Winners of £33m UK marine decarbonisation fund revealed

Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition British Marine

The winners of the latest round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) funding to develop green technologies for ports and ships in the UK have been announced.

Among the 33 winners of the £33m CMDC4 fund were WSW Marine; Boat Electrics & Electronics; Aqua SuperPower; H.Taylor & Sons; Optima Projects; Edwards & Renouf; GAC Services (UK); GT Green Technologies; Ecomar Propulsion; Archipelago Yachts and Solent University.

The CMDC4 project is funded by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by Innovate UK. CMDC4 is part of the Department’s UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme, a £206m initiative focused on developing the technology necessary to decarbonise the UK domestic maritime sector.

“Aqua superPower is delighted to be awarded CMDC 4 funding for two more projects, building on our success in 2023,” says Alex Bamberg, CEO of Aqua superPower.

Last year, Aqua superPower gained just under £7m in grant funding through Innovate UK and the Department for Transport for eight marine electrification projects.

“The support of this new funding enables us to further accelerate the decarbonisation of the marine sector, developing our innovative and critical marine fast-charging infrastructure,” says Bamberg.

Cowes Harbour Commission and Aqua superPower have launched three new rapid chargers for electric boats in Cowes, Isle of Wight.
Cowes Harbour Commission and Aqua superPower launched three new rapid chargers for electric boats in Cowes, Isle of Wight, in 2023.

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, adds: “We are immensely proud of our members who are leading on the development of e-charging technologies and electric vessels and congratulate them on being amongst the beneficiaries of the government’s latest CMDC investment for green maritime technologies.

“This additional £33m will help accelerate the industry’s journey towards net-zero and support business growth, bringing new and exciting employment opportunities to local communities.”

Byron Davies, the UK’s new minister for maritime at the Department for Transport, paid a visit to British Marine’s head office on Thursday (25 January 2024), where he met a mix of businesses from across the marine industry and heard about the progress the industry is making to reduce carbon emissions as well as some of the challenges being encountered.

“Our focus is helping put in place the critical foundations needed for the industry to efficiently and successfully transition to net zero,” explained British Marine’s decarbonisation strategy lead, Ross Wombwell, during the event. “We are supporting the standardisation of new technologies and to quicken the uptake and roll-out of ISO standards, we will continue to work with government, advocating evidence-based solutions and, in representing our members, seek a fair transition for the UK’s marine industry aided by supportive fiscal and regulatory frameworks.”

Members also took the opportunity to put forward ideas on the type of government interventions that would help hasten the sector’s progress in decarbonising in the short to medium term, such as fiscal adjustments to make it easier for craft to switch to using clean ‘drop in fuels’.

Reflecting on data from ICOMIA’s recent landmark decarbonisation research report, members emphasised the need to improve the availability and affordability of alternative sustainable fuels, like second-generation HVO fuel. Other issues raised included the need to reform current regulations so more marinas are encouraged to install e-charging infrastructure and the need to further increase R&D funding to up-scale and improve the production of sustainable technologies.

“Unlocking a sustainable maritime sector and the economic growth it provides relies on cutting-edge technology to propel it to the next level,” said Davies, who is a member of the House of Lords, after his visit. “The voyage to sustainability demands bold investments to not just deliver greener shipping but highly skilled jobs across the UK.

“Today, we witnessed a firsthand glimpse into the transformative solutions that can help shape the future landscape of the maritime industry and support jobs in coastal communities.”

Following the meeting, Robert Parton, owner of Aqueduct Marina, added: “This presented an invaluable chance for Aqueduct Marina to be a representative for the inland waterways on this critical matter. The decarbonisation agenda is a challenge that poses both a significant threat but also significant opportunities for the UK marine trade.”

Jon Partridge, CEO of RS Marine Group, comments: “The meeting was a really timely opportunity to brief the maritime minister who has been in post for less than three months. It gave him an insight into the latest initiatives being progressed across our sector, as well as some of the challenges it faces. By working hand in hand with the government, our industry will be well placed to become a global leader in the arena of electric boating and other clean technologies.”

Charles Hansard, director of Westford Services Ltd, the UK Distributor for Micfil, added: “I was very grateful to have this chance to talk to the minister and emphasise the importance of discovering and deploying solutions on our transition to net zero that will protect the end user, the recreational boater, from prohibitive costs that will otherwise deter them from being able to make that clean green choice and continue their boating activities.”

Archipelago Yachts, in partnership with Chartwell Marine, Boat Electrics and Electronics (BEE) and Engineered Marine Systems (EMS), has been awarded funding that will enable the progression of a methanol-powered low-carbon emission leisure vessel.

Dr Stephen Weatherley, founder of Archipelago adds: “We are thrilled to be awarded this funding, which is going to make a huge impact for the future of the maritime industry in terms of sustainability.

“The funding will be used to create a methanol demonstrator vessel, powered by clean bio-methanol, creating a low carbon emission leisure vessel. Since founding Archipelago, clean maritime solutions have always been a huge focus for the company and this grant is allowing us to honour that, which is amazing.”

Photo courtesy of British Marine.

Spotlight Job

Project manager (marine civils/construction engineer)

DOE, Hamble (near Southampton)

A confident, friendly, suitably experienced project engineer is needed join a growing team. You must have a minimum of 3-5 years post graduate, practical site experience in construction, ideally from a civil engineering background.

Full job description »

Comments are closed.