Sep 11, 2023 | Marine environment & clean shipping news

Portsmouth International Port has been awarded £19.8m from the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI), funded by UK Government and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

The grant will allow the port to embark on a groundbreaking decarbonisation project with Brittany Ferries, alongside the University of Portsmouth, MSE International, B4T, Iotics and Swanbarton. The project, known as Sea Change, will design, build and operate a shore power system across the three busiest berths at Portsmouth International Port. This will allow visiting ferry or cruise ships to turn off engines when in port, as they will be able to ‘plug-in’ and use green electricity to run onboard systems.

Sea Change is considered to establish Portsmouth International Port’s reputation as a living laboratory of green technology with industry-leading sustainability credentials. This project realises the full potential of Brittany Ferries’ two new LNG-electric hybrid ships, which will begin sailing from Portsmouth in spring 2025 and will be shore-power ready.

Providing shore power will reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality around the port. It is estimated that the system will save over 20,000 tonnes of CO2e per annum from 2027. The project will assist with the wider city pf Portsmouth’s ambition to reach net carbon neutral by 2030.

Brittany Ferries’ two new LNG-electric hybrid ferries will run on a combination of LNG and battery power. With shore power available at the port, they will be able to charge batteries and run on battery power when manoeuvring through Portsmouth harbour, improving air quality and supporting the industry-wide shift to zero-emission shipping.

A consortium of academics, marine specialists and some of the UK’s most exciting technology SMEs have been brought together alongside Portsmouth International Port and Brittany Ferries to deliver the project. The University of Portsmouth brings academic expertise in data science, smart power grids, innovation, and environmental impact analysis. MSE International will stimulate investment across private and public sectors and develop commercialisation strategies for the project. B4T will produce new smart sensors for the project, Iotics will create a ‘digital twin ecosystem’ which will allow the project partners to select and share data securely, and Swanbarton will supply the smart control software for energy storage. All these new technologies will support Sea Change and complement the shore power system, making this an attractive and scalable solution which can be used by ports in the UK and abroad.

The Sea Change project partners plan to share learnings and collaborate with ferry ports across the UK to encourage further emissions reduction. This will help the industry reach the IMO net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by or around 2050 target. Alongside this, the project will help develop skills for green shipping and infrastructure, design, manufacturing and maintenance capability.

UK Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said: “The maritime sector’s drive towards a cleaner future goes hand in hand with the Government’s plan to grow the economy and create new, well-paid jobs all over the UK. As a seafaring nation, it is in our national character to push nautical limits, and this funding will help to ensure the UK maintains its position at the leading edge of maritime innovation.”

Stephen Watkyns, Technical Director, Portsmouth International Port said: “Once delivered, this revolutionary multi-user, multi-berth shore power facility will be a UK first. It means we’ll be able to provide shore power for ships on three of our berths, including providing power for the hybrid Brittany Ferries ships coming in 2025.”

Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries said: “This is fantastic news as it fully unlocks the potential of our two new hybrid vessels. Shore-side power in Portsmouth means we can be good neighbours to those who live and work around the city as soon as these vessels arrive in 2025. We are delighted that our forward-thinking partners have pushed so hard to make this happen and are proud to contribute to wider emission-reduction goals.”

Sea Change is part of the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI), which in turn is part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK Shore), focused on clean maritime technologies that can be scaled rapidly to decarbonise the UK’s domestic maritime sector.

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