Freeport East welcomes million-pound funding for international green hydrogen project

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Freeport East in the UK has welcomed significant investment in an international green hydrogen project to drive decarbonisation in the maritime sector. The Hydrogen Zero Emission Maritime (HyZEM) project will receive £1.44 million from Innovate UK and a similar sum from Australia’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

HyZEM focuses on developing low-carbon green hydrogen technology for high powered workboats. The partnership was facilitated by Freeport East and includes leading UK and Australian businesses specialising in green hydrogen storage and propulsion technologies. The goal is to reduce the risks of deployment of new technology and accelerate the adoption of marine green hydrogen.

The HyZEM project aims to demonstrate practical applications for green hydrogen storage and propulsion on vessels, including bunkering technology, port storage, refueling infrastructure, and how it will support local supply chains. Freeport East aims to support deployment in the regions’ ports, with the number of tugs, workboats and offshore wind vessels in Harwich and Felixstowe making these technologies of particular relevance.

The international collaboration will support the development and adaptation of new climate-friendly, zero-emission technologies and will advance the use of green hydrogen in the maritime industry in both the UK and Australia.

The partnership includes Steamology as lead, National Composites Centre (NCC), Duodrive Limited, Chartwell Marine Limited and The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. The Australian sister project is led by Rux Energy Australia.

The diversity of the group will help drive the adoption of green hydrogen through the unique expertise of each partner. Steamology brings to the table its zero-emission hydrogen steam turbines, while Duodrive Limited brings expertise in electric contra-rotating marine propulsion. Industry-leading CTV designer Chartwell Marine Limited (designs pictured) is also involved, working to improve vessel efficiency. 

Through the project, Freeport East and ORE Catapult will further support regional innovation, as well as building collaborations between SMEs, global industry, and academia in offshore renewable energy. 

Meanwhile, the National Composites Centre (NCC) and Rux Energy’s Australian consortium will lead next generation hydrogen storage systems development dovetailing Rux’s breakthroughs in advanced nanoporous materials with innovations in carbon composite tanks, delivering step changes in efficiency, safety and costs for high powered work boats like tugboats and crew-transfer vessels.

Matt Candy, CEO of Steamology, said: “We are pleased to be working with such talented partners across the hydrogen and marine supply chain and thank InnovateUK for grant funding the opportunity. Steamology delivers scalable and modular solutions for industrial steam heat and power, embracing the hydrogen and circular economies, eliminating emissions, replacing fossil fuels and fossil fuel engines. Steamology is delivering the world’s first zero emission hydrogen steam turbine marine propulsion, 130 years after ‘Turbinia’, the world’s first steam turbine steam ship.”

Steve Beel, Chief Executive of Freeport East, said: “This news highlights the rapid innovation-driven growth occurring within the Freeport and marks the third consortium funding success Freeport East has achieved in the past year. Freeport East is demonstrating how we can be an enabler of green technology solutions and support UK businesses to succeed overseas. These innovations will also support our broader efforts to drive transport decarbonisation at both the local and international scale”

Joseph Hewitt, Project Engineer, Development & Operations, ORE Catapult said: “We are delighted to partner with Steamology and the extended HyZEM consortium team, contributing our independent expertise in offshore renewable energy and clean maritime technology to this important feasibility study. Demonstrating the potential of innovative technologies such as hydrogen-storage and hydrogen-fuelled turbines to decarbonise the world’s marine fleet could pave the way for future cost savings and risk reduction benefits for the entire industry, minimising environmental impact and moving us closer to achieving our net zero ambitions.” 

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