A consortium led by zero-emission vessel provider ACUA Ocean, in partnership with zero-emission infrastructure provider Unitrove, has won a multi-million-pound UK government grant in a major push to decarbonise the maritime sector.
The ‘Hydrogen Innovation – Future Infrastructure & Vessel Evaluation and Demonstration (HI-FIVED)’ consortium will receive over £3.8m of funding to build and showcase its innovative autonomous vessel and bunkering infrastructure technologies for liquid hydrogen.
The £5.4m project is expected to be delivered in autumn of 2024 and aims to establish a domestic green shipping corridor between Aberdeen and the Orkney and Shetland Islands, with hydrogen-powered autonomous ships being used to transport cargo.
Unitrove, creator of the world’s first liquid hydrogen bunkering facility, will look to deploy its mobile fuelling technology at the Port of Aberdeen in support of ACUA Ocean’s bid to build and operate the world’s first maritime autonomous surface ship powered by liquid hydrogen.
The project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3), funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.
The CMDC3 is part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions’ (UK SHORE) flagship multi-year CMDC programme. In March 2022, the Department announced the biggest government investment ever in our UK commercial maritime sector, allocating £206m to UK SHORE, a new division within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector. UK SHORE is delivering a suite of interventions throughout 2022–2025 aimed at accelerating the design, manufacture and operation of UK-made clean maritime technologies and unlocking an industry-led transition to Net Zero.
“Delivering successful technology demonstrations is critical to de-risking future investment in maritime decarbonisation,” said Michael Tinmouth, COO of ACUA Ocean. “This CMDC3 project brings together a consortium of innovative partners, subcontractors, and suppliers from across the maritime sector, who are all laser-focused on the need to reduce emissions and accelerate the adoption and commercialisation of new technologies.”
Steven Lua, CEO of Unitrove, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive UK government support to enable real-world demonstration of the world’s first liquid hydrogen autonomous vessel and infrastructure. Having built such a strong consortium of eight fantastic partners across the supply-chain, we can have great confidence that we will deliver something truly remarkable.”
“Our maritime sector imports 95% of goods into the UK and contributes £116 billion to our economy – more than both aviation and rail combined,” said Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport of the United Kingdom. “With growing the economy one of the government’s top priorities, we must continue our efforts to ensure the UK remains a pioneer in cutting-edge clean maritime solutions. This funding will help to do just that, bringing emission-free concepts to life and fuelling innovation.”
ACUA Ocean and Unitrove have previously been successful in bidding for money from CMDC2 to explore the development of an innovative Zero-Emission Multi-Fuel Station (ZEMFS) that would power hydrogen and electric ships.