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Friday, September 24, 2021

Hydrogen-powered driverless ‘green submarines’ could be future of UK freight

Hydrogen-powered driverless “green submarines” could carry freight around the UK, the Transport Secretary said.

Grant Shapps predicted the autonomous technology, which could be in British waters by 2026, would take freight off the roads and head off future shortages of truck drivers.

His comments come as the Government announced £23 million worth of funding for a slew of new technology projects aiming at decarbonising the seas.

Among the projects to be awarded funding is a project to build a fleet of 10 self-driving “green submarines” that run on green hydrogen by 2026.

The submarines are due to be tested by running between Glasgow and Belfast, and have been built to sweep up microplastics in the ocean as they go.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Shapps said: “If it works not only will it be green hydrogen powered, and therefore totally green, it will also collect microplastics en route. So it would be net positive in terms of its environmental impact.

“It would also be autonomous, so when you start to think about the driver shortages we have on our roads, these are routes that could help get freight across the UK via submarines autonomously. It is really exciting stuff.”

Other projects to get a slice of the Government funding are a project to allow electric-powered boats to plug into off-shore wind turbines to charge their batteries.

Earlier this week Mr Shapps called on the shipping industry to become carbon neutral by 2050. 

Global shipping currently accounts for around three percent of global emissions, but technology is being developed that can power smaller boats off electric batteries and larger vessels off of hydrogen fuel cells. 

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