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Orkney to explore green technology for ferries and cruise ships

Seven-month project exploring hydrogen technology will take place in Orkney.

An ambitious seven-month project exploring green technology for ferries and cruise ships will be carried out in Orkney.

European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) will steer the innovative decarbonisation project for ferries and cruise terminal operations in Orkney.

Hydrogen technology will be designed and tested in the £2.2million Hydrogen in an Integrated Maritime Energy Transition (HIMET) initiative.

This includes hydrogen storage specifically for use on board a vessel and the supply of on board auxiliary power using a hydrogen fuel-cell.

A conventional ferry propulsion engine that runs on pure hydrogen will also be tested.

Additionally, a hydrogen engine will be deployed to power crew welfare facilities at Orkney’s commercial pier at Hatston. Microgrid solutions will also be explored to consider future power requirements for ferry ports.

It is one of 55 projects selected for funding under the Department for Transport’s flagship Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

Orkney is a ‘living laboratory’

The trials will explore solutions for the climate impacts of ferries and shore-side activities in ports.

James Walker, EMEC’s hydrogen development manager explained there are significant opportunities in maritime innovation with hydrogen and hydrogen derived fuels.

Orkney is known for renewable energy efforts.

He described Orkney as a “living laboratory for renewable energy and decarbonisation”.

Mr Walker said: “Building on the knowledge and experience from various green hydrogen projects that have instigated the development of a hydrogen economy locally, the HIMET project will showcase emerging and innovative technologies which will help pave the way to decarbonising maritime activities.

“While the project will focus on addressing challenges in the Orkney context, we believe our findings will be applicable to all island and coastal environments where vessels provide vital lifeline services.”


Read more: Orkney Council leader explains what it would mean if island is one of three chosen to be carbon neutral by 2040


Once demonstration activities are complete, HIMET partners will work on facilitating uptake across the UK and further afield.

Transport Secretary Grant Schapps said: “As a proud island nation built on our maritime prowess, it is only right that we lead by example when it comes to decarbonising the sector and building back greener.”

He believes the project will showcase the “best of British innovation” by revolutionising existing technology and infrastructure to decrease emissions.

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