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Port of London Authority launches Sustainable Innovation Fund

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has launched its first Sustainable Innovation Fund as a catalyst for trials of new and emerging technology which provide solutions suitable for recognised needs on the tidal Thames.

The initial call for innovation relates to a PLA commitment to seek technical, operational and investment business partners to establish the port’s first zero emission berth. The target date for the berth to be operational is 2025, or before, subject to availability of suitable technology and finance.

The process for submitting expressions of interest is being hosted by KTN, as an extension of the Decarbonising Ports & Harbours Innovation Network that they run. KTN is an organisation expert in matching technology developers with people looking for solutions, commercial analysis and funding solutions.

PLA director of planning & environment, James Trimmer, said:

“The Sustainable Innovation Fund is a major commitment from the PLA to support the ‘green housing’ of new technology. As a Trust Port working to improve the river for future generations, this is part of our support for the transition to Net Zero.

“Our aim is to see new solutions, trialled and tested on the Thames, and then taken forward to grow the clean economy. Developing technology with users on the Thames will help ensure river operators are less likely face problems like stranded assets and misdirected investments.”

As one of the UK’s busiest rivers in the UK, used by a wide array of vessels from the world’s largest container ships to small passenger vessels, the Thames provides the ideal technology test bed.

Last autumn, the PLA committed to achieve Net Zero in its own operations by 2040, or earlier. In 2017 it was the first UK port to introduce a green tariff for cleaner vessels calling in the port, publish the first UK port evidence-based air quality strategy in 2018 and last year released a further UK first: a roadmap for emissions reduction from inland vessels operating on the river.

“Leadership of this sort will help sustain long-term green growth on the Thames,” added PLA chief financial officer, Julie Tankard. “The Innovation Fund will create greater investment certainty and speed up the drive to decarbonisation.”

More information about the call for proposals for a Mobile Power Supply for a Zero Emission Berth on the Thames is available on the KTN website: https://www.ktninnovationexchange.co.uk/.

The closing date for submissions is noon 30 April 2021.