Clean maritime: reducing the environmental impact of ports

Busy UK shipping port

Credit: GE Power Conversion

Port-based project explores how the latest digital ‘smart’ technology can help reduce both operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

A busy UK port with aspirations to become carbon neutral by 2027 has taken an important step towards achieving its aims by taking part in a new research project.

Clean Maritime Demonstration competition (CMDC)

The Vertically Integrated Cloud-based Ports project is part of the CMDC, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

The CMDC was announced in March 2021.

It is part of the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology.

The competition is a £23 million investment from government alongside a further £10 million from industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector.

55 projects across the UK

The programme is supporting 55 projects across the UK, including projects in:

  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • the south-west to the north-east of England.

As set out in the Clean Maritime Plan (2019), government funding has been used to support early-stage research relating to clean maritime.

The programme will be used to support the research, design and development of zero emission technology and infrastructure solutions for maritime and to accelerate decarbonisation in the sector.

Using digital technology to reduce emissions

This project, based at Teesport, North Yorkshire, is exploring how ports can harness the latest digital technology to reduce emissions.

Around 95% of all UK international trade is transported via ports and, globally, the shipping industry produces a significant proportion of greenhouse gases including:

  • up to 15% of nitrous oxide
  • nearly 4% of carbon dioxide
  • up to 6% of sulfur oxides.

Emission levels are especially important at ports. Nearby cities are often densely populated, with the potential for air pollution and noise to have a negative impact on the health of residents.

Collaborative research

The collaborative research project is being led by GE Power Conversion, partnering with:

The study will show how ports can be fully electrified by combining smart microgrid technology with energy management through a higher-level cloud-based industrial microgrid.

This will reduce the impact of energy consumption of ports and the shipping sector on the environment, with the added benefit of reducing operating costs.

GE Power Conversion’s Managing Director in the UK, Andy Cooper, said:

As an electrification, energy and digital specialist we are investing in ‘clean ship’ and ‘clean port’ technology development that can enhance customers’ operations and reduce environmental impact so it’s really valuable to be able to work with partners on real energy management scenarios.

Watch our video to find out more about how GE Power Conversion and its partners are exploring how the latest digital ‘smart’ technology can help reduce both operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Last updated: 18 November 2021

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