The latest stage of the Scottish-led HySeas III project has seen renderings completed of a proposed hydrogen fuel cell-powered ferry. The project is aiming for the vessel to become Europe’s first sea-going ferry to use the clean propulsion solution.

The proposed ferry is double-ended and has the capacity to carry 120 passengers and 16 cars or, alternatively, two trucks. Designed to store energy from renewable sources, the vessel will serve routes between Kirkwall and Shapinsay in Orkney, where wind power is used to generate hydrogen fuel. The ferry will also be capable of operating to and from other ports where hydrogen becomes available in the future.

The ferry designs were supplied by the AqualisBraemar LOC Group. The next step for the vessel project will include seeking feasibility approval in principle from the DNV Classification Society.

In Bergen, Norway, string testing is currently underway to demonstrate the vessel’s complete drivetrain, consisting of its fuel cell, battery, multidrive and propulsion systems. The full-size string test aims to mirror the load requirements of the new-build on its planned route between Shapinsay and Kirkwall. The results of the test will be used to confirm the power and fuel capacity requirements of the ferry.

At present, the ferry’s design is scheduled for completion in March 2022. Following this, HySeas III partner Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) will seek funding from other partners to take the approved design to the procurement stage. At this stage, tendering and the construction of the vessel will take place.

“We know that maritime transport remains the UK’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and our HySeas III project will pave the way for the first sea-going vessel using purely renewable energy,” said John Salton, fleet manager and projects director, CMAL.

“Seeing the concept designs brings the project to life. The vessel design is broadly based on our larger loch-class vessels, which are double-ended.”