Dhruv Boruah, an engineer and environmentalist passionate about the ocean, is on a mission to transform and cleanse the way we transport goods, and eventually people.
The British Indian CEO’s green hydrogen-powered under-water transportation submarine system was named among the winners of the UK government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.
Boruah’s Oceanways won backing from the £23-million government-funded research and development (R&D) drive with its concept of a fully-automated net positive submarine fleet, powered entirely on green hydrogen, could help cleanse the oceans of toxic pollution by collecting microplastics on its pilot route between and Belfast in Northern Ireland. While transporting cargo shipments, the fleet could secure significant emission savings of 27 tonnes of carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions in the first year of operation, with an overall mission to reduce 300 million tonnes of CO2 as the fleet grows.
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Boruah, Founder and CEO of Oceanways, said: “We would like to thank our Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP for selecting Oceanways to support the Department for Transport’s mission to decarbonise shipping and aid our Prime Minister’s commitment to build back better.
“Time is running out and it is imperative we don’t settle for 1 per cent more efficiency in an existing system, but instead, radically rethink to create innovative solutions.”
The entrepreneur is confident that the autonomous, or driverless, system may well be in a position to transport humans in the future, following its successful use to transport products.
“It’s not just #JetZero. Oceanways has assembled a world-class team to pioneer #SubZero by creating the new market of net positive underwater transport systems with zero-emission cargo submarines as an innovative tool to decarbonise shipping and clean up our ocean,” he said.
The green submarines are expected to be in use across British waters by 2026 and help address freight traffic challenges, including shortage of drivers. Oceanways says it will be servicing short point to point routes with fast, delivery. It claims the submarines are superior to a cargo ship in almost every way: "not only they are weather independent, can reach hard to reach areas and a lot cheaper to build and operate, but it’s also quieter, secure, more stable, and cleaner, with zero fumes or pollutants".
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“As a proud island nation built on our maritime prowess, it is only right that we lead by example when it comes to decarbonising the sector and building back greener,” said Shapps, the minister who unveiled the prize-winners during the ongoing London Shipping Week in Greenwich this week.
“The projects announced today showcase the best of British innovation, revolutionising existing technology and infrastructure to slash emissions, create jobs and get us another step closer to our decarbonisation targets,” he said.
The government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition is supporting the development of innovative technology to propel commitment to have zero emission ships operating commercially by 2025.