Europe’s first hydrogen ferry takes step closer to setting sail


An emission free hydrogen fuel cell sea-going passenger and car ferry is set to be designed under a new project.

On 7 June, AqualisBraemar LOC (ABL) announced that it had been appointed by Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) as a partner in HySeas III. Funded by Horizon 2020, HySeas III will aim to build on the findings from the previous two projects through demonstrating that fuel cells can be successful integrated with a proven marine hybrid electric drive system, along with associated hydrogen storage and bunkering arrangements. It will develop, construct and validate data in a full-sized drive train on land.

The scope of ABL’s work will be to design a double-ended sea going passenger and car ferry that can use the hydrogen powered drive train and run entirely free of emissions. It will be designed to operate between Kirkwall and Shapinsay in Orkney, though with the potential to operate at other ports where hydrogen could become available in future. The ferry will have the capacity for 120 passengers and 16 cars, or two trucks.

John Salton, Fleet Manager and Projects Director at CMAL, said: “The contract award represents a significant step forward in establishing a new, innovative vessel concept, and marks an important shift towards entirely emissions-free marine transport. Hydrogen ferries exist, but this concept is built around using hydrogen fuel cells to  power a seagoing ship, the first in the UK and Europe.  If successful, the next step will be to take the knowledge and know-how into building a ferry.”