The Port of Tyne, working with Connected Places Catapult and partners Arup, Lloyds Register, EDF R&D UK, Newcastle University and the North East LEP, has published the results of a feasibility study looking at the decarbonisation of the maritime industry through the creation of green shipping corridors, and the adoption of scalable zero-emission energy sources.
The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor Project – funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 2 (CMDC2) – sets out the opportunities and economic and environmental benefits of creating a new, green shipping corridor from North-East England that links the region with the European Green Corridors Network
The study also explores the current use of alternative fuels in the shipping industry, and some of the challenges the sector faces in transitioning from conventional fuels to net zero carbon fuels like methanol, hydrogen, and ammonia.
It is hoped the study, and the accompanying roadmap, will create opportunities for UK ports – including the Port of Tyne – to lead shipping’s transition to net zero, which currently accounts for approximately 3% of annual CO2 emissions globally.
Dr Eleni Bougioukou, Innovation Manager at the Port of Tyne, said: “Through The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor Project we have been investigating what technology, infrastructure investment, and interventions are needed to create a green shipping corridor from the Port of Tyne to Rotterdam using renewable methanol.
“One of the biggest challenges we have found is the current cost differential between conventional and zero emissions fuels. The cost of alternative fuels in the maritime sector is prohibiting the pace of decarbonisation. There is also a need for greater investment in research, innovation, and digital adoption to help improve technologies that increase productivity throughout green corridors, ensuring they generate a positive return on investment.
“Despite some of the challenges, green corridors provide a huge opportunity to transform the current model of shipping by investing in staff, skills, and infrastructure. Working collaboratively to develop and share facilities, aggregate demand for future fuels, and align funding strategies, we can position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology.”
The study explores the technical, strategic, and commercial barriers and enablers to creating a green shipping corridor in North-East England. It goes on to look at the economic and regulatory feasibility of the project, and the opportunities to attract inward investment.
Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said: “The UK maritime sector is a world leader in green shipping practices, but we must decarbonise if we are to reach net zero by 2050 and the Port of Tyne is leading the way.
“These green corridors will have countless benefits to the economy – creating highly skilled jobs and supporting the levelling up of crucial coastal communities – while showing how the industry can take the lead in our green transition, thanks to government funding.”
The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor Roadmap outlines a series of milestones and activities that the Port of Tyne, its customers, and the green methanol supply chain, will need to deliver to establish the Port as a green methanol bunkering hub.
Compiled through stakeholder engagement, literature review, and analysis of port and vessel-calling data, The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor Project provides the roadmap to create more green shipping corridors in ports across the UK and encourage the early adoption of alternatives to petroleum-based fuels in the maritime industry.
Mark Wray, Ecosystem Director for Maritime and Ports at Connected Places Catapult, said: “The amount of CO2 emissions from shipping is expected to double by 2050 if the sector does not take steps to reduce emissions. The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor Project has been successful in demonstrating the viability of decarbonisation in the maritime industry, and highlighting the huge opportunity provided by the growing demand for alternative fuels.
“The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor Roadmap sets out the short, medium, and long-term actions that will address methanol production and supply; the decarbonisation of vessels; and the expansion of Port and bunkering infrastructure to successfully deliver a Tyne-Rotterdam green shipping corridor.
“This roadmap can be expanded to other ports across the UK, helping lead the decarbonisation of the UK maritime industry, and support the delivery of the UK’s net zero targets.
“We hope this will be a catalyst for future collaboration between our two great sea faring nations on establishing green shipping corridors across the North Sea and English Channel.”
James Lovett, Innovation Lead – Future Maritime Technologies at Innovate UK, said: “The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor project is a great example of the maritime industry coming together to research the green shipping corridor concept. Through this Department for Transport funded project, the Port of Tyne and project partners have demonstrated they’re putting action behind the UK’s commitments at COP26 and COP27 around the Clydebank Declaration.
“We’re excited to see the project has created a series of follow-on activities that the Northeast can follow. The Port of Tyne and partners are one step closer towards bringing the green corridors concept to reality.”
Dr Kayvan Pazouki, Senior Lecturer and Associate Dean of Education (PGT), Marine, Offshore and Subsea Technology, School of Engineering at Newcastle University, said: “Collaboration across the whole supply chain and the development of key infrastructures and processes have stood out as the key elements for the successful establishment and operation of a Green Shipping Corridor and wider scaled up green shipping activities in the northeast of the UK and we look forward to working with the Port and its partners to work towards our net zero ambitions.”
The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor project was awarded over £390k of UK Government funding from Round 2 of Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC2). It aims to establish at least one of the six green corridors pledged in the Clydebank Declaration at COP26 by 2025.
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