Portsmouth Port Lands £19.8m Grant to Spearhead Maritime Decarbonisation

Portsmouth International Port has achieved a major milestone in the decarbonization of the maritime industry by securing a substantial £19.8m grant from the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI). This grant will provide support for a groundbreaking project in partnership with Brittany Ferries, the University of Portsmouth, and several other organizations. The project aims to revolutionize the UK’s maritime sector by reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality in and around the port.

At the heart of this innovative project is the implementation of a ‘shore power’ system across three of the busiest berths at Portsmouth International Port. This system will allow visiting ferry and cruise ships to turn off their engines while in the port and use clean electricity to power their onboard systems. This initiative not only reduces emissions but also positions the port as a living laboratory for green technology.

The electrification of shipping is crucial in achieving the goal of net zero emissions. The ferries operating at Portsmouth International Port will use a combination of cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG) and battery power. By relying on battery power when maneuvering through Portsmouth harbor, these ferries will further decrease their carbon footprint. This pioneering approach sets a precedent for other ports in the UK and beyond, showcasing the feasibility and scalability of sustainable maritime solutions.

Collaboration plays a crucial role in addressing climate change, and the partnership between the University of Portsmouth and the city itself is integral to this project. The university brings academic expertise in data science, smart power grids, innovation, and environmental impact analysis. Together, they aim to develop skills for green shipping and infrastructure, creating a workforce equipped to tackle the challenges of a sustainable future.

The project also focuses on establishing a secure and flexible digital infrastructure. IOTICS, a company specializing in secure data sharing, will create a ‘digital twin ecosystem’ for the project. This digital infrastructure will enable selective data sharing across supply chains, facilitating the transformation of the maritime industry. Additionally, the development of software and a dashboard will ensure smooth operation and generate valuable energy data, allowing for continuous optimization and improvement.

Beyond its environmental benefits, the project will stimulate investment in both the private and public sectors, creating new high-skill opportunities. It aligns with Portsmouth’s ambition to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2030, contributing to the city’s economic growth while safeguarding the environment.

The project, known as the SEA CHANGE project, aims to achieve a significant reduction in carbon emissions, saving over 20,000 tonnes of CO2e per year starting in 2027. To put this into perspective, it is equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of approximately 2,500 UK households or making 11,111 round trips by plane from London to New York. These impressive figures highlight the substantial impact this project will have on combating harmful emissions and improving air quality in Portsmouth.

Furthermore, the project’s influence extends beyond the immediate region. The intention is to export the knowledge and expertise gained through the dashboard to other ports. By sharing best practices and lessons learned, the UK’s maritime sector as a whole can make progress towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

With over £80m allocated to 10 flagship projects supported by 52 organizations across the UK, the funding received by Portsmouth International Port emphasizes the significance of decarbonization efforts in the maritime industry. The project not only enhances the port’s reputation as a pioneer in green technology but also positions the UK as a global leader in clean maritime solutions.

The unity and innovation displayed by the consortium of academics, marine specialists, and technology SMEs involved in the project are commendable. By collaborating, they aim to create a sustainable future for the maritime industry, driven by cutting-edge technology and a shared commitment to reducing environmental impact.

In conclusion, the ambitious project undertaken by Portsmouth International Port, in collaboration with various partners, is poised to revolutionize the UK’s maritime sector. Through the implementation of a ‘shore power’ system, the electrification of ships, and the development of secure digital infrastructure, the project aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and stimulate economic growth. As Portsmouth International Port pioneers green technology, it serves as an exemplary model for other ports looking to achieve decarbonization and embrace a sustainable future.

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