BAE Systems works on two London river projects with a world potential

Written by Nick Blenkey
gerry with Tower Bridge backdrop

One BAE project is with ferry operator Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, the other is with Cory, which transports waste by river

With funding from the U.K. Department for Transportation, BAE Systems is collaborating with two other companies to design, develop, and demonstrate new power and propulsion technologies for London that have the potential to reduce emissions on waterways worldwide.

BAE is working on two separate projects. One is with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, a ferry operator, and the other is with Cory, the only U.K. recycling and waste management company to transport waste by river, using tugs and barges.

In both projects, BAE Systems will use its expertise in providing integrated solutions in electric propulsion and power management, along with its experience in vessel autonomy.The projects will also look at how onboard and shore based high power, rapid charging points can be developed to provide charging stations for vessels to keep on the move.

These two projects are part of the Innovate UK Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition and will each start as a feasibility study that will show the technological and commercial viability of connected system designs.

“The U.K. government has set robust targets for nationwide net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and we all have a part to play to achieve that ambition, but we can’t do this on our own,” said Paul Simavari, business development manager for BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems sector. “The Clean Maritime Demonstrators are an exciting new approach to the zero emissions challenge and by bringing together companies with expertise across the industry, we will be able to create a cleaner, more sustainable and more environmentally friendly marine sector.”

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers operates 21 vessels along the River Thames, providing links across the city for commuters and tourists. This project will investigate how low- and zero-emission propulsion and power management technology, which includes intelligent controls, can make a positive difference in transporting people and goods around a busy capital city.

The second, separate, study with Cory will look at how low and zero-emission, propulsion and power management technology, combined with autonomous capabilities can bring cleaner energy to the waste management industry. Cory already turns waste into construction materials and a clean source of energy that feeds back into London’s main power grid and that could potentially supply Thames River users.

Cory’s director of logistics, Fran Comerford-Cole, said: “Cory’s collaboration with BAE Systems is an important, coordinated effort to reduce shipping emissions and explore the potential of autonomous propulsion. As a business, we are proud of our stewardship of the Thames and the river’s role in reducing the environmental impact of our operations. We want to take this a step further by helping to drive innovation in lower and zero carbon marine vessels. In turn, this will help the UK on its road – or voyage – to net zero.”

The Clean Maritime Energy Competition will expand BAE Systems’ existing clean energy footprint in London, where its engine drive technology is used om nearly 1,000 of the city’s iconic red buses.

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