A ferry crew in Orkney has become world leaders after training to work on hydrogen-powered vessels.
Five seafarers from Orkney Ferries’ MV Shapinsay completed a new course, thought to be the first in the world, to gain the skills to work onboard the ferry when hydrogen is used in the vessel’s system.
This follows an earlier course completed by the crew which focused on the handling of hydrogen as a cargo.
The new course was developed and delivered by Orkney College UHI’s maritime studies department in collaboration with Orkney Ferries and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).
It was supervised virtually by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) assessors who have now recommended the course and content for official recognition.
It is the latest milestone in the HyDIME (Hydrogen Diesel Injection in a Marine Environment) project that will integrate hydrogen storage onboard the ferry operating between Shapinsay and Kirkwall, and trial hydrogen as a fuel in one of the vessel’s auxiliary engines.
The HyDIME project is seen as a stepping stone to accelerate and de-risk future hydrogen marine projects and will contribute towards growing the hydrogen economy in the UK.
The four-day course included storage under pressure, safe working practice, refuelling and firefighting. The crew were also trained in how to detect hydrogen fires, which are almost invisible to the naked eye.
The new training will be a requirement in UK waters for working on vessels using hydrogen as a fuel.
Mark Shiner, from the maritime studies department of Orkney College UHI, said: “According to the Zero Emissions Ship Technology Association this is a world first and we have cause to be very proud of that indeed.
“We’ve received some very encouraging messages from hydrogen organisations at home and abroad and inquiries from other European hydrogen vessel projects who are considering using our training.
“There is huge potential in hydrogen training, not only for seafarers but maintenance technicians, heating engineers, automotive engineers and others.”
Orkney is playing a pivotal role in the development of green hydrogen technologies, including a scheme that uses surplus electricity generated from renewable energy to make hydrogen gas as a fuel.
Councillor Graham Sinclair, chairman of Orkney Islands Council’s development and infrastructure committee, said: “Orkney has a proud history of leading the charge to find innovative solutions to meet our energy needs – and here we see Orkney leading the way again with the approval of the hydrogen training course.”