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Point and Sandwick Trust, in collaboration with a number of industry partners, has published a feasibility study on using hydrogen produced from local windfarms to power future ferry services in the Western Isles.
The study, part-funded by the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, looked at the possibility of using new island windfarms to produce zero-carbon ‘green’ hydrogen fuel for future ferries operating on Caledonian MacBrayne’s routes.
It examined the manufacture of the hydrogen using local wind power, transport and store the hydrogen on local piers, and how the requirements of each of the nine routes studied affected the amount of hydrogen fuel required.
Speaking of behalf of the Point and Sandwick Trust, project manager Calum MacDonald said: ‘This is an exciting first step towards a future where zero-emission ferries are serving the Western Isles using hydrogen sourced from local and renewable wind power.
‘We need to make our ferries zero-carbon to protect the planet but at the same time we need to use our local, renewable resources to fuel those ferries to protect and strengthen our communities.
‘When we have the best renewable resources in Europe on these islands, it would be crazy to replace the import of marine oil with the import of hydrogen.’
Councillor Uisdean Robertson, chairman of Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, welcomed the studies and said hydrogen offers real potential.
‘The richness of the Outer Hebrides’ renewable energy resource will allow the islands to make a significant contribution to the UK and Scotland’s green energy targets.
‘In addition to energy generation, however, it is essential that we look to new and innovative methodologies to decarbonise our transport infrastructure.’