Cutting carbon from maritime operations is a challenge that must be addressed right now; it is not tomorrow’s problem. Our sector has a long-term target to decarbonise by 2050, but it will take committed and sustained efforts to turn operations around, just like the proverbial oil tanker out at sea.
Almost all of the maritime sector is powered by diesel: from tiny forklift trucks to great big cranes operating in ports, through to all manner of vessels. Everything will need to switch over to some form of cleaner propulsion, but re-engineering the naval architecture and civilian infrastructure is a complex task.
Some vehicles and plant will become fully electric or be powered using hydrogen; or switch to more sustainable types of liquid fuel. Other equipment may even continue to consume diesel, but have their emissions captured.
Few major companies will have all of the solutions available in-house, so they will need to turn to their supply chains. Many smaller, specialist companies are developing new technologies to reduce carbon emissions and improve local air quality that will either have been created specifically for maritime applications, or will have proved their worth in other transport nodes.
Several SMEs have been working with Connected Places Catapult to develop and trial new decarbonisation solutions through our Maritime Accelerator programmes. Last year’s cohort included Ecomar Propulsion which builds clean energy motors for boats, Signal Intelligence that uses Internet of Things technology to decarbonise marine operations and ANT Machines which has developed all electric, autonomous tractors for use in ports. We’ve recently announced the companies being supported through this year’s Accelerator and again, supporting the transition to greener, cleaner ports is high on the agenda.