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Ulster University has today been announced as part of a new £21.3m national research partnership focused on decarbonising the UK maritime sector, led by Durham University.

The only partner based in Northern Ireland, Ulster University's Hydrogen Safety Engineering and Research Centre (HySAFER) will be a major contributor to the hub’s activities and will receive around £630,000 of the funding. Its work will focus on marine fuel storage, safety operation and handling and include experiments to test ‘explosion free in a fire’ self-venting fuel storage tanks for use onboard marine vessels.

The UK National Clean Maritime Research Hub (UK-MaRes Hub) aims to accelerate the decarbonisation and elimination of air pollution from maritime activity in ports and at sea. As well as environmental impacts, the hub will also focus on the potential economic and social benefits of transitioning to a clean maritime future.

Funding for the Hub includes £7.4m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the UK Government’s Department for Transport, with an additional £13.9m financial and in-kind match funding from consortium universities and project partners.

The UK-MaRes Hub is a consortium of 13 universities led by Durham and including researchers from Ulster University alongside Aston, Birmingham, Brighton, City, Cranfield, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Solent, and St Andrews universities.

Welcoming the announcement, Director of HySAFER at Ulster University, Professor Vladimir Molkov, said:

“Ulster University is delighted to be announced as part of this consortium and to contribute to the hub’s activity through our internationally leading expertise and skills on hydrogen safety, and recently on ammonia safety. We look forward to working with our partners in efforts to create a cleaner maritime environment.”

Professor Tony Roskilly, Director of the UK-MaRes Hub at Durham University said:

“Our vision is to create a pioneering research hub providing technically, environmentally, socially and economically informed ways to decarbonise the maritime sector.

“The UK-MaRes Hub will harness the depth, breadth and diversity of research being undertaken in the UK to foster collaboration, drive forward innovation and transformation, and set a global benchmark for excellence in maritime research.”

Professor Miles Padgett, Interim Executive Chair of EPSRC, added:

“Investing in research and innovation is crucial to achieve the UK’s ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“Domestic shipping emits more polluting gases than buses and rail combined. A maritime research hub will bring together world-leading expertise and support the sector to develop and commercialise clean maritime fuels and technologies.”

Any organisation which can contribute to the research goals of the hub is invited to express an interest in joining by emailing: