Renewables powered Hydrogen ferry

Port Glasgow based Ferguson Marine to build world’s first renewables powered Hydrogen ferry

Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited has successfully led a European consortium in a bid for EU funding support to pave the way for the building and launch of the world’s first sea-going car and passenger ferry fuelled by Hydrogen.

The supported development is expected to cost around €12.6 million of which €9.3 million has been awarded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation fund.

HySeas III, jointly led by shipyard, Ferguson Marine and the University of St Andrews, includes Orkney Islands Council; Kongsberg Maritime (Norway); Ballard Power Systems Europe (Denmark); McPhy (France); DLR - German Aerospace Center; and Interferry (Belgium/US) the global trade association for ferry operators and suppliers.

The announcement was made by Jim McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers Capital, which owns the shipyard, at the Smart Shipping Symposium on Monday in the City of Glasgow College Faculty of Nautical Studies.

The fuel for the vessel will be produced from renewable electricity. The ferry is planned to operate in and around Orkney, Scotland, a location that is already producing hydrogen from "constrained" renewable energy.

The initial focus will be on building and proving the vessel's modular drive train onshore. The successful test will pave the way for the construction of the vessel. Ferguson Marine chief naval architect Chris Dunn said the shipyard could deliver "the world’s first zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial ROPAX ferry in 2020."

The project starts on July 1. The consortium is co-led by Ferguson Marine and the University of St Andrews and includes Orkney Islands Council, Kongsberg Maritime of Norway, Ballard Power Systems Europe of Denmark, McPhy of France, the German Aerospace Centre DLR and the global trade association for ferry operators and suppliers Interferry.

“It’s a very timely collaboration, given that the International Maritime Organization reached an accord in April requiring a 50% reduction in maritime CO2 emissions by 2050. Hydrogen raises the extremely interesting possibility of a long-range, CO2-free option,” Johan Roos, Regulatory Affairs Director at Interferry, commented.

Previously in 2012, Ferguson’s launched the MV Hallaig, the world’s first ever battery hybrid ferry. The redeveloped yard achieved another first in November 2017 when it launched the MV Glen Sannox, the first UK ferry build with dual-fuel capability –marine diesel & LNG. The Glen Sannox’ sister vessel is currently under construction at the shipyard.

The University of St Andrews is home to research and development in hydrogen, battery and other energy technologies. A key part of the development aspect is the transferal of knowledge and expertise into real-world applications.

Dr. Smith from the University, along with Jim Anderson at Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) initiated the HySeas programme in 2012. Support from Scottish Enterprise allowed the idea to be taken from an early feasibility study to the point where the focus can now shift into test and delivery.

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