The Neptune Project was a feasibility study that aimed to develop a desk-based decision modelling and support system digital tool to help analyse, scope and develop ORION marine opportunities. It looked at how to model the current situation within Shetland and how to identify the correct path to decarbonise the marine sector.

Neptune was funded through the UK Government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition which sought projects researching decarbonisation of the marine environment and sector. The project ran for 7-months starting on 7 September 2021 and was completed by 31 March 2022. The University of Strathclyde led the project and worked with Shetland Islands Council, Ricardo who focused on simulation of the vessel energy use, review of the land-based elements of the project and development of the Decision Modelling and Support System (DEMOSS) tool, and Babcock who focused on vessel retrofit/replacement and a selection of clean fuels.

The objectives of the project were:

  • mapping the fleets operating around Shetland;
  • collecting data about their operations and power usage and what it is used for;
  • gathering data regarding potential energy generation within Islands for the Marine Sector;
  • mapping the port facilities and understand any limitations;
  • identifying appropriate clean decarbonised technologies for each type of ship;
  • creating digital model to capture scenarios for each vessel type;
  • creating desktop tool that can model vessels; and
  • looking at what clean energy is applicable to them and build a digital model of the energy system within Shetland using the ‘well to wake’ system.

There were 3 phases to the project:

  • Phase 1 – data gathering from various stakeholders
  • Phase 2 – pilot the digital model looking at the critical factors in changing to clean fuels.
  • Phase 3 – integrate the digital twin models to an Island Digital Dashboard.

The Neptune Project worked to create a digital modelling tool to help make informed decisions on what types of fuel to change to, when they may be available all heading towards net zero targets. This tool is applicable not just in Shetland, but across Scotland and the UK.