Feature, Freight News, Sea

Dover and P&O join clean power probe

[ September 22, 2021   //   ]

The Port of Dover and P&O Ferries are taking part in a University of Kent-led investigation into decarbonisation of the cross-Channel ferry fleet.

The Dover Clean Ferry Power project, which also includes Warwick Manufacturing Group and Schneider Electric, has been awarded funding of £450K, as part of the Department for Transport’s £20 million programme. This project will support the delivery of the Port of Dover Air Quality Action Plan and is part of the national priority of achieving net-zero by 2050.

The seven-month project will be led by Kent Business School, utilising the University’s experts in sustainability, cost-analysis and economic development to investigate decarbonisation options and optimising energy demands to see how net-zero energy can be supplied to ferry vessels.

Currently, Dover vessels spend energy in-harbour, open sailing and on-vessel services. Some are hybrid; self-charging on-board batteries whilst in open sailing and then using the battery charge whilst in-harbour.

The project will analyse how much net-zero energy can be stored and delivered in-harbour, to accelerate the adoption of hybrid or fully electric propulsion vessels in the Short Straits (Dover to Calais and Dunkirk) ferry fleet. Insights gained may then have the potential to extend to cruise and cargo operators.

Dover’s head of safety, quality and environment, Vicki Beatty, said: “This important project supports the design and development of technologies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as set out in the Clean Maritime Plan. This will help us understand how to capitalise on the unique benefits that Dover offers now as the shortest crossing to Europe, ensuring its efficiency, capacity and resilience can continue to be enjoyed by future generations across the nation.”

University of Kent funding and partnership development manager Simon Barnes said the project would build  on previous successful work with Dover. It has previously worked with the port on a knowledge transfer partnership and has achieved the highest possible rating from Innovate UK after developing a range of Net Zero logistics solutions and helped reduce traffic congestion, boost efficiency and cut costs.

The Dover Clean Ferry Power project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

Announced in March 2020, and part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology, with £20m investment from government alongside a further £10m from industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector. The programme is supporting 55 projects across the UK.