Hydrogen ferry development project advances after contract award


The idea is that the hydrogen ferry would be designed to travel between Kirkwall, pictured above, and Shapinsay.

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Plans to build a sea ferry powered by hydrogen fuel cells advanced on Friday after the announcement of the award of a commercial contract for the development of a concept.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, which is owned by the Scottish government, said in a statement that the contract was awarded to the Aqualisbraemar LOC group, which is headquartered in London.

The two sides will collaborate on the concept, which CMAL said would be based on the needs of a “double-ended maritime ferry for passengers and cars, with a capacity of 120 passengers and 16 cars or two trucks”.

The idea is that the ferry would be designed to travel between Kirkwall and Shapinsay in Orkney, an archipelago located north of mainland Scotland.

It represents the latest development of the HySeas III project, which has received funding from the European Union.

The aim of Hyseas III is to show that fuel cells can be integrated into a “marine hybrid electric drive system” made up of technologies such as batteries and electric propulsion.

To this end, the project aims to develop, build, test and validate “a full-size driveline on earth”. Besides CMAL, other consortium partners are the University of St. Andrews, Orkney Island Council and Kongsberg Maritime.

John Salton, Fleet Manager and Project Director at CMAL, said contract award is “an important step forward in establishing an innovative new vessel concept, and a significant shift towards maritime transport. completely emission-free “.

“If successful, the next step will be to use the knowledge and skills to build a ferry,” said Salton.

Other hydrogen vessels have already been developed and put into service. In 2008, for example, a fuel cell vessel capable of carrying passengers entered service on a lake in Hamburg, Germany.

In March this year, Linde, a company specializing in engineering and industrial gases, said it had been chosen by Norwegian company Norled to provide liquid hydrogen and the associated infrastructure for a ferry operating at hydrogen. The MF Hydra, as it’s called, will be able to carry both passengers and cars.

In a statement at the time, Norled CEO Heidi Wolden said the company believed hydrogen “would play an important role in the future of zero-emission ships.”

Described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier”, hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in sectors such as industry and transport.

Ferries are not the only mode of transport where hydrogen fuel cells may have a role to play.

Hydrogen buses have been used in cities like London and Aberdeen, for example, while hydrogen fuel cell planes have also taken off in recent years.

The major automakers that have entered the hydrogen fuel cell market are Toyota and Honda, while smaller companies such as Riversimple are also working on hydrogen cars.

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