15th September 2021

Hydrogen-powered decarbonisation of Orkney’s maritime sector

New £2.2 million project to demonstrate the potential of hydrogen in decarbonising ferries and ports.

In Orkney, marine vessels account for the greatest share of energy use of any mode of transport. Over three times as much fossil fuel is consumed by marine vessels compared to domestic road transport.

A new £2.2 million project will explore solutions for decarbonising the islands’ ferries as well as shore-side activities in ports.

The HIMET (Hydrogen in an Integrated Maritime Energy Transition) project brings together a consortium of experts that includes Urban Foresight for an ambitious seven-month programme.

To decarbonise ferries, various solutions will be designed and demonstrated. This includes hydrogen storage specifically intended for use on board a vessel, and the supply of on-board auxiliary power using a hydrogen fuel cell. A conventional ferry propulsion engine will also be tested running on pure hydrogen.

To develop resilient shore-side power for the maritime sector a hydrogen engine will be deployed at Hatston to power crew welfare facilities at the cruise terminal, and microgrid solutions will be explored to consider future power requirements for ferry terminals.

In parallel, HIMET will carry out research and stakeholder engagement activities to establish how these innovations can best inform the broader maritime energy transition and help overcome regulatory barriers.

The project will benefit from Urban Foresight’s expertise in low carbon transport, energy technologies, and developing innovations for the ports and maritime sector.

“We’re excited to be involved in this project and working toward a greener future for the islands,” said Graham Thrower, Head of Sustainable Economy at Urban Foresight. “Orkney now generates 105 per cent of its own renewable electricity. This work will develop the evidence base needed to go a step further for a broader maritime decarbonisation plan.”

Once project demonstration activities are complete, HIMET partners will help facilitate uptake across the UK and further afield, demonstrating the maritime working practices of the future.

The consortium includes Aquatera, EMEC Hydrogen, Eneus Energy, OakTec, Orcades Marine Management Consultants, Orkney Islands Council, Ricardo, RINA, Schneider Electric, ULEMCo, and Urban Foresight.

The project is funded under the Department for Transport’s flagship Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.


Image credit: Kevin Phillips

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