NI green maritime consortium secures UK Government funding
A BUSINESS and academic collaboration in the north has been awarded just under £400,000 by the UK Government to investigate ways to decarbonise maritime transport.
The Northern Ireland Green Seas consortium includes Power NI, Belfast Harbour, Artemis Technologies, NIE Networks, Ulster University, Queen's University and global engineering firm, Mott MacDonald.
The group is among the winners of a £20 million ‘clean maritime' fund awarded by the UK's Department of Transport.
It follows a £33m grant awarded to the Belfast Maritime Consortium last year to help develop high-speed electric passenger ferries.
The NI Green Seas consortium's research will look at the needs of various maritime locations, from Belfast Harbour to smaller leisure ports like Bangor Marina and a remote island such as Rathlin.
It will assess low carbon solutions such as battery energy storage to support the charging of electrified vessels and freight handling; as well as green hydrogen production and bunkering; shore-side electrical grid infrastructure for freight handling; and renewable energy supply.
Welcoming the announcement, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon described the work as another key step in Belfast becoming a global lead in zero-emission maritime technology.
“This feasibility study will harness the expertise and investment of local business, academia and government, and will lay the foundation for future infrastructure projects and support economic growth locally, providing global solutions for sustainable maritime transport and clean port infrastructure," she said.
William Steele from Power NI, the lead partner for the project, said the consortium's work will serve as the blueprint for the future of sustainable, green shipping.
Co-founder of Artemis Technologies, David Tyler, who also heads the wider Belfast Maritime Consortium, said NI Green Seas' work will prove “invaluable” in gaining a clear understanding of the infrastructure and energy requirements that will help make green martimime transport systems a reality.
“By harnessing digital twin technology, we'll map out detailed real-life scenarios across a range of different maritime environments,” he said.
Ian Lang from Belfast Harbour said steps are already under way to digitise, decarbonise and decentralise energy usage at the key port.
“As a socially responsible trust port, we are embedding sustainability into every part of our business, to further reduce pollution, and to protect and enhance our natural environment.”