Climate action and sustainable development have become pressing issues in today’s world, and innovative solutions are needed to address them. The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a framework for tackling these challenges, with many initiatives and competitions focused on driving progress in the maritime industry. In this article, we will explore some of these efforts, including the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA), and the UK government’s investments in clean maritime solutions.
Climate action isn’t really an all-or-nothing business. The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are opportunities for economic growth but mean so much more. While it is an important factor for decision making, it could be a barrier for fast, responsible, and effective change.
The Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) is a massive global system and competition for tech that is based on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The 16 XTC The XTC Marine Tech Startup Innovation Contest finalists are grouped under 5 topics: fisheries and aquaculture, offshore energy and transportation, marine bio-resource, new frontiers and shipping and marine transport. Results will be presented at the Sustainable Ocean Solutions Summit during the One Ocean Conference in Bergen, Norway.
The finalists in the shipping and marine category are:
🇨🇭 AELER Technologies – has created the world’s most advanced shipping container to meet TODAY’S business and environmental needs.
🇳🇴 Keelspot – aims to establish a digital marketplace for the coastal shipping market in real time. Users of the solution will get real-time access to available capacity and planned routes, and can directly order and make an agreement on cargo freight.
🇳🇱 Vertoro–converts biogenic residues like sawdust and bagasse into crude oil.
Through ZEMBA, freight buyers will accelerate the commercial deployment of zero-emission shipping, enable economies of scale, and help minimise maritime emissions. The Aspen Institute announced the formation of the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) alongside co-founders Amazon, Patagonia, and Tchibo. The mission of ZEMBA is to make it possible for companies to access zero-emission shipping solutions that are not currently available.
By working together, ZEMBA members will offer committed demand to build confidence among investors, carriers and shipowners, and producers of zero-emission fuels and renewable energy. Through ZEMBA, climate-leading cargo owners create the first competitive process for forward procuring zero-emission maritime freight services.
“Removing the climate impact of hard-to-abate sectors, such as maritime shipping, requires continuous collaboration, investment, and innovation — which is why we joined Zemba,” Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, said.
UK GOV DfT and Innovate
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Department for Transport (DfT) to invest up to £77 million in innovation projects. These projects will develop, deploy and operate clean maritime solutions for 3 years in a real world environment.
Figure shows the initiatives behind ZEVI – the dates financial information sourced from uk.gov website
Figure Shows funds allocated within the CMDC Rounds
An actual example of this is the UK’s Port of Aberdeen, more than £200,000, to speed up its move to Net Zero by 2040. The ‘Port Zero’ feasibility study, which is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 2 (CMDC2) to explore port power demands and low carbon energy sources.
Successful projects must show they could use this money to work with major UK ports and operators to launch a zero-emission vessel by 2025 at the latest.
The green maritime revolution acting on maritime decarbonisation is a key step to achieve the Government’s net zero target, as the UK domestic shipping sector is a significant source of greenhouse gases.
The ZEVI competition is a mechanism for the development of a Clean Maritime Research Hub. They are part of the UK coastal initiative, launched in March 2022 with £206 million in funding. UK SHORE aims to tackle shipping emissions and advance the UK towards a sustainable shipping future.
Figure Illustrates the relationship between UK Shore and the ZEVI competition.
The general idea is to take tech “from factory to the sea” and the intended output of National Clean Maritime Research Hub. The flagship UK national clean maritime research hub aims to develop critical mass and address fundamental research challenges in clean maritime.
Figure shows the three themes within the ZEVI competition
The various initiatives and competitions discussed in this article showcase the potential for innovative solutions to drive sustainable development and combat climate change in the maritime sector. By investing in and promoting these projects, governments, businesses, and organizations can help accelerate the transition towards a greener, more sustainable future for the shipping industry and contribute to meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.