister Robert Courts.

Into the future

Courts also revealed the government’s plan to launch two government-funded studies for attaining net-zero in the recreational craft sector and offshore wind sectors.

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.

In November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a ten-point plan, involving an investment of nearly $16.52bn (£12bn), for bolstering shipbuilding and maritime technology to advance low carbon travel.


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