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Hydrogen-powered ferry project secures EU funding

EUR 9.3m awarded by the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation fund.

Image credit: Pixabay CC0

Updated on 20 Jun 2018 11:04 GMT

A European consortium has been successful in its bid to secure EU funding to support the construction of the world's first hydrogen-powered seagoing car and passenger ferry, where the vessel's fuel will be produced from emission-free renewable electricity.

The supported development is expected to cost around EUR 12.6m, of which EUR 9.3m has been awarded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation fund.

The HySeas III project is jointly led by Scottish shipyard Ferguson Marine Engineering and the University of St. Andrews, and 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.

Employing Ballard technology, the initial objective is to construct and prove the vessel's modular drive train onshore, testing for stress and durability under conditions employing real-world data from existing vessels.

Once the vessel has been tested and proven to be able to operate safely and efficiently around Scotland's challenging coast, the project is then set to move on to the construction phase.

The ferry is planned to operate in and around Orkney, which is already producing hydrogen in volume from constrained - and hence otherwise wasted - renewable energy.

Ferguson and St. Andrews

Joint project leader Ferguson previously launched the MV Hallaig - the world's first ever battery hybrid ferry.

The Glasgow-based firm also 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's sister vessel is currently under construction at the shipyard.

The University of St Andrews, the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world, performs 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 - not least in stretching the boundaries of what has previously been thought of and achieved.

Project coordinator Dr. Martin Smith from the University of St. Andrews, along with Jim Anderson at ferry operator Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (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 testing and delivery.

Dr. Smith previously played a leading role in the introduction of hydrogen buses into Scotland - a development which is now set to move beyond Aberdeen, with Dundee currently following and other Scottish cities considering fleets of their own.

Ferguson Marine Chief Executive, Gerry Marshall, remarked: "We now have one of the most innovative and competitive shipyards in Europe which is capable of delivering ground-breaking projects for Inverclyde, Scotland and beyond. HySeas III is a living example of how it can be possible to lead the world in marine technology."

Dr. Smith said: "This is a very exciting stage to be at now. This opens the real possibility of Scotland and her key European partners delivering another world-first, not simply in ship building but also in building sustainable local sources of fuelling in parallel."

Related Links:

Fuel cell using gas from world's first tidal-powered hydrogen producer unveiled
Viking Cruises developing cruise ship powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology
Scandinavian JV to develop hydrogen solutions for ships
Project targets production of hydrogen fuel at BP's Rotterdam refinery
United Kingdom

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