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Developing the UK PEMD Supply Chain for the Marine Sector

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Developing the UK PEMD Supply Chain for the Marine Sector


From commercial freight shipping to privately-owned vessels, the marine sector plays a crucial role in keeping the world moving; but to futureproof the evolution of the sector, including meeting Net Zero by 2050, the marine sector will have to increase its investment in Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) in order to promote energy efficiency.

PEMD – the most important acronym most people have never heard of – are the enabling technologies that will make electrification possible, ensuring cleaner manufacturing and usage is possible and accessible within the marine sector.

Totalling nearly £80 million, UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Driving the Electric Revolution challenge – a government-funded programme – is investing into these electrification technologies to support the up-scale of PEMD Manufacturing.

The challenge aims to:

·       Leverage the UK’s world leading research capability in PEMD to help industry create the supply chains necessary to manufacture the PEMD products developed here. (is this line from a previous alert – it feels a bit clunky)

·       Identify gaps in the supply chains and help industry fill them

·       Ensure cooperation and collaboration so we don’t duplicate effort, waste time and can reuse solutions across all sectors

·       Help fill the skills gap by retraining, upskilling and repurposing engineers from traditional internal combustion businesses into PEMD supply chains.

It is the UK’s most important intervention into PEMD. Providing funding opportunities for collaboration between SMEs, big businesses and academia to create innovative and cost-effective solutions and establishing ‘best-in-class’ industrialisation facilities to create robust and resilient UK supply chains.

Thanks to UKRI, the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge has already invested in 40 ground-breaking PEMD projects, including many that can be applied to the marine sector with more funding successes yet to be announced.

One successfully funded project, ‘Conmotator’ (Combined convertor-motor to electronic commutator), investigates and addresses the key technological, integration and manufacturing challenges that will allow the commercial exploitation of an integrated electrical machine where the power electronics and motor are contained within a single physical unit at the multi-MW level.

The project, undertaken with consortia members; GE Power Conversion UK Limited and the University of Nottingham, develops and tests the interfaces that bridge existing Motor and Drive elements and will investigate the manufacturing and supply chain aspects related to megawatt scale integrated electrical machines, paving the way for full commercial exploitation.

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