Kent leads new project to investigate net-zero options for Channel ferry fleet

Dover port at night time

The University is leading a new research and innovation project with the Port of Dover, P&O Ferries, WMG at the University of Warwick and Schneider Electric to investigate steps towards decarbonisation of the cross-Channel ferry fleet. This is part of the national priority of achieving net-zero by 2050.

The seven-month Dover Clean Ferry Power project will be led by Kent Business School, utilising the University’s experts in sustainability, cost-analysis and economic development to investigate decarbonisation options and optimising energy demands to see how net-zero energy can be supplied to ferry vessels.

The project, which is part of a £20 million programme funded by the Department for Transport, will support the delivery of the Port of Dover Air Quality Action Plan.

Currently, Port of Dover vessels spend energy through in-harbour activity, open sailing and on-vessel services (such as heating, lighting and hospitality). Some vessels are hybrid; self-charging on-board batteries whilst in open sailing and then using the battery charge whilst in-harbour.

The project will analyse how much net-zero energy can be stored and delivered in-harbour, to accelerate the adoption of hybrid or fully electric propulsion vessels in the Short Straits (Dover to Calais and Dunkirk) ferry fleet. Insights gained may then have the potential to extend to cruise and cargo operators, as well as adaptation of experienced vessels.

Dr Ramin Raeesi, Principle Investigator of the ProjectDr Ramin Raeesi, Interim Director of the Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimisation (CLHO) at Kent and Principal Investigator of the project said: ‘This vital project is a perfect demonstration of the expertise of Kent Business School and our priority agenda for supporting greater development for sustainability in the Southeast. We look forward to sharing our findings from this research and making progressive steps towards net-zero in the region.’

Simon Barnes, Project Manager and Funding & Partnership Development Manager within the University’s Research & Innovation Operations, said: ‘For the University of Kent, this new project builds on a previous successful work with the Port of Dover and is an excellent example of a collaborative project with the University, industry partners and consumers.

‘It is our unified aim to investigate potential avenues that can lead to reductions in carbon emissions as part of the national priority of net-zero. The University of Kent is dedicated to the endeavour through a series of initiatives, with the Dover Clean Ferry Power project as a prime example of the role we play regionally and in applying intensive research to vital national goals.’

Kent has previously worked with the Port of Dover on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership and has achieved the highest possible rating from Innovate UK after developing a range of Net Zero logistics solutions and helped reduce traffic congestion, boost efficiency and cut costs for the Port.

Schneider Electric is a global leader in power systems, working in the North of Scotland to develop shore to ferry power connections and will provide the technical input required for shoreside equipment in the project.

WMG at the University of Warwick are international leaders in research, development and application of battery and net zero transport technology, bringing innovation and experience to this project from other sectors. They will undertake feasibility, full modelling, testing and demonstrating, as well as application of new technology safely and effectively.

Dr Ramin Raeesi
Dr Ramin Raeesi, Principle Investigator of the Project


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