Plymouth is set to become the first city in the UK to install a network of shore-side charging facilities for its expanding fleet of electric maritime vessels.
Over the past year, the city has become home to the UK’s first marine electric passenger ferry and an electric water taxi that will operate 364 days a year.
However, access to infrastructure is currently a barrier to ensuring further growth in this emerging sector can happen in a coordinated and sustainable way.
With that in mind, a consortium of city partners is joining forces to create Plymouth’s Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL), which will provide the pivotal infrastructure required to accelerate innovation and growth.
The project has received more than £570,000 funding as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.
It will develop a network of charging facilities around Plymouth Sound, offering multiple, flexible sites and responding to the Maritime 2050 route map for maritime net zero.
The project is being led by the University of Plymouth in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Princess Yachts Limited and Aqua SuperPower.
Between now and March 2022, it will identify suitable locations for charging facilities that can be easily linked to the National Grid while meeting both consumer and commercial demand. It will also develop and deploy an array of sensor technologies that can assess the environmental and operational impacts of e-charging.
The scheme furthers Plymouth’s reputation as a centre of excellence in clean maritime innovation, and will be designed to complement existing and emerging initiatives including Oceansgate, Smart Sound Plymouth, the Plymouth Freeport and the UK’s first National Marine Park.
The winners of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition were announced in Greenwich, the heart of British maritime, on the state-of-the-art Royal Navy ship HMS Albion.
Transport Secretary outlined how this is the latest in a string of government initiatives aimed at cutting emissions in the sector as part of London International Shipping Week - including joining other nations in supporting a world-leading absolute zero target for international shipping emissions by 2050.
Clean maritime research and innovation
The University of Plymouth is among the UK’s leading proponents of clean maritime research and innovation.
It is conducting research in fields as varied as maritime cyber and marine autonomy, advanced engineering and the arts, biological and environmental science and Big Data.
Through engagement with business and the wider scientific community, it is pioneering new ways of transforming this research into practical solutions to challenges being faced across the marine and maritime sectors.
It is also harnessing the capability of new and existing technology within this sphere, including looking into the development and application of autonomous marine systems to advance our understanding of the ocean.