Shipping, Hydrogen and Port Ecosystems UK (SHAPE UK)

Project Details


Scalability, affordability and adaptability are paramount to the adoption of low carbon fuel sources within the maritime sector.

Hydrogen presents significant opportunities as a future fuel for the maritime sector, as well as other transport modes. As multi-modal transport hubs, at the interface of land and sea, ports have a crucial role to play in enabling and supporting the transition to a cleaner maritime sector and a cleaner future for coastal communities. 

Maritime operations are paramount to the efficient movement of goods nationally and globally but are often high contributors of CO2e emissions and air pollutants. The adoption of decentralised energy systems offers the potential to support the necessary transition of ports and their operations to a net-zero carbon, climate positive future.

The Shipping, Hydrogen and Port Ecosystems UK (SHAPE UK) project, involving a consortium led by the University of Portsmouth, has begun creating the future fuel ecosystem to power a decarbonised maritime sector. 

The work undertaken aimed to determine the utilisation of a modular electrolyser within an active port:
> A digital twin of the port was created that could be reproduced for other ports:
> Existing and emerging data from the port and its activities were combined with the data gathered from the working electrolyser.
> A retrofitted common diesel outboard toutilise up to 99% H2 and 1% diesel demonstrated a use case for the portside hydrogen for their support fleet.
> The regulatory landscape around which the electrolyser and the use of H2 in fleet vehicles were reviewed and analysed, determining where deployment can immediately occur and where regulations need to be addressed.

Portsmouth International Port (PiP) is the UK's largest and most successful municipal port. It is committed to be coming the first net carbon neutral UK port by 2030, and the first zero-emission port by 2050. It has begun the transition to net-zero through Portsmouth CityCouncil's investment of £1.2M (1.1MW) in the installation of photovoltaics providing 1.1Mw, \>750kW battery storage, supported by Innovate UK, and seawater heat pumps and multiple port side EV's.

Key findings

The project demonstrated a modular green hydrogen generation system within Portsmouth International Port (PIP) and delivered a decision support tool that will enable port managers to determine the environmental and economic use cases for hydrogen generation and utilisation.

It addressed the barriers to installing H2 electrolysers within the maritime landscape. Modular H2 electrolysers offer flexibility and adaptability to expand production capability and utilise excess renewable electricity as it is generated, but the current high cap-ex costs can prohibit their adoption. This is combined with the emerging regulatory frameworks for the generation/ storage and utilisation as a marine fuel source.

Effective start/end date1/09/2131/03/22


  • Innovate UK


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