The UK Government has allocated £3.8m to an ACUA Ocean-led consortium in alliance with Unitrove for a liquid hydrogen autonomous vessel and infrastructure project.

The ‘Hydrogen Innovation – Future Infrastructure & Vessel Evaluation and Demonstration (HI-FIVED)’ consortium will use this financing to develop autonomous vessel and bunkering infrastructure technologies for liquid hydrogen.

Consortium members include the Port of Aberdeen, the University of Southampton, Zero Emissions Maritime Technology, Composite Manufacturing and Design, Trident Marine Electrical, and NASH Maritime.

Expected to be delivered in autumn next year, the £5.4m project will help set up a domestic green shipping corridor between Aberdeen and the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Hydrogen-driven autonomous ships will be used to move cargo across the corridor.

Under the project, Unitrove will implement its mobile fuelling technology at the Port of Aberdeen. It will support ACUA Ocean’s effort to construct and run the world’s first maritime autonomous surface ship driven by liquid hydrogen.

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This project comes under the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3), which was launched last September. It is sponsored by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

Under CMDC3, the department granted £60m to 19 projects supported by 92 UK organisations for the delivery of real-world demonstration R&D projects in clean maritime solutions.

Unitrove CEO Steven Lua said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive UK Government support to enable real-world demonstration of the world’s first liquid hydrogen autonomous vessel and infrastructure.

“Having built such a strong consortium of eight fantastic partners across the supply chain, we can have great confidence that we will deliver something truly remarkable.”