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World’s first autonomous liquid hydrogen vessel receives £3.8M from UK government

Photo Credit: HI-FIVED

The UK Government has awarded £3.8M funding to a consortium attempting to create and demonstrate the “world’s first” liquid hydrogen autonomous vessel and bunkering infrastructure.

The £5.4M project from the Hydrogen Innovation – Future Innovation & Vessel Evaluation and Demonstration (HI-FIVED) consortium, led by ACUA Ocean and Unitrove, aims to build and demonstrate an autonomous vessel and bunkering infrastructure technologies for liquid hydrogen to contribute to the maritime industry’s decarbonisation.

Unitrove will deploy its mobile fueling technology in the Port of Aberdeen in support of ACUA’s proposal to build and manage the “world’s first” maritime autonomous surface ship fuelled by liquid hydrogen, which is expected to be delivered in the autumn of 2024.

It is envisaged that the initiative will develop a domestic green maritime corridor between Aberdeen, Scotland, and the Orkney and Shetland islands, with freight transported by hydrogen-powered autonomous ships.

The Port of Aberdeen, the University of Southampton, Zero Emissions Maritime Technologies, Composite Manufacture and Design, Trident Marine Electrical, and NASH Maritime are all part of the HI-FIVED consortium.

The HI-FIVED project, funded by the UK Department of Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3) in collaboration with Innovate UK, is intended to aid in the decarbonization of UK shipping.

The Government committed £60M as part of the CMDC3 to 19 flagship projects sponsored by 92 UK organisations to deliver real-world demonstration R&D initiatives in clean maritime solutions. Projects will be held in a variety of sites across the United Kingdom, from the Shetland Islands to Cornwall.

Unitrove declared in 2021 that it would build the “world’s first” liquid hydrogen bunkering station to fuel zero-emission vessels.

The CMDC3 is part of the multi-year CMDC initiative of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE). The Government announced the largest government investment ever in our UK commercial maritime industry in March 2022, committing £206M to UK SHORE, a new division inside the Department for Transport focused on decarbonizing the maritime sector.

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