Shields Ferry: How a share of £23 million is helping to create a greener trip across the Tyne

The project to reduce the carbon emissions of the ferry has been backed by the Department of Transport and involves Nexus, who operate the ferry, working with Newcastle University

Nexus are working with Newcastle University on a project to reduce the carbon emissions of the Shields Ferry.

The project, called CLEANFERRY, has received financial backing from the Department of Transport (DfT).

Sign up to our NewcastleWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Over £23 million has been allocated to 55 initiatives to reduce emissions from the maritime sector across the UK.

The Shields Ferry is dependent on fossil fuels and the project will see Newcastle University experts working with Nexus and engineering specialist Royston to help transition the ferry to run carbon free.

Helen Mathews, Head of Corporate Planning at Nexus said: “We are really excited to be working on this project with the University and Royston. The Shields Ferry is an important link in our public transport offer, and it supports tourism and leisure around the mouth of the Tyne and beyond.

“A key element of our vision for Nexus over the next five years is to improve our environmental performance and reduce our carbon footprint across the business. 

“The CLEANFERRY project fits in perfectly with that and will help us to identify the right mix of technology and operational processes to minimise the carbon footprint of the service.”

Academics will develop a detailed technology route map for the Shields Ferry service based on data intelligence, innovative solutions and energy efficient operational strategies for the transition to a carbon-free offer.

The project team will gain a detailed understanding of ferry energy flows, including an accurate measure of the ferry’s existing carbon footprint. This will be followed by a review of technology options for retrofitting or upgrading the ferries.

Dr Roberto Palacin, Reader in Transport Futures and Director of Mechanical Engineering and Marine Technology at the School of Engineering at Newcastle University said: “CLEANFERRY is the first step of a fantastic journey to decarbonise the Shields Ferry and work with partners to offer carbon neutral mobility solutions. I’m very excited about the potential impact on people and place resulting from this research.”

The Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition was launched in March 2021 as part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan.

Building on the vision set out in the Department for Transport’s Clean Maritime Plan 2019, the competition has allocated over £23m match-funding to UK innovators.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP said: “As a proud island nation built on our maritime prowess, it is only right that we lead by example when it comes to decarbonising the sector and building back greener.

“The projects announced showcase the best of British innovation, revolutionising existing technology and infrastructure to slash emissions, create jobs and get us another step closer to our decarbonisation targets.”