UK Invests $43M in Next Round of Maritime Innovation Funding

Courtesy MJR

Published Jul 9, 2023 7:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

The UK government has pledged a further $43 million for the fourth round of clean maritime demonstration competition (CMDC4). Since 2021, the UK’s Department of Transport (DfT) has been sponsoring a series of maritime innovation competitions intended to bolster the country’s shipping decarbonization plan.

The CMDC is funded by the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) and delivered by Innovate UK, the country’s innovation agency. UK SHORE is a program under DfT focused on accelerating and removing barriers to maritime decarbonization.

With the fourth round of funding, this brings the total invested through the CMDC to $165 million. The competition looks to foster continued development of novel and sustainable technologies that will make shipping greener.

"Instilling confidence in the UK shipping industry to invest in new technologies and fuels is central to reaching net zero. This funding, with a focus on real world demonstrations, will help to do that and unlock investment from across the shipping community to deliver the technologies that will reduce emissions while ensuring shipping remains at the heart of the UK’s economy," said UK Chamber of Shipping Chief Executive Sarah Treseder. 

Applications for CMDC4 open on 2 August until 27 September. Prospective bids will be assessed against a range of criteria to see how likely they will deliver on real world demonstrations of clean maritime technology. This include everything from creating alternative fuel sources for freight ships to pushing the limits of battery-powered vessels.

“Pushing the boundaries of possibility is integral to the UK’s global ambition of a greener maritime sector. That's why this funding round continues to set that course, not only keeping our climate goals on track but also boosting opportunities for private investment, new jobs and growing the economy,” said Maritime Minister Baroness Charlotte.

So far, 105 projects across UK have been awarded more than $120 million in the first three rounds of the CMDC. Primarily, the projects focused on design and development of clean maritime solutions towards commercialization.

One such example is MJR Controls, which won funding for developing an electric vessel charging system on offshore wind turbines. This will power electric crew transfer boats and maintenance vessels operating in offshore wind farms, reducing their carbon emissions.

Collins River Enterprises has also been awarded $7 million of funding to demonstrate a zero- emission electric river ferry from Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe in London. The ferry will provide a sustainable alternative to a polluting drive or busy subway, and create a blueprint for sustainable ferry crossings across the UK and around the world.