The UK Government will spend £77m on clean maritime technology to help introduce zero-emission ferries as well as cruise and cargo ships into the country’s waters by 2025.

The investment challenges companies to launch a zero-emission vessel within two years.

Under the Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition, firms can apply for funding to support both on-board and shoreside decarbonisation projects.

The funding will support the development of decarbonisation technologies, including battery electric vessels, wind-assisted ferries, shoreside electrical power, and ships powered by low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia.

Successful projects must demonstrate that they could use the funds to work alongside key British ports and operators to introduce a zero-emission vessel by 2025.

The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, will oversee the competition.

Innovate UK executive director for Net Zero Mike Biddle said: “This latest £77 million investment in clean maritime innovation is another major milestone in the delivery of the wider UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme to accelerate the transition to net zero.”

The latest move is expected to create thousands of jobs in the UK.

Furthermore, the government is calling on universities across the nations to collaborate on the launch of a new Clean Maritime Research Hub.

This will be supported by £7.4m from the government as well as funding from academia and industry.

The hub will be launched in alliance with and co-financed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which forms part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Both the ZEVI fund and the new hub are part of the UK SHORE programme, which aims to enable a sustainable shipping future for the UK.  

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “This multi-million-pound investment will help the latest tech ideas become reality and ensure UK waters will play host to green cargo ships, ferries and cruises in the next few years.

“Our funding will support a cleaner freight system, a more environmentally friendly tourism industry and a net-zero maritime sector.”

Meanwhile, the Governments of the UK and Scotland recently unveiled plans for the construction of two green freeports in Inverness and Cromarty Firth as well as Firth of Forth.