Plymouth harbour marina
The University of Plymouth is part of a transformative project that will showcase how clean maritime technologies can provide energy flexibility to harbours and ports, at the same time as benefitting the UK’s energy grid.
The Virtual Bunkering for Electric Vessels (VBEV) demonstration initiative marks the world's first vessel-to-grid project.
It will demonstrate some of the opportunities to be leveraged through bidirectional infrastructure, including the use of marine batteries to provide energy storage and management services to harbours, ports, and the grid. It will also aim to minimise costly grid upgrades, reduce energy bills, and increase renewables integration.
The project is being driven by a consortium with wide-ranging expertise in marine infrastructure, vessel manufacturing, software, and energy.
It is being led by Aqua superPower and, in addition to the University, other partners include: vessel manufacturers RS Electric and Ingenity; energy company EDF; City College Plymouth; research centre CENEX; and bi-directional software provider Fuuse Ltd.
Together, they hope to advance efforts to significantly slash carbon emissions and propel the maritime industry towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

This project is another important step in the UK's transition to clean maritime technologies. There is clear appetite from both vessel and harbour owners to see the sector grow over the coming years, but technical questions remain that need to be answered. One of those is around battery performance and health and this project will begin addressing that, while aligning with the growing commercial interest in clean maritime and how it can be rolled out more widely.

Lee DurndellLee Durndell
Lecturer in Chemistry

Enhanced energy management will allow sites to better adapt to increasing demands on power from electrification of vessels, potentially reduce the grid connection where capacity is limited or costly and integrate more renewables. We are proud to lead this vital project that demonstrates Aqua superPower’s first-class marine charging expertise and positions the UK as a vessel-to-grid technology pioneer.

Alex Bamberg
CEO of Aqua superPower 

City College Plymouth is delighted to be involved in this incredible innovative project. To meet the current and future demand for expertise in the Blue (marine) and Green (renewable) sectors of industry, we intend to build an accredited college course based on the Design, Installation and Maintenance of Marine Charging systems. and V2X. This demonstration sits perfectly in between these important agendas concerning the future of our oceans, energy and economy.

Lance Chatfield MBA MSET
Executive of Technical Innovation at City College Plymouth 
The VBEV project is being supported through the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), funded under the UK SHORE programme and delivered through Innovate UK. It builds on a number of previous collaborations involving the University and several of the VBEV project partners.
It will produce the first vessels capable of bi-directional power transfer, setting a standard for other vessel manufacturers and providing world leading research and development opportunities in addition to a commercial product for customers.
It will introduce software upgrades and innovative charge controllers into electric vessels, enabling seamless communication between batteries and bi-directional chargers, laying the foundation for a vessel-to-grid management platform.
It will also test pivotal scenarios focused around the export of energy to the grid and on-site energy management, catering to the diverse needs of ports, harbours, vessel operators, and grid network operators.

Trailblazing clean maritime innovation

At Plymouth, we are among the UK’s leading proponents of clean maritime research, with a track record in consistently securing government funding through the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. 
Through engagement with business and the wider scientific community, we are co-creating ways of transforming this research into practical solutions to challenges faced by the marine and maritime sectors.
electric charging facilities