Government must ‘pick winners’ by investing in low-carbon fuels

The Transport Committee has urged the UK government to change its approach towards backing specific technology solutions to decarbonise the UK’s transport sector, or risk failing its targets for cutting emissions.

The Government has set a number of targets to decarbonise different sections of the transport sector over the next 30 years. But the Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom has chosen to take a neutral stance on which technologies it believes industry should focus on developing, in order for those carbon-cutting targets to be achievable.

In its ‘Fuelling the Future’ report, published 2 March, the cross-party Committee makes recommendations on the following modes of transport, whilst also urging the Government to move beyond its “deliberately technology agnostic” mindset, as stated in its 2019 Technology Innovation Strategy.

In July 2019, the Government published its Clean Maritime Plan which committed to achieving zero-emission shipping by 2050. Progress with decarbonising Maritime is likely to be slower than other transport modes due to the wide variety of vessels in use throughout the world’s jurisdictions, meaning it will be challenging to reach an international consensus. And because ships often have a 30-year lifespan, it will take time to phase out vessels with obsolete technology.

The report recommends the Government should support the (IMO) International Maritime Organization work to develop global standards for construction that will enable new ships to utilise alternative fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen.

The UK should also use its influence at the IMO to ensure that, globally, the path forward for investors in alternative maritime fuels becomes more secure.

Ammonia could prove to be another effective alternative as it is zero emission at point of use, requires less storage space than hydrogen, and can be used with existing liquid natural gas infrastructure. Batteries are likely to prove too big, heavy and carbon intensive to produce to make them viable for long-distance freight shipping.

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£15m bid to place Appledore at heart of global Net Zero maritime ambitions

As I have recently met with the council on behalf of National Maritime to explore how the centre could come forward to fit with the wider maritime innovation infrastructure and provide interaction and opportunities for shared growth, it is great to hear that Torridge District Council Councillors have voted to support the bid to create the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre.

The centre, at Middle Dock, a site which neighbours the Harland & Wolff shipyard, will establish North Devon as a global-leading research and development space for collaborative next generation maritime initiatives.

It will feature cutting-edge research and industry partnerships from the University of Plymouth and the Centre for Future Clean Mobility (University of Exeter), as well as offering a range of offices, workshops, a wet lab and aquaculture tanks to provide modern facilities for local and national businesses to innovate and grow.

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World’s first dedicated fatigue test facility for tidal turbine blades

Composite tidal turbine blades can now be stress tested at FastBlade, a new facility opened in Rosyth that will speed up the development of marine energy technologies.

In under three months FastBlade – a partnership between The University of Edinburgh and Babcock International Group International – will simulate the stresses placed on their tidal turbine blades during two decades at sea. To do so, Fastblade’s 75-tonne reaction frame will exert powerful forces on turbine blades over 50 feet long via a system of hydraulic cylinders.

In doing so, it will replicate the complex forces to which tidal turbines are exposed at sea using digital and hydraulic technology systems developed by engineers at Edinburgh University.
The facility, funded by EPSRC and Edinburgh University, has received support from Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, throughout its development.

As well as tidal blades, FastBlade’s technology can also be used to test lightweight bridge sections and aircraft wing components. It is the first facility to open in a recently launched multi-partner innovation centre at Babcock’s Rosyth site.

The Arrol Gibb Innovation Campus (AGIC) will work with companies in the marine, nuclear power and energy-transition sectors to transform large-scale manufacturing through innovation and skills development.

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Catalyst to Establishing Green Corridors

To help deliver on the UK government’s ambition for clean maritime growth as part of the Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom (DfT), flagship Maritime 2050 strategy, the Clean Maritime Plan and the Clydebank Declaration announced in Glasgow at COP26, we have been sharing plans with South – East ports to deliver Blue Space Advanced Port, Energy & Logistics Centres (APELC).

National Maritime APELC will work with marine, energy, and logistics industries from around the globe to create opportunities for research, innovation and production, and to facilitate the development of energy infrastructure from across multiple energy carriers within ports.

Recognised as leading innovative marine, energy, and logistics communities, APELC will provide access to a unique complex of industrial buildings, office suites and docks, and direct deep-water.

Each centre represents a unique opportunity to help deliver transformative benefits at scale across trade, investment and innovation, which could create new jobs and support the UK’s transition to net zero . They will also support ports objectives of improving energy infrastructure and choices to make energy systems more resilient to stabilise operating costs, all whilst meeting regulatory and community needs.

