UN-DESA Awards $1 Million Grant to Tunisia Solar-Powered Vessel Project

The United Nations (UN) has announced that the project “Solar Fuelled Electric Maritime Mobility” by Norway-based non-profit research institute SINTEF, which works to promote solar-powered electric vessels in Tunisia, Middle East, and North Africa has been awarded $1 million from the 2016 Energy Grant from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

“We are extremely honoured to receive this grant from the United Nations, rewarding SINTEF for leadership and innovative practises in energy for sustainable development,” said Alexandra Bech Gjorv, CEO of SINTEF.

“Our vision is ‘Technology for a better society,’ and it is essential to develop new and innovative energy solutions to succeed.”

The project, which SINTEF is implementing with the National Agency for Energy Conservation of Tunisia, is intended to demonstrate the benefits of low cost electric vessels as key transport within the region in order to persuade stakeholders to implement such transport on a larger scale.

“This would in turn benefit in particular the low and middle income parts of the population. The project will also contribute to the avoidance of transport related greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and it will help to prevent and reduce marine pollution,” explained UN of the project.

The grant will specifically be used toward the development of a ferry or other vessel featuring plug-in hybrid electric propulsion, as well as an electric charging point.

Further, the grant will be used to support data collection and analysis, with the selection of the vessel to be used for the demonstration to be decided upon as part of the first phase of the project.

“The transport sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. It also has significant public health impacts,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“The answer is not less transport – it is sustainable transport. We need transport systems that are environmentally friendly, efficient, affordable, and accessible.”

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