Fully automated ships are designed to be ‘net positive’ by running on green hydrogen and collecting microplastics, the Department of Transport (DfT) said.
A fleet could secure 27 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the first year of operation, according to the DfT.
The idea has been hailed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as a prime example of how Britain can start to ‘rebuild greener’.
Another government-funded project is to develop charging points for electric boats connected to offshore wind turbines. They would work the same as electric car chargers, with sailors plugging in, charging their ship, and leaving.
Using renewable energy in this way could be the equivalent of taking more than 62,000 cars off the road, the DfT said.
The winners of the competition were announced as part of London International Shipping Week.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As a proud island nation built on our maritime prowess, it is right that we lead by example when it comes to decarbonizing the industry and building greener. .
“The projects announced today showcase the best of British innovation, revolutionizing existing technology and infrastructure to reduce emissions, create jobs and bring us even closer to our decarbonization goals.”
Dhruv Boruah, Founder and Managing Director of Oceanways, which develops the submarines, said: “Time is running out and it is imperative not to settle for 1% more efficiency in an existing system, but to rethink radically to create innovative solutions. . “
Meanwhile, the UK’s greenest cruise terminal will open at the port of Southampton on Wednesday.
The Horizon Cruise Terminal uses a solar panel roof and charges ships with clean energy.
The £ 55million facility allows cruise ships to connect to the national grid, reducing the time they need to run their engines in port.
Maritime Minister Robert Courts said: “Building state-of-the-art green infrastructure in cruise terminals is helping us move towards cleaner cruising, by creating more spaces for these ships to dock. and putting us on track to achieve net zero by 2050. “