A new feasibility study published yesterday by Point and Sandwick Trust has found two viable routes in the Western Isles and West Coast Scotland for ferries powered by hydrogen from local wind farms.
The study assessed the suitability of using new island wind farms to produce zero-carbon ‘green’ hydrogen fuel for future types of clean emission ferries operating between the mainland of Scotland and 22 of the major islands on Scotland’s west coast.
Point and Sandwick Trust collaborated with Wood, Siemens-Gamesa, Engie, ITM Power, Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL), Johnston Carmichael and Ferguson Marine for the project.
The feasibility study examined the manufacture of the hydrogen using local wind power, the challenges of how to handle, transport and store the hydrogen on local piers, and how the frequency and bunkering requirements of each of the nine routes studied affected the amount of hydrogen fuel required.
Of the nine routes analysed, the highest-scoring route using a small ferry on a short crossing was from Barra to Eriskay, and the highest scoring route using a large ferry on a long crossing was from Stornoway to Ullapool.
The short crossing from Barra to Eriskay would use 219 tonnes of hydrogen and save 676 tonnes of carbon dioxide, roughly equivalent to taking 147 cars off the road each year.
The hydrogen requirement for the longer crossing between Stornoway and Ullapool would be 3,676 tonnes, saving 21,815 tonnes of carbon dioxide, roughly equivalent to taking 4,742 cars off the road each year.
Speaking on behalf of the Point and Sandwick Trust, Project Manager Calum MacDonald said, “This is an exciting first step towards a future where zero-emission ferries are serving the Western Isles using hydrogen sourced from local and renewable wind power.”
“We need to make our ferries zero-carbon to protect the planet but at the same time we need to use our local, renewable resources to fuel those ferries to protect and strengthen our communities.”
“When we have the best renewable resources in Europe on these islands, it would be crazy to replace the import of marine oil with the import of hydrogen.”
“By sourcing the power locally we can create a virtuous and sustainable cycle that benefits both the nation and local communities.”