A £3.6m project to improve environmental standards in the marine industry will be led by Cramlington-based AVID Technology.

Launched by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), the project aims to develop and demonstrate a waste heat recovery system that could deliver reduced emissions and fuel efficiency savings of at least eight per cent across all types of ship.

AVID Technology will lead the 26 month project with support from fellow North East businesses RED Engineering Limited of Hexham and Newcastle-based Royston Power along with France’s Enogia S.A.S. 

On completion of the development stage, the project could see a waste heat recovery system installed on an offshore support vessel by the end of 2018 ahead of a further six months of testing.

Ryan Maughan, founder and managing director of AVID Technology, which specialises in the design and manufacture of electrically powered systems for low emission vehicles said:  “Unlike other forms of transport, the marine industry has yet to establish a credible alternative to fossil fuels so the immediate priority is to achieve substantial carbon dioxide reductions by reducing fuel consumption.

“The technology solution we’re targeting with our partners is based on improving fuel efficiency by recovering heat energy from the exhaust stream therefore reducing the electrical load provided by the ship’s generators and by lowering the temperature of the exhaust gas by converting heat to electricity.

“AVID Technology is already leading the global industry in providing such solutions to road and off-road vehicles so it’s a natural evolution for us to turn our expertise to the marine sector.”

The Loughborough-based ETI is funding the project and hopes the technology being developed will be capable of being deployed on a range of marine vessels, including chemical tankers, general cargo vessels, container feeders, offshore support vessels and roll on roll off passenger ships.

Paul Trinick, the ETI’s HDV Marine Waste Heat Recovery System Project Manager said:  “Our analysis of the UK shipping fleet has revealed the potential opportunities for ship owners and operators and identifies the most promising technologies that could reduce the economics of fuel consumption.

“We’ve established that a 30 per cent fleet fuel consumption reduction can be achieved by using a combination of innovative technologies, including waste heat recovery systems, with an approximate payback period of just two years.

“It is important that we now develop and demonstrate this technology to provide confidence to shipping owners and operators that it can deliver tangible efficiencies and savings under real world conditions.”

The ETI’s report, ‘Targeting a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency for marine vessels’, can be found at http://www.eti.co.uk/insights/targeting-a-30-improvement-in-fuel-efficiency-for-marine-vessels.