A project to introduce two new electric ferries to “revolutionise travel” across Orkney will receive £15.5 million in UK Government funding.
Artemis Technologies Limited want to decarbonise inter-island transport through commissioning two electric vessels.
Four Aberdeen firms will also benefit from a total of £34.1m to fund the introduction of low carbon technology to its maritime sector.
UK ministers have announced the investment at the start of London International Shipping Week which brings together world leaders in the maritime sector.
The three-year Orkney-based project will see the introduction of a 12 passenger vessel, operating a year round service in the inner island network.
Another passenger vessel, for 50 passengers plus cargo, will run on a daily service up to five times around the whole island network.
Orkney Ferries will operate the service which will run from March 2025 until March 2028.
Investment for Aberdeen firms
Bibby Marine Services have been allocated £20m to deliver the first ultra-low emission service operation vessel in the world, along with shore charging facilities.
The 90m vessel, which provides crew with accommodation, will service windfarms and is an “electric first” design.
The other firms to be allocated funding are:
- Tidal Transit in Aberdeen: £6.4m to electrify a crew transfer vessel for offshore wind farms.
- Aberdeen Harbour Board: £3.3m for a project to develop a landside and vessel-side shore power system which will power vessels using electricity.
- Ocean Infinity Innovations Ltd: £4.4m for a project to reduce emissions.
Jamie Halcro Johnston, Highlands and Islands Tory MSP, said travel between Orkney’s islands will be “revolutionised” by the vessels.
“Fully-electric daily and year-round services will bring the people of Orkney closer together, as well as boosting business”, he added.
On the Aberdeen projects, North East Conservative MSP Douglas Lumsden, said: “Not only will the city be the energy capital of Europe, it could act as an example of decarbonisation for the rest of the world, in partnership with the UK Government.”
Reducing carbon emissions
The investment is designed to take tech from the factory to the sea by supporting projects which have a long-term impact in reducing carbon emissions.
Successful projects must show they could use this money to work with major UK ports and operators to launch a zero-emission vessel by 2025 at the latest.
UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont said: “The UK has a proud maritime history and it’s great to see Scotland at the heart of so many of these innovative projects.
“The £49.6m of UK Government funding will benefit communities in Orkney – with two new electric ferries – and Aberdeen through the introduction of low carbon technology to its maritime sector.
“The environment, connectivity and economic growth will all benefit from this substantial investment.”