UK gets its first charging network for electric maritime vessels

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The UK’s first e-marine hub of shore-based charging facilities for electric marine vessels, created as part of the Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL) initiative, has been unveiled in Plymouth.

The MeLL initiative is a consortium led by the University of Plymouth in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Princess Yachts Limited and Aqua superPower.

The MeLL project was funded by the Department for Transport and carried out in partnership with Innovate UK, as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

According to the University of Plymouth, a series of high-powered DC electric charging stations have been switched on at locations along the perimeter of Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.

These include the 150kW charging facility at Mount Batten, the UK’s first 75kW site at Queen Anne’s Battery and a 25kW facility at Barbican Pier.

Charging facility at Queen Anne’s Battery. Courtesy of Plymouth University.

Currently further facilities are also being developed along the town’s seafront, with additional sites also identified in Devon and Cornwall to provide electric charging facilities every 10 miles along the south coast of the counties.

The charging network would respond directly to the UK Government’s Clean Maritime Plan for Net Zero Maritime and its drive to increase the country’s current percentage of clean electricity to 100% by 2035.

It was also designed to provide commercial businesses of all sizes with a sustainable, cost-effective and fast way to switch from diesel to electric, the developers say.

The university carried out research during the planning phase of the project, indicating that the network has the potential to reduce port emissions by 96.60% over the next 30 years.

As a result, this could significantly reduce the sector’s impact on the climate and reduce the damage caused by harmful gases to human and environmental health.

Scared SarahProject and Knowledge Exchange Manager at the University of Plymouth and MeLL Project Manager, described the charging network as a game-changer for maritime businesses in Plymouth.

“The Clean Maritime 2050 strategy highlights how crucial it is for the sector to move forward and includes a number of ambitious net zero targets. This includes the increased electrification of commercial vessels, but if there is no infrastructure in place, you cannot support the growing number of companies looking to use this technology,” says fear.

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