The Challenge

Local air quality can be impacted through the running of auxiliary engines and generators in vessels whilst at berth, most commonly cruise vessels but also roll on roll off and container vessels.  These vessel can be berthed for relatively long periods of time.

The wider transition from marine diesel to a range of zero emission fuels will mean that the current approach to bunker service will change.  Similarly, the security of supply of these new fuels is restricting operators, particularly inland operations with choices to be made for their own emission reduction pathways.  The pandemic is having a profound effect on vessel operators, particularly in the capital, but there is an acknowledgement that this doesn’t detract from the need to transition.  As such, the PLA is keen to facilitate the Thames’ green recovery to avoid stranded assets and misdirected investments.

The provision of shore power electricity is costly and restricted by space alongside the River Thames and grid availability.  Furthermore some berths are located in the middle of the river which further limits the technology and solutions available.  Standardisation of infrastructure has been evolving to provide full electric high-power charging.

This call is seeking innovative approaches to provide the Tidal Thames with a solution to provide smart flexible zero emission power provision, as a service available 24/7 at the waterside, for berths throughout the Port of London, adjacent to quaysides and in the river.  The initial focus is on serving the berths owned by the Port of London Authority to serve the cruise ship market who are early adopters of electrical ship to shore solutions, for details on prioritised locations see – http://pla.co.uk/Port-Trade/Central-London-Cruise-Moorings.  Some bulk carriers and cargo ships have similarly taken on provision for shore power connections but this is a more nascent market initially.

The solution for cruise ships is required for implementation by end of 2024 or sooner, based on an economically viable service that is integrated to the existing Thames infrastructure, including appropriate licencing and approvals for use.  It should be based on financial returns that are realistic and competitive for a ship owner/ships agent/operator to reasonably accept.  The challenge sponsor recognises this is a long-term investment but they do expect to recover the cost of their investment.

Proposals are welcome for:

  • Existing market-ready technologies
  • Established solutions from other sectors of industry which can be adapted for this application.
  • Development proposals based on existing competences.
  • Universities, RTO’s and Catapults with above TRL 5 solutions and potential routes to market.

Potential solutions may come from a host of sectors not limited to;

  • Maritime
  • Nuclear
  • Rail
  • Road haulage and niche vehicles development
  • Offshore wind, tidal and wave energy
  • Energy systems providers – Networks and Grid
  • Construction and infrastructure – plant manufacturers
  • Heavy engineering

Where solutions cannot be met through a turnkey approach the PLA will be interested in hearing from ready formed consortiums or parties who are proposing to compliment their offering through a consortium, which KTN can assist in forming through its networks or other applicants to this call.  Applicants should indicate any gaps in their proposal and advise how they propose to meet them.

Solutions focusing on energy/electricity generation in isolation without transfer will not be considered as part of this challenge, although solutions that allow ship-to-shore or ship to ship transfer would be considered, where the energy is derived from non-fossil fuel derived energy.

This challenge is sponsored by the Port of London Authority.  Other organisations which are part of the DPHIN have a vested interest in engaging with potential solution providers who can meet their requirements and will be interested in the results of this call.

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the PLA. The package may also include:

  • Support from KTN and members of the DPHIN – Introductions to relevant Catapults or potential collaborations and any applicable funding streams.
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot.
  • Technical support from Port Operators with support from their business teams as required
  • A place in KTN or Catapult events
  • A potential business collaboration

The PLA will provide a successful applicant with up to 100% of the funding required to develop and deliver the solution, as per an agreement to be arranged.

The PLA will grant a licence to operate on the Tidal Thames on receipt of all other regulatory approvals.

The PLA will advise and assist the applicant in accessing the market on the Tidal Estuary.

There is also a possibility – to be agreed – of utilising the PLA’s promotional reach and publicity in UK Maritime and across worldwide ports to promote the solution.

For full technical details of the challenge, visit the KTN-iX site (you will need to create a free account to view full details).