British Queen celebrates

A £5.5 million green retrofit using UK Government funding is underway on a research vessel based at Bangor University.  

The Prince Madog ship is a multi-purpose research platform for conducting research into the science of the seas around the UK, including the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea, and has been operating for more than two decades.

This week (Thursday 2nd November) Wales Office Minister Dr.James Davies visited the ship which is used for researching the biology, chemistry, geology, and physics of our seas. The vessel is also used to train the next generation of scientists at Bangor’s School of Ocean Sciences.

The vessel is currently undergoing a two-year retrofit to equip it with a hydrogen propulsion system with a diesel-fuelled main engine to enable zero emission operation at slow speeds or over short distances. In normal operation, it will reduce emissions by up to 60%. 

The UK Government is funding the retrofit, with the Department for Transport providing £5.5 million from the £60 million Innovative Clean Maritime Technologies fund. 

In the future, the operators of the Prince Madog anticipates the vessel will receive its hydrogen from Anglesey’s proposed Holyhead Hydrogen Hub backed by £4.8m in UK Government funding. 

Over the last two decades data collected from the Prince Madog has contributed to some major scientific findings including:

Safeguarding sustainable fisheries by assessing the impact of trawling on the seabed.

Revealing the past climate of coastal seas.

Locating and identifying shipwrecks.

Predicting weather and climate by developing new techniques and measurements used that are now used globally.

Supporting the marine renewable energy industry by assessing potential sites for development and undertaking ecosystem and seabed assessments

Producing new techniques to measure ocean turbulence and the impact on the mixing of different waters in the ocean.

Assessing the impact of the physical environment on the foraging energetics of seabirds and the consequences for breeding success

Wales Office Minister, Dr. James Davies said:

It was fascinating to learn about the Prince Madog as well as meeting some of Bangor University’s research staff and hear more about the work they undertake.

The ship has been a vital tool in countless studies over the last 20 years and has helped Bangor University become a world-leading destination for studying and researching the marine environment.

It is vital that we all reduce our carbon footprint and I’m delighted that the UK Government is funding the work necessary to equip this fantastic ship for the future.

Professor Paul Spencer, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) said:

The Prince Madog has been an asset to Wales, the UK, and internationally, both in education and research.

The impact of research over decades by the School of Ocean Sciences is remarkable. It has changed science in a number of spheres, re-written textbooks and played an important role in supporting the continued sustainable development of the marine environment.

We look forward to many more years of ground-breaking research and impact from the decks of the Prince Madog. Photo by Andrew Woodvine from Bangor, Wikimedia commons.