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UK shipyard to develop pioneer hydrogen-fuelled ferry

The current Shapinsay ferry with the chosen route for HYSEAS III project in the background. Source: Clyde Blowers Capital IM LLP

June 19 (Renewables Now) - Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd, based in Port Glasgow, is leading a European consortium that has secured EU funding for the development of the world's first sea-going car and passenger ferry that is fuelled by hydrogen.

The EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme has provided EUR 9.3 million (USD 10.7m) towards the EUR-12.6-million project, called HySeas III.  

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.

(EUR 1 = USD 1.154) 

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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