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Expleo, Bibby Marine and Houlder awarded Department for Transport (DfT) funding to develop green maritime solution

Expleo, Bibby Marine and Houlder successful in joint proposal to the Department for Transport (DfT) Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

Preston, UK 15 September 2021 – Expleo, Bibby Marine and Houlder today announce that their joint proposal for the Department for Transport (DfT) Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition has been successful. In being named a winner, the three companies will receive a share of the £20 million government fund to finance a feasibility study to fully realise the zero emission (ZE) new-build and low emission (LE) retrofit options available to mid-to-large size vessels, focusing on the Bibby Wavemaster Service operation vessels (SOVs).

Expleo will focus on the retrofit solution, whilst Houlder , a design and engineering consultancy, will further develop the design for a new-build vessel, building on Bibby Marine’s existing MarRI-UK research and development project ‘WaveMaster Zero C’.

The retrofit solution will assess the SOVs operational profile to determine the feasibility of modifying the existing vessel infrastructure (such as methanol/ammonia conversion of the engines and tanks), as well as evaluating technologies such as fuel cells and batteries, amongst others, resulting in a clear plan for the decarbonisation of SOVs for both the short term (retrofit) and the long term (new-build).

Commenting on the award of the grant, Jeff Hoyle, EVP Global Aerospace & Defence of Expleo, said: “We are delighted that the Department for Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition has recognised the sustainability impact our project could have for the shipping industry and offshore wind supply chains.”

“The UK is the global leader in offshore wind energy, and, in an industry that is strongly focused on sustainability and zero emissions, it makes sense that the supply chain is also as decarbonised as practically possible, with retrofit and new-build solutions. We look forward to moving this project forward, using the best in innovative green technology, complex engineering, and a partnership mindset to contribute to a greener world.”

Rob Osborne, Innovation Engineer and Project Manager at Bibby Marine leading the Zero-C project stated: “This project furthers the fantastic work undertaken by the WaveMaster Zero C study and brings the due date of zero emission vessels within British waters and elsewhere ever closer. Bibby Marine relish the opportunity to lead this work with Houlder and Expleo and are keen to build our knowledge of how to achieve true maritime decarbonisation.”

Jonathan Strachan, New Build & Vessel Conversion Director at Houlder Ltd, added: “We are pleased to be working with Expleo and Bibby Marine on another design and engineering project with sustainability at its core. Strong collaboration between industry experts will be critical to the success of the UK’s maritime energy transition. We are also grateful to the Department for Transport for recognising the potential of this project in its Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.”

“There is no single best solution to the maritime decarbonisation challenge but there are a multitude of effective technologies and adaptations that can be deployed today as well as many more in development. It is important to determine how they can best package together for greatest effect – to achieve the best emissions reductions and return on investment. We are looking forward to getting started on this project and also seeing the outcomes from the other projects that have been awarded funding.”

The project titled ‘Feasibility study into decarbonisation of SOV newbuild and retrofits’ is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

Announced in March 2020, and part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology, the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition is a £20m investment from government alongside a further c.£10mfrom industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector. The programme is supporting 55 projects across the UK, including projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and from the South West to the North East of England. As set out in the Clean Maritime Plan (2019), Government funding has been used to support early-stage research relating to clean maritime. The programme will be used to support the research, design and development of zero emission technology and infrastructure solutions for maritime and to accelerate decarbonisation in the sector.

The competition aims to identify innovative projects that will help the maritime industry meet green targets, in line with the UK Government’s Maritime 2050 strategy paper including a transition to Net Zero by 2050.

The project began on 1st September 2021 and is due to end in March 2022

In June 2021, Expleo published its in-depth whitepaper, “Clean Green Marine: The race to achieve zero-emission shipping by 2050” which is available to read in full HERE.

About Expleo

Expleo is a trusted partner for end-to-end, integrated engineering, quality services and management consulting for digital transformation. We help businesses harness unrelenting technological change to successfully deliver innovations that will help them gain a competitive advantage and improve the everyday lives of people around the globe.

Expleo is active in the technology-intensive sectors that make business and society more connected, sustainable and secure. We offer unique access to industry-specific expertise and best practice across the following services: consultancy and business agility, product design, production and in-service support, as well as continuous quality.

Our 13,500 people bring the right balance of boldness and reliability that businesses need to succeed in this disruptive era. We are active in 30 countries, generating €903 million in revenue in 2020.

Expleo’s network of affiliate companies includes Aerotec, Athos Aéronautique, Double Consulting, Edison Technical Recruitment, Moorhouse Consulting, Silver Atena, Stirling Dynamics, Sud Aviation Services, Trissential and Vista Technologies.

We make a difference in the following areas: Aerospace, Automotive, Banking & Financial services, Defence, Energy & Utilities, Healthcare, Industrial, Insurance, Media, Naval, Public Sector, Retail & Logistics, Telecoms, Transportation.

For more information:

About Bibby Marine

Bibby Marine own and operate six floating accommodation vessels; namely the Bibby Challenge, Renaissance, Stockholm, Progress, Bergen and Pioneer all designed to provide nearshore floating accommodation services across the globe to a range of clients from construction through to hospitality. Bibby Marine is also the operator of niche marine assets owning and operating two Walk to Work Service Operations Vessels (W2W SOV); namely the Bibby WaveMaster 1 and Bibby WaveMaster Horizon. Bibby is a long-established widely recognised British, family-owned company.

Bibby Marine is a subsidiary of Bibby Line Group – a diverse, international business, operating in 12 countries, employing around 2,300 colleagues, and managing over £1billion of funds. Bibby Line Group is proud to deliver personal, responsive, and flexible solutions to customers since 1807. One of the longest established family businesses in the UK, the Group has companies in the financial services, marine and infrastructure sectors. To find out more visit

About Houlder

Houlder has been a wholly independent provider of design, engineering services and equipment for over thirty years. The company has built on its marine and oil & gas pedigree to proactively engage with emerging markets such as offshore renewable energy and LNG distribution. Houlder employs 80 professionals across the UK, supporting a network of global projects across the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, North America, South Korea, and Singapore.

Houlder’s project managers, naval architects, marine engineers, and consultants, support clients through the entire procurement cycle from conceptual ideas to through-life operations. Its diverse client base includes such organisations as the UK Government (2017 National Shipbuilding Strategy), Oil & Gas Majors, the Society of Gas as Marine Fuel (SGMF), Eon Climate & Renewables, Siemens Wind Power, Technip, Subsea 7, Shell, BP Exploration, MPI Offshore, Aquatic, Transocean, Dolphin Drilling, and Schlumberger & Ensco.

Houlder’s corporate affiliations include Subsea UK, NOF-Energy, The British Rig Owners Association and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, and the company holds numerous business and industry awards for its innovation, design and business success.

For more information on Houlder’s latest projects, visit


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