Furthermore, APELC will act as catalysts to help establish green corridors, specific trade routes between major ports hubs to demonstrate and support zero-emission solutions to achieve full decarbonisation of the shipping sector by 2050.

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Building on the Royal Docks formidable strengths to transform the business of workspace for UK maritime industries

National Maritime Blue Space maritime hubs are places where communities and maritime business matter – where listening has helped us to connect with our customers to help build the foundations that has supported sector growth and has taken us all where we want to go.

Since 2015 we have been engaging with the local community, key stakeholders and more recently the preferred shipbuilder, to deliver a world class maritime hub which is interconnected to the construction of the new Albert Island shipyard and the upgraded marina facilities.

The 650,000 sqft new industrial and logistics quarter for East London, will feature our 40,000 sqft maritime hub.

The National Maritime Blue Space maritime hub will be a thriving sustainable commercial, educational and innovation hub which will provide a creative boost to the river environment and drive trade and growth for all.

With many meetings ahead at City Hall and with key stakeholders in the Royal Docks, we think it may be time to buy ourselves a cat and call it ‘Tommy’! We are looking forward to the adventure.

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Innovation & Export Opportunities for UK Maritime SMES – Canada Ocean Technology

National Maritime is supporting the Innovate UK’s Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP), delivered by Innovate UK EDGE. They are looking to recruit up to 15 high-growth innovative UK businesses in the Ocean Technology sector who are looking to expand overseas and collaborate with Canadian partners.

Focus Areas:

This new initiative is particularly aimed at businesses in the areas of:

  • Aquaculture
  • Fisheries
  • Marine Energy
  • Marine Environmental Monitoring
  • Marine Net Zero
  • Marine Observations
  • Marine Robotics
  • Marine Transportation
  • Ocean Plastics

Key Technologies with marine applications including, but not limited to:

  • Alternative Energy
  • Aquaculture Systems
  • Autonomous Vessels
  • Fishery Processes and


  • Ocean Sensors
  • Robotics and Drones
  • Vessel Design and Manufacture

The Innovation Visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, includes participation at Canada’s premier event for the ocean technology sector. The H2O: Home to Overseas Conference and Exhibition will include: the ocean industry showcase, UK pavilion presence, exclusive networking opportunities through pre-arranged B2B meetings with like-minded Canadian and international businesses, formal receptions, and the high-profile international Oceans Gala Dinner. This year’s conference will also include on-water demos at the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE).

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Port of Felixstowe Hutchison Ports UK Wight Shipyard Co & a whole host of Thames River Operators announced as Clean Maritime Demonstration Programme Winners

Building on the vision set out in the Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom Clean maritime plan 2019, the competition has allocated up to £23,259,000 match-funding to UK innovators to support the design and development of zero emission vessel technologies and greener ports through a series of technology trials and feasibility studies.

This one-year ‘springboard programme’ will lay the foundations for a network of real-world projects, gearing up maritime decarbonisation in the UK and sparking the transition to net zero shipping.

Following an independent assessment, 55 projects won the competition. Supported by private consortia comprising 208 partners from around the UK, these projects were announced London International Shipping Week 2021. They represent a total investment of £33.5 million and will be completed by March 2022.

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Scots investment bank backs Nova Innovation

TIDAL energy pioneer Nova Innovation Ltd has secured £6.4 million from The Scottish National Investment Bank to fund manufacturing and distribution of its innovative subsea tidal turbines.

The investment will see Nova increase its presence across the UK and expand into new global markets.

The Edinburgh-based company’s innovative 100kW tidal turbines have been transforming the power of the sea into clean, predictable energy in Shetland since 2016.

By focusing on scalable solutions, Nova has been able to install, adapt and enhance its technology on site, creating a reliable and replicable product for mass production.

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National Maritime unveils exciting plans for Maritime and Sustainable Technology hub in key port town of Newhaven, Sussex

Blue Space at the Marine Workshops is the redevelopment of a stunning heritage site into a Maritime and Sustainable Technology hub in Newhaven and is set to reinvigorate the area’s industry and bring huge opportunities for jobs, training, and investment into the area.

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UK duo to pilot robotic turbine inspection tools

Eleven-I and Innvotek successful in latest GE and ORE Catapult ‘Stay Ashore’ programme call

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