The taxpayer has given support to developers competing to create the first robot ship powered by liquid hydrogen as part of the effort to reduce carbon emissions.
A £3.8 million government grant has been given to Acua Ocean, Unitrove, and consortium partners to create an unmanned ship and hydrogen fueling station.
The boat will transport 4-5 tonne cargo from Aberdeen to Orkney and the Shetland Islands once the £5.4 million project is completed in the fall of 2024.
One alternative being considered to replace diesel as a ship fuel is hydrogen because it emits no carbon dioxide when burned.
3 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions come from the shipping. Liquid hydrogen fuel cells will power the boat that is currently being built.
The UK’s Department for Transport has given £60 million to 19 projects that aim to reduce shipping-related emissions.
Steven Lua, the CEO of Unitrove, a company that creates sustainable fuels, expressed his confidence in the consortium’s ability to “produce something absolutely spectacular.”
The company is “laser-focused on the need to cut emissions,” according to Michael Tinmouth, chief operating officer of Acua Ocean, which creates robotic vessels used to monitor wind farms and ports.
The investment will aid in “bringing emission-free concepts to life and fueling innovation,” according to Transport Minister Mark Harper.
Ships are regarded as being particularly challenging to decarbonize due to their weight and the vast distances they must sail.
Only a limited quantity of hydrogen is now produced in the UK, primarily from natural gas, leaving enormous amounts of carbon dioxide in its wake.
It can be produced more sustainably by absorbing carbon dioxide emissions or by extracting it from water instead of gas with the use of green power.