Date Posted:

8 February 2024

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Freeport East is proud to be part of a consortium including Carnot Ltd, Rux Energy UK Ltd, Cranfield University and other UK innovators that has been awarded funding under the UK Government Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC4) to develop groundbreaking solutions to transform maritime decarbonisation.

More about the project

The Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC4) is part of the Department’s UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme. Funded by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by Innovate UK, the £206m initiative is focused on developing the technology necessary to decarbonise the UK’s domestic maritime sector.

The Shoreside Power from Optimised Hydrogen Lifecycle (SPOHL) project will focus on developing cutting-edge technologies to reduce maritime emissions through novel applications of green hydrogen storage and hydrogen-fueled engines. The primary objective is to significantly reduce global port emissions, with a particular emphasis on addressing emissions from ships running diesel engines at port, which contributes to an estimated 90% of global port emissions.

Freeport East’s involvement

This achievement highlights Freeport East’s priorities of forging new partnerships to attract inward investment, drive innovation and decarbonise the transport sector.

Freeport East, CEO Steve Beel comments: “We are delighted to be part of this ground-breaking consortium looking at fresh approaches to greening the maritime sector, which brings together leading hydrogen innovators from across the UK. The welcome news that our partner Rux Energy has achieved its first UK innovation funding through this process will reinforce our position as a magnet for international innovators and a UK centre for sustainable transport practices.

“We’re proud to bring partners together, find new growth opportunities, and back new technologies. Our ambition is to reduce emissions in transportation and build global partnerships.

“By supporting international businesses like Rux Energy in establishing a presence in the UK and building new partnerships, we’re not only attracting global partners but also creating jobs regionally. We’re following through on our plan for attracting investment to key sectors and driving funding in innovation locally, which is part of our vision for a sustainable future.”


How the collaboration will work

When ships are in port, they typically use onboard diesel generators to power vessel operations. Globally, this results in around 35Mt of CO2e generated per year. With many ports located close to population centres, pollution concentrations have major impacts on local communities. This project aims to validate a novel, highly efficient and low-cost cold ironing solution to provide clean, shoreside power as an alternative to onbaord diesel generators.

The end-to-end system starts with a Solar PV system, hosted by Cranfield University. This provides power directly to the vessel when at birth. However, during periods where supply exceeds demand, electricity is fed into a high-efficiency power management architecture provided by project partner HyWaves to power an electrolyser producing green hydrogen. HyWaves’ technology simplifies the architecture needed to operate and produce green hydrogen from solar power, delivering both an efficiency improvement and cost reduction.

Hydrogen is stored using low-cost, high-density technology from Rux Energy. This stage is critical in providing long-term, cost-effective energy storage, managing seasonal and operational variations.

High efficiency Carnot engines will then use the hydrogen fuel to provide on demand power. Shoreside generators will be connected to vessels whilst moored in port. Clean Air Power, a supplier of specialist injectors and valves for alternative fuels, will provide High Pressure Hydrogen Injection (HPHITM) technology to control the flow of hydrogen into the Carnot engine. The Manufacturing Technology Centre, the UK’s centre of excellence for manufacturing technologies, is providing expertise guiding the path to engine development and providing design for manufacture insight, optimised for additive manufacturing processes. This will then be tested at Brunel University, London. Throughout this phase, Carisbrooke Shipping will provide the critical insight from a vessel operators perspective, including implications on regulations and operational requirements.

The project revolves around Freeport East, assisting with outreach and engagement with other ports operators, shipping lines and the trust port, Harwich Haven Authority.

Swanbarton and Brunel University are collaborating to develop the Energy Vector Analyser (EVA). EVA will help ports understand their current energy landscape and facilitate future planning. By evaluating a wide range of potential fuel, generation, and storage options, EVA seeks to minimise investment risks associated with unviable or obsolete technologies, thus avoiding stranded assets. This tool will enable ports to identify viable aspects of the hydrogen lifecycle within their full energy system enabling informed investment and ensuring they can offer future services like shore power, despite existing infrastructure and geographical constraints.

To read the full story, please visit: Decarbonising Port emissions with novel Cold Ironing solution – Carnot (

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