Offshore wind turbines may be out on the water producing clean electricity for the UK, but the engineers tending to the turbines are often ferried back and forth to sea on vessels that remain reliant on polluting fuels.
Known as Crew Transfer Vessels (CTV), the ships are vital to ensure turbines keep spinning but have been criticised for their environmental impact.
The Carbon Trust is now hoping to change that, last week awarding £300,000 to four projects working to design hybrid and hydrogen-powered CTVs.
Winners included Chartwell Marine and Seaspeed Marine Consulting, which is working on a concept for a 15-metre hybrid diesel/electric outboard CTV, that would boast two electric and two diesel outboard motors.
CWind Limited wants to create a prototype hybrid diesel/electric ship, while Robert Allan Ltd wants to develop a hybrid ship running on methanol and electricity.
Finally, Windcat Workboats and CMB Technologies are building a prototype hydrogen CTV.
Dan Kyle Spearman, manager of offshore wind access systems at the Carbon Trust, said the competition will help to speed the commercialisation of these new clean technologies.
"This competition demonstrates the commitment of the offshore wind industry to lowering the environmental impacts of its supply chain and we are looking forward to collaborating with the four winners to progress these innovative ideas," he said.