The global 0.50% sulphur entered into force in 2020, and more than 70,000 ships are affected by the regulation

The Challenge

Stricter limits on sulphur (SOx) emissions are already in place in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in Europe and the Americas, and new control areas are being established in ports and coastal areas in China. Ships burn around 15% of their total fuel while in ports. Shipping emissions in ports are substantial, accounting for 18 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, 0.4 million tonnes of NOx, 0.2 million of SOx and 0.03 million tonnes of PM10.

Around 85% of emissions come from containerships and tankers. Container ships have short port stays, but high emissions during these stays. (ITF Shipping Emissions in Ports 2014)

The Opportunity

Study says shipping's decarbonisation will cost upwards of US$1Tn

“A new study by UMAS and the Energy Transitions Commission says that massive investment is required if the shipping industry is to meet IMO’s 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 50% (from 2008 levels) Undertaken for the Getting to Zero Coalition – a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum, the Friends of Ocean Action, and the World Economic Forum – the study states that, depending on the production method, the cumulative investment needed between 2030 and 2050 to halve shipping’s emissions would amount to between US $1-1.4Tn, an average of US $50-70Bn annually for 20 years.” - Riviera News, 2020 

And further investments of some US $400Bn over 20 years would be required if shipping is to fully decarbonize by 2050, bringing the estimated total to US $1.4-1.9Tn

Shipping’s decarbonisation transition will require infrastructure investments in new fuel production, supply chains, and a new or retrofitted fleet, according to the study.

Overall, the majority of the capital expenditure required to halve maritime emissions by 2050 would be in land-based infrastructure and production facilities for low-carbon fuels

The Challenge

The marine environment is hostile. The life cycle of materials and electronics is limiting with temperature, UV and saltwater damage being a huge challenge.

Grafmarine have formulated new materials to manage these effects. We have created our own unique composites with state-of-the-art properties, they are durable, fire-retardant and combined with the latest technology in supportive intelligent electronics.

Our market access began with Innovate UK finance for Proof of Market which validated the Grafmarine tile concept. We commissioned a market report from an organisation that complies information for the EU, and UK governments, who know where every ship will be built in the next 20 years. We have also engaged with IMO Ship designers and architects to overlay the product onto existing ships, and are working with an offshore catapult to validate our data.


By developing software we understand where we can make the most impact, globally, looking at solar data, shipping routes and using this information to influence our product development.

Our tiles can be easily replaced, using magnetic fixings, this makes them future proof for easy updating on a ongoing basis. We also see second life use for any tiles removed, into less energy demanding environments at a reduced but profitable cost.

The Solution

As the marine sector moves towards zero emissions, Grafmarine’s energy deck system will challenge the reliance on heavy marine fuels in propulsion and port power by providing an alternative source of renewable energy.

Working with the UK’s leading Universities and research institutes in 2D materials development we are adapting ground-breaking innovations for advanced energy storage and conductive surfaces, our Nanodeck power generation system is a unique solution to reduce global shipping’s carbon footprint and meet its net zero goals. We are also partnering with one of Europe’s most innovative PV companies to prototype a novel PV printing technique.

Grafmarine’s Nanodeck can be fitted to any vessel or structure and turn it into an energy generating surface and, because its modular, it can be adapted to fit specific shapes and cover limitless areas. It is easy to install and maintain on new ships, retrofitted on to an existing vessel fleet or installed on to onshore assets in ports or marinas. Attaching the system to the desire surface will not compromise the super structure, as it uses magnetic fixings.


Nanodeck integrated energy system is updatable and provides an ever increasing level of a ship’s entire energy requirement. Our technology roadmap will deliver technology updates into the future, using new materials, processes and technology to provide increasing levels of energy performance. 

System prototypes will undergo rigorous testing in lab and marine environments, we anticipate early commercial products to be available towards the end of 2021 and into 2022. Grafmarine is actively looking for partners to support the next steps towards industry accreditation with live ‘on-vessel’ testing and then on to commercialisation in 2021.

Grafmarine has received Innovate UK funding as well as working with four of the UK Catapult Centres and a number of commercial partners. Nanodeck is designed to last as long as a ship’s life cycle.

Our Partners

  • Innovate UK
  • UK Catapult CPI
  • UK Catapult MTC
  • UK Catapult NCC
  • UK Catapult ORE
  • UK Catapult AMRC
  • Graphene Manchester
  • Daresbury SciTech
  • OpTIC (Glyndwr University)
  • Manchester Met University
  • University of Bangor
  • University of Swansea

Prototype example

We have a digital case study based upon an existing tanker which indicates what outputs we can achieve. This is based upon live data from our early 2020
prototype with existing ship build data.

We aim to double the energy output over the next two years. As we continue to develop further energy storage technology and improve PV technology.

“Peak energy production is reasonable, at 10% of propulsion power. It may be sufficient to run the hotel load if the sun is shining!”
Senior Naval Architect Consultant

Competition and current market

Reduced Fossil Fuel Consumption and Less Noxious Gas Emissions Pathway to Zero Emission Shipping within the Circular Global Economy

When a ship is at anchor or in port, batteries approved for use on marine vessels can provide an alternative source of power - thereby reducing the fuel used by auxiliary generators. In certain situations, it will also be possible for a ship to operate emission free when in port which will become an increasingly important capability as port authorities implement strict airborne emission control regulations.

Other integrated renewable energy technologies such as combine wind & solar power systems, are designed for large ships that operate at sea, they are not suitable solutions for small vessels that can be simply scaled down. Ships that operate at sea differ in design from smaller vessels that operate on bays and on harbours, therefore an integrated wind & solar power system for ocean-going ships are specifically designed for that purpose.  Nanodeck has the flexibility to be used on any type of vessel, small or large.

Integrated Rigid Sail & Solar Power System

  • Not scalable to smaller vessels
  • Structural vessel changes required
  • Not suitable for adverse weather
  • Wind directional management required
  • Cost of dry-docking to install
  • Regular maintenance costs

Scrubber Technology

  • Disposal of highly toxic chemicals
  • Uses fossil fuels
  • Structural changes to ship required
  • Cost up to $6+ million each
  • Cost of dry-docking to install
  • Regular maintenance costs


  • 4mW required onshore (one port)
  • Insufficient land based infrastructure
  • Non-green land based electricity
  • Monopoly by state power providers
  • Estimated €60m investment required per port 

Flettner rotor

  • Saves 3% to 8% on fuel use
  • Only working in sideways winds
  • Limited to 15- 40mph wind speeds
  • Cost $1m each unit
  • Structural vessel changes

Off grid renewable energy, anywhere...

Nanodeck, innovative solar PV technology to provide off-grid energy to the marine sector and a other markets. International legislation is driving the change and the adoption of alternative power sources for marine sector, Grafmarine is ideally situated to capitalise on this opportunity.

We have additional technology to integrate into the Nanodeck system, that will significantly improve output capacity as PV modules reach >30% efficiency and energy storage levels multiply.