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The University of Southampton

University and Shell open new research centre for a cleaner shipping industry

Published: 3 October 2019
Amee Mitchell
Amee Mitchell, a Southampton shipping graduate now working at Shell spoke at the launch

The University of Southampton and Shell Shipping & Maritime have launched the Centre for Maritime Futures which will bring together university and industry partners to transform the energy shipping industry to be safer, cleaner and more efficient.

The Centre has received a gift of £1.5m from Shell Shipping & Maritime, the largest corporate gift in the University’s history.

Drawing on the extensive expertise in maritime research in both institutions and using ground-breaking digital and technological advances, the Centre will play a vital role in delivering the UN International Maritime Organisation’s goal to reduce greenhouse emissions from international shipping by 50 percent by 2050.

“The maritime sector needs to work together to meet the IMO’s decarbonisation goals,” Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President of Shell Shipping & Maritime said. “The Centre for Maritime Futures will play an important role in bringing together researchers, students and industry to tackle challenges facing the sector. We look forward to working with the University of Southampton and, through focusing on the three key areas of decarbonisation, digitalisation and safety, we hope to drive progress across the industry.”

Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton said:

“It is exciting to be able to announce the launch of the Centre for Maritime Futures in my first week in my new role at Southampton.

“Industry and researchers need to join forces and take a collaborative lead in creating cleaner, more sustainable energy –a key societal goal. Thanks to this gift of £1.5 million we can take our long-standing collaboration with Shell even further.

“Experts at Shell and the University are among the world’s leading researchers in the maritime sector and I am sure this will be a very successful partnership to address the challenges of cutting carbon emissions in the shipping industry.”

This announcement builds on successful partnerships between the University and Shell, working together to find solutions that make a difference to industry and society.

Dominic Hudson, Shell Professor of Ship Safety and Efficiency at the University of Southampton added, “We have worked closely with Shell in recent years to reduce the CO2 emissions of their current fleet through the application of machine-learning to optimise hydrodynamic operation of vessels. Other projects have investigated the fuel-saving potential of new technologies such as wind propulsion devices and the use of air lubrication to reduce friction from water.

“We are therefore excited to have the opportunity to broaden and deepen our collaboration with Shell to find new ways to decarbonise shipping through the study of future fuels, to further improve fleet operational efficiencies and to reduce the potential of harm for seafarers.”

The centre will also provide funding for PhD students and Post-doctoral Fellowships at the University, ensuring students and researchers at the university can continue to work alongside experts at Shell to address critical challenges facing the maritime sector.

Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said:

“I am delighted that this new maritime centre will build upon our long history of working with Shell. This gift will enable us to expand the range of research activities developing the knowledge, skills and technologies that will contribute toward Shell continuing to lead in a clean and safe maritime sector.”

Mark Spearing, Grahaeme Henderson & Philip Greenish sign the agreement
Prof Al-Hashimi
Prof Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dean of Engineering & Physical Sciences
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