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The Federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water has announced it will partially fund the Hydrogen Zero Emission Maritime (HyZEM) project, designed to drive decarbonisation in the maritime sector. 

The project will receive £1.44 million ($A2.77 million) from Innovate UK with a similar sum to come from the Federal Government. 

The news was welcomed by Freeport East, a major port in the UK, which commended the significant investment in the international green hydrogen project.  

The HyZEM project focuses on developing low-carbon green hydrogen technology for high powered workboats. The AUS-UK partnership was facilitated by Freeport East and includes leading UK and Australian businesses specialising in green hydrogen storage and propulsion technologies.  

The project’s goal is to reduce the risks of deployment of new technology and accelerate the adoption of marine green hydrogen. 

The HyZEM project also 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 said it 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 is designed to support the development and adaptation of new climate-friendly, zero-emission technologies and advance the use of green hydrogen in the maritime industry in both Australia and the UK.   

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 will be led by Rux Energy Australia.  

The diversity of the group is expected to 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. CTV designer Chartwell Marine Limited 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 subject matter experts, global industry and academia in offshore renewable energy.    

The NCC and Rux Energy’s Australian consortium are expected to 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.  

Steamology Chief Executive Officer, Matt Candy, 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.”  

Freeport East Chief Executive, Steve Beel, 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.”  

Rux Energy Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jehan Kanga, said, “The HyZEM project dovetails two breakthrough technologies. Our patented nanoporous hydrogen storage materials from Australia in next generation carbon composite tanks jointly developed between Australia and the UK with Steamology’s novel hydrogen steam turbines from the UK,  will create a fully optimised storage and power system for high powered work boats like tug boats and crew transfer vessels.   

“The collaboration demonstrates how we can decarbonise faster and more efficiently by working together, accelerating commercialisation and bilateral supply chain development, establishing Australia and the UK as global leaders in maritime decarbonisation technology, and, ultimately bringing both countries closer together with common values and common goals,” Mr Kanga said. 

Featured image: Chartwell Marine. Courtesy of Freeport East.  

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