‘Europe’s first’ hydrogen-powered passenger and car ferry under development
© AqualisBraemar LOC

‘Europe’s first’ hydrogen-powered passenger and car ferry under development

A new project is looking to design an emission free hydrogen fuel cell sea-going passenger and car ferry – and it’s believed to be a first for Europe.

Part of HYSEAS III, a Horizon 2020 funded project, the ferry will be designed around the requirements of Shapinsay in Orkney where hydrogen fuel is generated through wind power.

Read more: Upgrades planned for Orkney hydrogen plant

Read more: Orkney hydrogen ferry project moves forward 

Once operational, it is hoped the ferry will carry 16 cars or two trucks, and 120 passengers, whilst being capable of sailing to and from any concrete 1:8 slipway where hydrogen is available locally to power the vessel.

Today (June 7), as part of the project’s latest update, the Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) appointed AqualisBraemar LOC as a new partner in the design of the ferry.

Located in Aberdeen, AqualisBraemar will work with CMAL to ensure optimum sustainability in the overall vessel design, whilst delivering a design, which meets the highest level of safety and reliability for a lifeline ferry service.

The group will also draw upon its sister company, Longitude Engineering’s long track-record and reputation in vessel design, upgrade and conversions, to support the HYSEAS III project.

Commenting on its involvement, Graham Dallas, Business Development Manager for AqualisBraemar LOC in Europe, said, “AqualisBraemar LOC understand the important role the maritime industry has to play in the global fight for climate change.

“Whilst tackling marine emissions is a global responsibility, we are also proud to be supporting CMAL, in its role as part of a Scottish-led consortia, in building up world-leading competence in alternative clean fuel systems, which harnesses local marine renewable sources.”

AqualisBraemar LOC’s scope of work is to design a double-ended sea going passenger and car ferry capable of utilising the hydrogen powered drive train and thereby running completely emission-free.

In recent years, AqualisBraemar LOC has developed a range of marine and engineering consulting services to support carbon-reduction initiatives in the maritime sector, including expertise in electrical engineering and alternative fuel integration for vessels.

Welcoming the company’s involvement, John Salton, Fleet Manager and Projects Director at CMAL, said, “The contract award represents a significant step forward in establishing a new, innovative vessel concept, and marks an important shift towards entirely emissions-free marine transport.

“Hydrogen ferries exist, but this concept is built around using hydrogen fuel cells to power a seagoing ship, the first in the UK and Europe. If successful, the next step will be to take the knowledge and know-how into building

Pillars of Progress: Mobility – Maritime hydrogen, the next big wave

The maritime sector includes activities as varied as cruise-boat tourism, freight shipping and ferry transport. It’s also a big contributor of CO2 emissions.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2 JU) is promoting research to develop and integrate efficient hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuel cells on ships and boats.

The results could help to slash CO2 emissions by a minimum of 50% by 2050 – which is the target defined by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

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