News and Updates

HyDIME hydrogen ferry project for Orkney Islands

Innovate UK has awarded funding to develop the UK’s first hydrogen injection system for a hydrogen/diesel ferry. The consortium is led by Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited and includes the BIG HIT partners Orkney Islands Council and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

The HyDIME (Hydrogen Diesel Injection in a Marine Environment) project will design and integrate a hydrogen diesel dual fuel injection system on board a commercial ferry. This builds on the outcomes from previous innovation projects in Orkney Islands, which enable excess energy produced from wind and tidal turbines to be harnessed and used to produce hydrogen on the islands of Eday and Shapinsay. The hydrogen will power a ferry operating between the main town of Kirkwall and the island of Shapinsay, which is the location of the BIG HIT project’s 1MW electrolyser.

Jon Clipsham, the Hydrogen Development Manager at EMEC, explained that "Orkney has an abundance of renewable electricity which the local grid cannot cope with. This led EMEC to look into alternative ways to store and use electricity so that Orkney’s wind, tidal and wave power potential could be fully realised. Having invested in an electrolyser to generate hydrogen from Eday’s tidal and wind resources, EMEC has been exploring various opportunities to support the development of a hydrogen economy on the islands. The potential for developing hydrogen powered vessels is one of the most exciting prospects, particularly given the number of carbon-intensive inter-island ferries located here. We’re really excited to be part of this project to create a ferry run on a carbon neutral fuel."

The 12-month HyDIME project will provide a stepping stone to de-risk and kick-start future hydrogen marine projects and contribute to reducing emissions within the maritime industry. With the need to reduce harmful emissions, using hydrogen as a fuel is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to fossil fuels. The project will be executed by a consortium consisting of Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited, Orkney Islands Council, High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI), the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), and Lloyds Register. The project will apply, with Ultra Low Emission Mileage Company (ULEMCo), a globally unique technology in hydrogen dual fuel.     

Orkney Island Ferries, part of SHFCA member Orkney Islands Council, added, “Orkney islands council and the Ferry services are very proud to be part of this ground-breaking project; which may lead the way to reducing the many form of pollutants released when using hydrocarbons and lead onto communities producing some of the energy for their own transport.”

Chief Naval Architect of Ferguson Marine Chris Dunn, one of the speakers at our recent SHFCA2018 annual conference, 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, joining up with world leading technology innovators to move us one step closer to our goal of delivering a zero-emission, hydrogen powered commercial ROPAX ferry by 2020."

The Orkney Islands are the ideal location for the HyDIME project. As one of the locations at the forefront of renewable energy uptake in the UK, the Orkney Islands can supply the HyDIME project with completely green hydrogen. The HyDIME project builds on the hydrogen infrastructure deployments already carried out by Surf ‘n’ Turf and the FCH-JU supported BIG HIT, as well as the additional EU funded ITEG and HySeas III projects currently underway.

Nigel Holmes