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Port of Tyne, Siemens and a project consortium of three further partners have been granted funding by the Department of Transport to create a blueprint for the decarbonisation of the UK’s ports.

The project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, which sees £30m in total invested in a number of initiatives to reduce emissions from the maritime sector.

Siemens and the Port of Tyne will work with Connected Places Catapult, Newcastle University and the North East LEP to deploy a real-time digital platform for scenario planning and feasibility studies that will help determine the future power needs of Port of Tyne. Understanding its current and forecast power usage as well as its infrastructure opportunities will enable the port to define its path to decarbonisation – and ultimately achieve its vision of becoming a net-zero port.

The project consortium will leverage its extensive technical expertise, academic research and wider industry knowledge to integrate multi-vector renewable energy information into the purpose-built digital port platform. This will allow the partners to determine which renewable energy implementations will offer the greatest benefits to the port and what capacity it will need from the grid going forward.

By using this form of planning, the Port of Tyne can evaluate the benefits of introducing new technology solutions before implementing them, thus minimising risk. The planning will focus on multiple areas including optimised operations, grid compliance and flexibility, enhanced communications using 5G, the electrification of shipping and logistics, the reduction or avoidance of fossil fuels and the development of new digital skills.

Testbed for other UK ports

The digital platform will play a fundamental role throughout the port’s decarbonisation journey by supporting the creation of business cases, budget planning and investment cases. It will also allow the project consortium to assess the technical, environmental and economic impact of the port of the future. Using the Port of Tyne as a testbed, the digital energy platform will enable Siemens and its partners to develop a universal blueprint for decarbonisation that can be replicated in other port environments as well as other industries.

The Clean Tyne project starts now and will run until the end of March 2022. It will be using the 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub at the Port of Tyne as a platform to demonstrate and disseminate the learnings and outputs with all ports in the UK.

Ian Blake, Head of Innovation and Technology at the Port of Tyne commented: “We are delighted to have been granted this funding by the DfT which is testament to the expertise, research and collaboration  of the consortium. The project will deliver outputs that show real benefits to decarbonisation across the UK Port Sector and be the backbone for future developments in that space. Using the 2050 Innovation Hub at the Port of Tyne, the first of its kind aligned to Maritime 2050, gives us the perfect platform to demonstrate and disseminate the learnings and outputs with all ports in the UK.”

“This is the first real foray into the development of a blueprint for the decarbonisation of ports. There are hundreds of ports across world, all burning a lot of diesel and impacting the environment. This project with the Port of Tyne enables us to carry out an advanced feasibility study and to create a dependable and scalable roadmap for the decarbonisation of ports worldwide.”

Ian Lloyd, Head of Microgrid Solutions, Siemens

“North East LEP via the North East Energy Catalyst is delighted to be part of the winning consortium following our application to Innovate UK’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.
The North East is home to a unique and comprehensive asset base that innovates, demonstrates, and delivers solutions to global energy challenges. The maritime and ports sector, crucially, lies at the heart of this vibrant ecosystem. The region has significant potential to lead on the transition to net zero for maritime, building on significant opportunities across multiple renewable energy vectors. The programme is a great example of how digital technologies can be applied to drive decarbonisation of our regional infrastructure. The North East Energy Catalyst will help to disseminate key outcomes from this research programme using a series of videos, social media, and engagement sessions in partnership with Siemens, Newcastle University, the Connected Places Catapult and Port of Tyne.”

David Lynch, Energy Innovation Partnerships Manager – North East LEP

“This project presents a fantastic opportunity to apply novel concepts of digitalisation in real-world energy systems. We are excited to have the opportunity to research and develop new solutions for ports that cut across energy systems, marine transport, and data, in collaboration with industry and other innovators, helping reduce carbon emissions.”

Dr Haris Patsios, Senior Lecturer in Power Systems, Newcastle University 


“Ports are critical stakeholders in the future clean energy transition on land and at sea, having access to and supporting key renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and tidal, as well as having the opportunity to become future energy hubs across multiple modes of transport to accelerate our journey to net zero. The Catapult is delighted to be working with our partners on the CleanTYNE project that will see the trial of the underlying digital infrastructure to make this future possible, delivering clear next steps and transferable insight for ports across the UK.”

Paul Wilson, Chief Business Officer, Connected Places Catapult

Notes to editors

The Clean Tyne – UK Blueprint for Decarbonisation 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, the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition is a £20m investment from government alongside a further c.£10mfrom industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector. The programme is supporting 55 projects across the UK, including projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and from the South West to the North East of England. As set out in the Clean Maritime Plan (2019), Government funding has been used to support early-stage research relating to clean maritime. The programme will be used to support the research, design and development of zero emission technology and infrastructure solutions for maritime and to accelerate decarbonisation in the sector.

Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer for Innovate UK:

“As the UK prepares to host COP26 in the maritime city of Glasgow, it is great that we can announce funding for these fantastic projects in the maritime sector that will help the UK meet its net zero goals. From this competition we saw a very high level of demand, we have seen the very best of British ideas from all over the country. It is clear that not only does the UK have a great maritime history, but also a bright and greener future too.”

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