The SEA CHANGE project will design, build and operate a shore power system across the three busiest berths at Portsmouth International Port. This will allow visiting ferry or cruise ships to turn off their engines when in the port, as they will be able to plug-in and use green electricity to run their onboard systems.
SEA CHANGE has the potential to revolutionise the UK’s maritime sector, and further establishes Portsmouth International Port’s reputation as a living laboratory of green technology with industry-leading sustainability credentials. This project realises the full potential of two new LNG-electric hybrid ships from Brittany Ferries, which will begin sailing from Portsmouth starting in spring 2025 and will be shore-power ready.
Providing shore power will reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality around the port. It is estimated that the system will save over 20,000 tonnes of CO2e per annum from 2027. This is the equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of around 2,500 UK households or making 11,111 round trips by plane from London to New York.
This ambitious project reaffirms Portsmouth International Port’s commitment to reduce the impact of operations on neighbouring communities and assist with the wider city’s ambition to reach net carbon neutral by 2030.
Brittany Ferries is introducing two new LNG-electric hybrid ferries from 2025, which run on a combination of cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG) and battery power. With shore power available at the port, they will be able to charge their batteries and run on battery power when manoeuvring through Portsmouth harbour, improving air quality and supporting the industry-wide shift to zero-emission shipping.
A consortium of academics, marine specialists and technology SMEs have been brought together alongside Portsmouth International Port and Brittany Ferries to deliver the project.
The University of Portsmouth brings academic expertise in data science, smart power grids, innovation, and environmental impact analysis. They will also align skills development to meet regional need. MSE International will use their experience to stimulate investment across private and public sectors and develop commercialisation strategies for the project.
B4T will produce new smart sensors for the project, IOTICS will create a ‘digital twin ecosystem’ which will allow all the project partners to select and share data securely, and Swanbarton will supply the smart control software for energy storage. All these new technologies will support SEA CHANGE and compliment the shore power system, making this an attractive and scalable solution which can be used by ports in the UK and abroad.
SEA CHANGE has great potential, and project partners plan to share learnings and collaborate with ferry ports across the UK to encourage further emissions reduction. This will help the industry reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by or around 2050, a target declared by the International Maritime Organisation.
Alongside this, the project will help develop the necessary skills for green shipping and infrastructure, design, manufacturing and maintenance capability.
Working alongside the Solent’s industry clusters, it will support education initiatives and help grow skills across the Solent, safeguard existing jobs through upskilling and create new high-skill opportunities, driving growth and investment across the region.
Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries said:
“This is fantastic news as it fully unlocks the potential of our two new hybrid vessels. Shore-side power in Portsmouth means we can be good neighbours to those who live and work around the city as soon as these vessels arrive in 2025. We are delighted that our forward-thinking partners have pushed so hard to make this happen and are proud to contribute to wider emission-reduction goals.”
SEA CHANGE is part of the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI), which was announced in February 2023, funded by UK Government and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. As part of ZEVI, the Department for Transport allocated over GBP 80m to 10 flagship projects supported by 52 organisations from across the UK to deliver real world demonstration R&D projects in clean maritime solutions. Projects will take place in multiple locations from the Orkney Isles to the south-west of England.
ZEVI is part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emission’s (UK SHORE), focused on clean maritime technologies that can be scaled rapidly to decarbonise the UK’s domestic maritime sector. In March 2022, the Department announced the biggest government investment ever in our UK commercial maritime sector, allocating GBP 206m to UK SHORE, a new division within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector. UK SHORE is delivering a suite of interventions throughout 2022-2025 aimed at accelerating the design, manufacture and operation of UK-made clean maritime technologies and unlocking an industry-led transition to Net Zero.
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