Supergen programme explores the decarbonisation of energy in the maritime sector

The Supergen Bioenergy Hub, alongside the Supergen Energy Storage Network+ and Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub, hosted a workshop on the 25 January that brought together their academic networks, policymakers and industry around the challenges and opportunities presented by maritime decarbonisation.

The Supergen Hubs were joined by the UK Department for Transport who outlined the critical role that the decarbonisation of shipping has to play in the UK’s ability to meet net zero targets, and highlighted details of the upcoming Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), which aims to promote the deployment of clean maritime technologies and zero emission vessels.

Patricia Thornley (Director, Supergen Bioenergy Hub), Deborah Greaves (Director, Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub), Yulong Ding (Director, Supergen Energy Storage Network+) and Antzela Fivga (Project Manager, Supergen Energy Storage Network+) then presented on behalf of their respective Hubs, outlining how their objectives align with the opportunities they see to decarbonise the maritime sector.

Following the Hub presentations, we heard from Ben Murray, Director of Maritime UK, who was able to provide a crucial overview of the sector and the opportunities for collaboration as the CMDC progresses.

The second half of the workshop was dedicated to an insightful panel discussion between the Hub Directors, Ben Murray (Maritime UK), Tony Roskilly (University of Durham) and Tristan Smith (University College London), chaired by Mirjam Röder (Aston University) which centred on a series of questions:

  • What would be the transition and possible timeline for the maritime sector, considering the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, but also in line with 2025/2035/2050 net zero targets? ​
  • What would be feasible technologies delivering short-term goals but also still enabling and allowing further change, development, transition and potentially flexibility in the medium and long term? ​
  • Are there any specifications and characteristics for energy/fuel generation and provision, also in terms of capacity and flexibility? ​
  • What is needed, and feasible, in terms of emissions benchmarks and frameworks for accounting and reporting, also considering international activities? ​
  • What policy and governance frameworks are needed to enable decarbonisation and technology innovation?

By bringing academia together around the challenge of decarbonising maritime, the workshop has served to create a network of academic expertise open to collaboration on the upcoming CMDC and has demonstrated how research can aid the maritime sector to achieve its decarbonisation targets.

The presentations are now available to download here:

If you have any queries about this workshop, or would like more information, please contact


Maritime UK is the umbrella body for the maritime sector, bringing together the shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries. Their purpose is to champion and enable a thriving maritime sector.

The Supergen ORE Hub was established in July 2018 with £5 million of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It was subsequently awarded a further £4 million in June 2019. The Supergen ORE Hub provides research leadership to connect stakeholders, inspire innovation and maximise societal value in offshore renewable energy.

The Supergen Energy Storage Network+ is an integrated, forward-looking platform that supports, nurtures the expertise of the energy storage community, disseminating it through academia, industry, and policy, at a particularly important time when decisions on future funding and research strategy are still being resolved.

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