First UK charging network for electric maritime vessels launches in Plymouth

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The first UK e-marine hub of shore-side charging facilities for electric vessels has been unveiled along the perimeter of the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.

The high-power DC electric charging stations were switched on at several locations including a stated world’s first 150kW charging facility situated at Mount Batten, the UK’s first 75kW site at Queen Anne’s Battery and a 25kW installation at the Barbican landing stage. The project will offer commercial enterprises a sustainable, cost-effective and time-effective way of transitioning from diesel to electric forms of propulsion.

In the future, further electric charging facilities are to be installed in Devon and Cornwall with the aim of providing a charging point for electric vessels every 10 miles along the UK’s southern coastline.

The charging network was created with the help of the Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL) initiative, a consortium led by the University of Plymouth in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Princess Yachts and Aqua superPower.

The project directly responds to the Clean Maritime Plan for maritime net zero as set out by the UK government, which aims to increase the UK’s clean electricity percentage to 100% by 2035. Having conducted research during the planning stages, the University of Plymouth states that the e-marine hub could reduce port emissions by 96.60% over the next 30 years.

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

“The Clean Maritime 2050 strategy underlines how crucial it is that the sector moves forward, and includes a number of ambitious net-zero objectives,” said Sarah Fear, project and knowledge exchange manager at the University of Plymouth and lead of the MeLL project. “That includes the increased electrification of commercial vessels, but if there is no infrastructure in place you cannot support the growing number of businesses looking to employ this technology. This charging network is a game-changer for Plymouth’s forward-thinking marine enterprises, and our ongoing research in this field is enabling the city and region to blaze a trail in clean maritime innovation.”

“This is a landmark project boasting the UK’s first marine charging network and demonstrating Plymouth’s commitment to decarbonization and strengthening its position as the UK’s leading testbed for marine innovation and tying into the delivery of the National Marine Park and Freeport,” commented Dan Turner, Low Carbon City Officer for Plymouth City Council. “The government’s Clean Maritime Plan clearly states the need to reduce carbon emissions from marine transport and by delivering this network of charging infrastructure the partnership has helped to remove one of the key barriers to the uptake of electric vessels.”

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors.

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