Posted on Nov 02, 2023 at 10:11 PM
In a landmark decision, the Portsmouth International Port has been awarded a substantial £19.8 million grant from the UK Government's Zero Emission Vessel Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition. This significant financial boost will spearhead the port's ambitious decarbonisation project, with a consortium of partners lending their expertise to the cause.
The SEA CHANGE project is set to revolutionise operations at Portsmouth's three busiest berths. Ferries and cruise ships will soon switch to green electricity, drastically reducing their environmental impact while stationed at the port. This initiative marks a significant advancement in the UK's maritime sector's quest for sustainability.
The introduction of two LNG-electric hybrid ships from Brittany Ferries is a testament to the innovative strides made. These vessels, slated for shore power compatibility by 2025, are at the forefront of green technology in maritime transport.
By 2027, the project expects to reduce CO2e emissions by over 20,000 tonnes annually—the equivalent of the carbon footprint of some 2,500 UK homes. This reduction not only contributes to the country's carbon neutrality goals but also promises enhanced air quality in the surrounding areas.
The project brings together a dynamic team comprising Portsmouth International Port, Brittany Ferries, and an impressive array of academics, marine experts, and cutting-edge technology SMEs across the UK. This collaboration underscores the collective drive towards a greener maritime industry.
The University of Portsmouth provides critical academic leadership, focusing on environmental impact analysis, intelligent power grids, and data science. Meanwhile, MSE International is set to pave the way for future investment opportunities and commercialisation strategies.
Baroness Vere, the maritime minister, has lauded this initiative, aligning it perfectly with the government's dual goals of economic growth and job creation. On a local level, council member Gerald Vernon-Jackson has highlighted the project's alignment with Portsmouth's urgent air quality improvement goals.
This project is more than an environmental endeavour; it catalyses economic growth. The anticipated introduction of high-skilled jobs and the influx of investment into Portsmouth have been warmly received by the local community and its leaders.
Brittany Ferries' CEO, Christophe Mathieu, has praised the technology's potential and acknowledged the council as a visionary partner. This momentum is further evidenced by the recent installation of 2,660 solar panels at the port, which now satisfies a third of its electricity demands.
The University of Portsmouth's involvement, particularly in developing the necessary sensors and software for system control, highlights the synergy between technological innovation and academic insight. Associate Professor David Hutchinson has expressed pride in the university's role, emphasising the combined effort to combat climate change.
SEA CHANGE is a real-world demonstration of ten clean maritime solutions. It's part of a broader £80 million UK Government initiative to foster zero-emission marine technology, solidifying the UK's commitment to a Net Zero future. The announcement of this "game-changing" grant is a monumental step for Portsmouth International Port and its climate ambitions.