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UK government funding for next generation trucks and buses and greener shipbuilding

The UK government is providing £54mn in funding for three green projects in Wales, England and Ireland that are developing next generation electric trucks and hydrogen-powered buses. The projects are forecast to save 45mm tonnes of carbon emissions, according to UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Specifically, £31.9mn will be invested on the development of electric propulsion systems for heavy goods vehicles in Cwmbran, Wales. The technology could be applied in a range of ways, such as giving lorries greater travel range and better energy efficiency for coaches and construction vehicles. A further £11.3mn will fund the development and manufacture of energy-saving technology from motorsport for use in cars and vans from a centre in Warwickshire, England. The remaining £11.2mn will be invested on the development and manufacture of low-cost hydrogen fuel cell technology for buses and create a hydrogen centre of excellence with Wrightbus in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

The funding announcement builds on the recent launch of the UK government’s national 
Bus Back Better strategy and the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, both of which aim to accelerate the shift to zero emission vehicles and decarbonise the UK’s transport networks.

Meanwhile, the UK government has also announced a £20mn competition to encourage green shipbuilding, with a focus on hydrogen-powered vessels and e-charge points at ports.

The funds will be used to support the development of prototype vessels and port infrastructure that could then be rolled out widely – propelling the sector towards net zero as the UK prepares to host the 
COP26 climate change summit in November 2021.

The announcement came ahead of the launch of two government-funded studies focused on achieving net zero in both the recreational craft sector and offshore wind sectors. Produced in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Workboat Association, the offshore wind sector study will bring a coalition of industry partners together to break down barriers to moving all operational and maintenance vessels working in the North Sea offshore wind sector to zero emissions by 2025.

Developed in partnership with the Carbon Trust, the study on recreational craft, which will be published in late spring, will set out how to overcome barriers to the supply of, and demand for, zero carbon recreational craft.

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