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Ferguson Marine to develop world’s first renewables-powered hydrogen ferry

Celebrating the funding of the hydrogen-powered HySeas III

HySeas III will use hydrogen generated from renewable electricity

Ferguson Marine Engineering has led a European consortium to secure EU funding to build and launch the world’s first hydrogen-fuelled sea-going car and passenger ferry, HySeas III.

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

The vessel’s fuel will be produced from renewable electricity marking a paradigm shift towards entirely emissions-free marine transport.

Employing Ballard technology, already proven across millions of miles of road transport, 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.

The successful test will allow a vessel to be constructed, in the already assured knowledge that such a vessel can operate safely and efficiently around Scotland’s challenging coast.

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

Ferguson Marine chief naval architect Chris Dunn said: “Over recent years, Ferguson Marine has been at the global forefront of green marine propulsion technology development. This exciting project is yet another positive step on that journey and puts us firmly on track to deliver the world’s first zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial ROPAX ferry in 2020.”

Ferguson Marine chief executive Gerry Marshall added: “We now have one of the most innovative and competitive shipyards in Europe which is capable of delivering groundbreaking 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.”

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 Centre; and Interferry (Belgium/US) the global trade association for ferry operators and suppliers.

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