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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H02011X/1
Title: The High Seas Project: Assessing the technical and operational scope for rapid carbon emission reduction from global shipping
Principal Investigator: Larkin, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Anderson, Professor K Stansby, Professor PK Filippone, Dr A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr SL Mander
Project Partners:
Department: Earth Atmospheric and Env Sciences
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2010 Ends: 31 December 2013 Value (£): 515,543
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Transport Ops & Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 Sep 2009 Energy - Low Carbon Shipping Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Though the shipping industry is considering the formation of a discrete emissions trading scheme for the industry as a whole, some in the industry foresee shipping emissions increasing out to 2050 and beyond (albeit at a slower rate than under business as usual). However given the deep and very rapid cuts required in globalemissions to avoid dangerous climate change, this is no longer a realistic option. Instead, it will be necessary for shipping, along with aviation and all other sectors of the global economy, to stabilise emissions in the near-term and then begin the process of making substantial reductions. This project aims to explore potential opportunities within the shipping industry for making such large, step-change reductions in emissions.The first step in reducing emissions is to be able to accurately measure them. However, there is currently considerable uncertainty with regard to the level of shipping emissions and this project will begin by developing a methodology that aims to substantially reduce this level of uncertainty. The project then moves on to the issue of apportionment, exploring existing methodologies and developing newones to determine which nations are responsible for what proportion of historic and current shipping emissions. The approaches developed will be used to re-calculate the UK's shipping emissions over the last decade. The UK Government's carbon budget out to 2050 includes shipping emissions and, thus, even if a discrete trading scheme for shipping is established, it will still be necessary to determine the proportion of future global shipping emissions for which the UK is responsible. This will be possible using the apportionment methodologies developed.Following work on the measurement and apportionment of emissions, the project will explore the technical and operational measures available for reducing global shipping emissions by an amount sufficient for the UK to meet its overall climate change objectives. This will involve investigating novel combinations of both existing technologies (e.g. advanced propeller coatings) and operational changes (e.g. reduced queuing at ports) and the potential for emerging technologies (e.g. kite-assisted sailing).The theoretical emissions reduction potential of these various measures (technical and operational) will then be calculated, and discussed with shipping stakeholders to obtain feedback on whether the reduction potential is plausible. Stakeholder views will also be sought on the barriers that exist within the shipping system to realising this theoretical potential and the types of interventions that can overcome such barriers and accelerate both the take-up of low-carbon options and the innovation process. To gain further insights into the workings of the shipping system, case studies will be made of various products and commodities, tracking their journey through the system from producer to consumer. The project will conclude by using the various research findings to develop a series of socio-technical scenarios for reducing UK shipping emissions in line with the UK's carbon budget. Again, feedback from shipping stakeholders on these scenarios will be sought.The project will adopt an explicitly interdisciplinary approach drawing on and integrating insights from a range of scientific and social science disciplines and the project team includes individuals with substantial expertise in various aspects of international transport, renewable technology, emission pathways and energy systems. The team also has experience of apportionment methodology, stakeholder engagement and scenario development in relation to the aviation industry and will transfer this experience to the investigation of the shipping system. It is envisaged that this research will be of significant benefit to policy makers, the shipping industry and academics working in the field.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk