The UK's best connected port

Great discoveries start here

Sustainability and innovation

We’re excited about our bold plans to tackle emissions and carbon – it’s important we do what we can as an industry, for our city and which will ultimately help us to become one of the UK’s first zero emission ports.

Our plans, which aim to improve air quality and our carbon footprint, have been put together with the government’s Maritime 2050 strategy in mind.

Most importantly, to make sure our plans have an impact, we will be open and transparent with our air quality monitoring data. This means investing in the latest technology to capture what’s happening at the port and what’s having an effect.

We’re also a committed and active member of the Portsmouth Climate Action Board. The board was set up by Portsmouth City Council in 2019, to help drive the city’s response to the climate emergency.

Current projects

  • Solar PV installation (currently being installed) which features solar carports in a UK-first for a port.
  • Artificial Intelligence/machine learning controlled lithium/lead storage battery being commissioned.
  •  A 1MW lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (BESS) being installed for storing renewable energy from the solar arrays.
  • New shore power facilities on Berth 1 for smaller cruise ships, powered by on-site battery storage.
  • A commitment to investigate introducting shore power for larger vessels.
  • New zero emission port light vehicles and vans powered by electricity.
  • New electric vehicle charging points for customers at the port.
  • Planning applications submitted for land-based wind turbines.
  • Portico now using Gas to Liquid Fuel (GTL), instead of diesel, reducing emissions including particulates.
  • Portico pre-filtering of diesel oil to large cranes to screen-out particles and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Five air quality sensors fitted around the port with live data.
  • A 35kW Hydrogen Electrolyser Pilot to be installed at the port in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth, fully funded under the Clean Maritime Demonstration Call.
  • A 300HP Hydrogen powered launch for port conservancy, mooring operations and safety patrols fully funded by the Clean Maritime Demonstration Call built in collaboration with Portsmouth and Brighton Universities.
  •  A virtual ‘Digital Twin’ of the port to be used to investigate energy management potential for visiting ships fully funded by the Clean Maritime Demonstration Call, and in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth.
  • SBRI funded study at Portico into the use of geo-spatial data for reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality and the potential use for ‘last mile’ logistics between Portsmouth and the Freeport area.
  • An application to Innovate UK for a 1MW Flow-Battery prototype, barge mounted, as a scalable solution to the lack of UK infrastructure to supply through the grid. This in conjunction with Marine South East.
  • In collaboration with the University of Portsmouth, the development of an external boundary fine particle filter to capture and measure fine particle emissions from port operations at the port boundary.
  • Feasibility to provide shore power for visiting fishing vessels at the Camber.

Sustainability is important for our customers too

Since 2015, environmental issues have taken precedence in the shipping sector. The EU Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive focussed on shore-power and liquified nitrogen gas (LNG), with LNG taking priority. Alongside this, new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations on air pollution limits focussed ship-owners’ attention on scrubber technology. All vessels calling at the port meet these requirements.

Brittany Ferries are the port’s largest customer and user of the port, accounting for 60% of the port income. They have commenced fleet renewals which includes the introduction of two LNG ferries, the first of which will arrive in 2022. Additionally, Brittany Ferries announced that orders have been placed for two hybrid LNG / electric ferries for sailings to France from Portsmouth commencing 2024/5.

Part of the port’s business plan is to grow the ‘niche’ cruise market of luxury boutique and expedition ships. These regular callers at the port are focused on environmental measures and are the latest generation of new builds which optimise fuel and energy performance in order to improve sustainability and social impact.

For example, Virgin Voyages ‘Scarlet Lady’ incorporates a number of sustainable measures that are not limited to but include the following:

  • A Wärtsilä open/closed loop scrubber which removes 97% of sulphur dioxide emissions as well as a separate selective catalytic reduction system that removes up to 75% of Nitrogen oxides.
  • Clean Energy Technology that converts heat from the ship’s engines into electricity, reducing the amount of fuel needed to power the ship.
  • Eco-mode sensors within cabins that switch off lights, close window curtains and lower air-conditioning when the cabins are unoccupied.
  • Single-use plastics are banned on all Virgin ships including bottles, cups, cutlery, straws, bags etc.
  • Standard disposable items used in food, beverage and hotel operations have been reduced from 42 to 16 items. Those disposable items that could not be replaced with a reusable item are sources responsibly from recycled materials.
  • There are no wasteful food buffets on-board which prevents an estimated 225 tonnes of wasted food per annum. Instead all food is made to order.
  • Water is conserved on-board using a vacuum toilet system that uses only 1 litre per flush rather than the more usual 4 litres and the ship (when at sea) is 100% self-sufficient for water.
  • Virgin Voyages are looking at a system of microwave assisted pyrolysis (MAP) that will eventually lead to all waste products from their ships into clean power.

What we’re already doing

  • Portsmouth is within a SECA (Sulphur Emission Control Area) which requires sulphur content of all bunker fuel to be below 0.1%. This is why devices on ships called scrubbers, are fitted to remove particulate matter and harmful components, such as sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Alternatively, ships use just high grade MGO (Marine Gas Oil) instead, to keep the emissions below the 0.1% level.
  • We have one of the UK’s most sustainable and energy efficient public buildings, which has achieved a ‘very good’ rating under the international environmental BREEAM standard. Innovative technology includes sea water harvesting used to flush toilets and regulate temperature in the building. Wind capture is also utilised on the roof
  • Portico, who operate the international cargo terminal at port, have invested in a fleet of electric forklift trucks.
  • Investment in LED floodlighting around the port which has reduced the amount of energy used for that purpose by around 60%.
  • The opening of the Trafalgar Gate Link Road had reduced millions of miles of commuter and lorry travel each year since its introduction. Prior to Trafalgar Gate being opened, all traffic for Portico and Portsmouth Naval Base had to travel into the city.

Interreg innovation projects

  • The new sustainable linkspan at Berth 4, installed as part of the Interreg 2 Seas Ports Energy and Carbon Savings (PECS) project, has soft start electric motors, LED lighting and steel of greater quality to increase longevity from 25 years to 35 years.
  • The Interreg 2 Seas Ports Energy SPEED (Smart Ports Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development)  project is building an ecosystem for smart port app development in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK, bridging the gap between the worlds of European ports and the nascent data science – IoT market. Find out more.