Power project

Hydrogen ship key to cutting maritime emissions

Prince Madog is trialling the hydrogen technology

A Scottish hydrogen power company is involved in a project that could help to substantially reduce carbon emissions from ships.

About 90% of all consumables are moved by sea and the shipping industry globally is responsible for 940 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of at least 2.5% of the world’s total CO2 emissions.

The International Maritime Organisation has set a target to cut these emissions by 50% by 2050 and the UK government is the first in the world to include emissions from international shipping in its domestic carbon budget.

The Prince Madog, a university research vessel, will be retrofitted with a hydrogen electric hybrid propulsion system that will enable zero to low emission operation by 2025.

The Transship II project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3), funded by the Department for Transport in partnership with Innovate UK.

It will be delivered by a consortium of major UK innovators in green maritime technology and hydrogen systems, led by O.S Energy which owns and operates a fleet of dedicated offshore service vessels.

Other consortium partners include H2Tec, part of Edinburgh-based hydrogen technologies firm Logan Energy, as well as Solis Marine Engineering, Newcastle Marine Services, Chartwell Marine, Cedar Marine, Stone Marine Propulsions and the universities of Exeter and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. 

Keigh Taylor, managing director of H2Tec, said: “This is a very exciting project for H2Tec and our partners. We believe hydrogen power is a great solution for the maritime industry which needs to drastically reduce its CO2 emissions.

“The project is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate innovative new refuelling technology and provide a vision for the future of shipping.”

The Prince Madog, based at Bangor University in Wales, recently celebrated 20 years of service to education and science. The research vessel has changed understanding of marine and coastal sciences and is one of the largest such ships in Europe.

The new hydrogen propulsion system, which will work in conjunction with a diesel-fuelled main engine, will enable zero emission operation at slow speeds or over short distances. In normal operation, the hybrid system and new novel propulsion design will reduce emissions by up to 60%.

UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Our maritime sector imports 95% of goods into the UK and contributes £116 billion to our economy – more than both aviation and rail combined.”

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