Highlands & Islands

Study into hydrogen powered ferry for Western Isles

CalMac ferry
Image caption Caledonian MacBrayne's parent company is a partner in the project

A ferry powered by hydrogen manufactured by community-owned wind turbines has been proposed for Scotland's west coast.

The Scottish government has awarded funding for a feasibility study of the idea.

Point and Sandwick Trust, operators of the community-owned Beinn Ghrideag Wind Farm on the Isle of Lewis, is leading the project.

The project's partners include CMAL, owners of Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries.

Ferguson Marine shipyard in Glasgow and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy are among the other partners.

'Bold vision'

The feasibility study will look at the manufacture of the hydrogen using local wind power, the challenges of how to handle, transport and store the hydrogen on local piers, and how the design of the ship and its engines needs to be adapted to run on hydrogen fuel.

Point and Sandwick Trust said hydrogen has been used for small vessels on rivers or coastal routes but, so far, not successfully for larger sea-going vessels.

Project manager Calum MacDonald, development director for Point and Sandwick Trust, said: "We have a simple yet bold vision which is to harness the huge potential of community-owned wind power on the Scottish islands to power the lifeline ferry services by utilising the very latest in hydrogen energy technology.

"Turning that vision into reality will be a world-first and requires the very best expertise in both energy and shipping technology."

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