23 Feb 2023

UK Government Backs £5.4M Autonomous Liquid Hydrogen Vessel and Infrastructure Project

23 Feb 2023  by h2-view   

A consortium working to build and showcase the ‘world’s first’ liquid hydrogen autonomous vessel and bunkering infrastructure has won a £3.8m ($4.59m) grant from the UK Government.

The £5.4m ($6.5m) project from the Hydrogen Innovation – Future Innovation & Vessel Evaluation and Demonstration (HI-FIVED) consortium headed up by ACUA Ocean and Unitrove, aims to build and showcase an autonomous vessel and bunkering infrastructure technologies for liquid hydrogen to contribute to the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

Expected to be delivered in the autumn of 2024, Unitrove will deploy its mobile fuelling technology at the Port of Aberdeen in support of ACUA’s bid to build and operate the ‘world’s first’ maritime autonomous surface ship powered by liquid hydrogen.

It is hoped the project will establish a domestic green shipping corridor between Aberdeen, Scotland and the Orkney and Shetland islands, with hydrogen-powered autonomous ships being used to transport cargo.

The HI-FIVED consortium also includes the Port of Aberdeen, the University of Southampton, Zero Emissions Maritime Technology, Composite Manufacturing and Design, Trident Marine Electrical, and NASH Maritime.

Funded through the UK Department of Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3) in partnership with Innovate UK, the HI-FIVED project is hoped to aid the decarbonisation of UK shipping.

“Delivering successful technology demonstrations is critical to de-risking future investment in maritime decarbonisation,” said Michael Tinmouth, Chief Operating Officer at ACUA Ocean. “This CMDC3 project brings together a consortium of innovative partners, subcontractors, and supplies from across the maritime sector, who are all laser-focused on the need to reduce emissions and accelerate the adoption and commercialisation of new technologies.”

Steve Lua, CEO of Unitrove, commented, “We are absolutely thrilled to receive UK Government support to enable real-world demonstration of the world’s first liquid hydrogen autonomous vessel and infrastructure.”

In 2021, Unitrove announced it would deliver the ‘world’s first’ liquid hydrogen bunkering facility for fuelling zero-emission vessels.

Marlene Mitchell Commercial Manager at Port of Aberdeen, added, “This project offers a unique opportunity for our newly operational South Harbour to act as a practical and at-scale living lab for Net Zero in the port and maritime sector and will directly address the theme of zero-emission infrastructure and will also consider feasibility to develop shoreside renewable energy generation at our port to supply vessels in alignment with DfT’s 2019 Clean Maritime Plan.”

Backing the consortium’s plans, Mark Harper, UK Secretary of State for Transport, 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.

“With growing the economy one of the government’s top priorities, we must continue our efforts to ensure the UK remains a pioneer in cutting-edge clean maritime solutions. This funding will help to do just that, bringing emission-free concepts to life and fuelling innovation.”


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