Houlder awarded UK Department for Transport funding to develop green maritime solution in collaboration with Expleo and Bibby Marine

Houlder’s joint proposal with Expleo and Bibby Marine for the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the UK Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, has been successful.

The Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition aims to identify innovative projects that will help the maritime industry meet green targets. This is in line with the UK Government’s Maritime 2050 strategy paper including a transition to net zero by 2050. The three companies will receive a share of the £20 million government fund to finance a feasibility study. The aim is to fully realise the zero emission (ZE) new-build and low emission (LE) retrofit options available to mid-to-large size vessels, focusing on the Bibby Wavemaster service operation vessels (SOVs).

Houlder will manage the first part of the project, developing a new-build vessel concept design optimised to deliver zero emission operations. The work will include a study into the available onboard technologies to deliver the zero emission capability, drawing on the outputs from the previous MarRI-UK funded Wavemaster Zero-C project in which Houlder is also involved. In addition, a HAZID and risk assessment of the concept will confirm safe operability.

Jonathan Strachan, New Build & Vessel Conversion Director at Houlder Ltd, said: “We are pleased to be working with Expleo and Bibby Marine on another design and engineering project with sustainability at its core. Strong collaboration between industry experts will be critical to the success of the UK’s maritime energy transition.

“This project highlights maritime innovation at its best. A capable alternative-fuel SOV has never been devised before and the results of the project will determine environmental credentials, economic feasibility, technical feasibility, and alignment with offshore wind bunkering innovations. The end result will be a clear plan forward for the decarbonisation of SOVs for both the short and long term.

“There is no single best solution to the maritime decarbonisation challenge but there are a multitude of effective technologies and adaptations that can be deployed today, as well as many more in development. It is important to determine how they can best package together for greatest effect – to achieve the best emissions reductions and return on investment.”

Jeff Hoyle, EVP Global Aerospace & Defence of Expleo, commented: “We are delighted that the Department for Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition has recognised the sustainability impact our project could have for the shipping industry and offshore wind supply chains.

“The UK is the global leader in offshore wind energy. In an industry that is strongly focused on sustainability and zero emissions, it makes sense that the supply chain is also as decarbonised as practically possible, with retrofit and new-build solutions. We look forward to moving this project forward, using the best in innovative green technology, complex engineering, and a partnership mindset to contribute to a greener world.”

This new project delivers on several ambitions from the Clean Maritime Plan. By investigating the best alternative fuel for an SOV now, UK operators would be in a prime position to order a vessel in 2025 that has zero emission capability. Building on this will help achieve 2035 ambitions rapidly as more and more vessels and ports take up green technology on the back of this study and industry experience.

For more information on the Clean Maritime Plan, click here.

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“Charting a ‘solo’ course through this swirl of uncertainty is close to impossible. That’s why we’re often asked by clients to build their knowledge, evaluate their challenges and assess their options. We work closely with research funds and clean-tech providers by bringing decades of industry experience to bear. Our position is independent, technical ‘client friend’ for the decarbonising decades ahead.”


Rupert Hare, Chief Executive Officer

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