Unitrove Group, the creator of the world’s first liquid hydrogen bunkering facility for fuelling zero-emission ships, on Wednesday (13 April) said it has won a UK Government grant to develop a unit ready for rapid deployment to ports around the world.
Steven Lua, CEO of Unitrove Innovation, part of the Unitrove Group, said the £30,000 Transport Research and Innovation Grant (TRIG) awarded by the Department for Transport in partnership with Connected Places Catapult would be used to help further develop its commercial version of the small-scale portable facility.
The Leicestershire-based clean-tech company unveiled the unit at COP26 in Glasgow last November.
“The award will help us to further develop our liquid hydrogen bunkering facility as we move towards commercialisation,” said Mr Lua.
“This is fantastic validation for our project and it also opens up opportunities for increased collaboration as we work towards reducing emissions, which are causing so much damage to our planet.
“We need collaboration across the entire energy industry as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We need to embrace multiple renewable and clean energy solutions to achieve our net-zero ambitions and we need real investment in infrastructure to develop affordable, reliable, sustainable energy in the future.”
He said liquid hydrogen as a commercial fuel was relatively unexplored as an option – but that it had great potential for many uses, including plugging the gap that electric and compressed hydrogen cannot fill.
“We already see very early signs of light-duty vessels being battery-driven or powered by compressed gaseous hydrogen, but liquid hydrogen will allow us to serve the heavier portion of the shipping fleet where we hope to have a much larger impact,” notes Mr Lua.
“We believe that hydrogen will be recognised as a global commodity that will be traded in the same way that natural gas is today. The bunker fuel market is worth an estimated $120bn, so there is a huge opportunity not only in environmental and social terms, but also financially.”
The TRIG programme was launched by the Department for Transport in 2014 to foster research and innovation in the sector. This year’s TRIG is the largest ever, with over 50 awards spanning different areas including maritime decarbonisation and the future of freight.
Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Innovation funded as part of TRIG could be the key to unlocking a more efficient and safer transport system for tomorrow.
“I support the ingenious ideas of this year’s cohort every step of the way and wish the successful applicants all the very best. I look forward to seeing the ideas develop to boost our green agenda and create high-skilled jobs across the UK.”
Photo credit: Unitrove
Published: 14 April, 2022
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