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A cash injection of over £430,000 has been granted by the UK government under the Innovate UK programme to a consortium, led by Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited, to design and integrate a hydrogen diesel dual fuel injection system onboard a commercial ferry.

The 12-month HyDIME (Hydrogen Diesel Injection in a Marine Environment) project, formally started on 1st August 2018, 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. Hydrogen/diesel injection technology is already being demonstrated within the automotive industry and can significantly reduce harmful emissions. Injecting hydrogen into the fuel/air mix of a conventional internal combustion engine increases power while reducing the proportion of polluting emissions.

The aim of HyDIME is to prove the use of hydrogen/diesel injection technology in the marine industry. Ferguson Marine, in conjunction ULEMCo will develop the design of how this technology can work in tandem with existing systems to power auxiliary units onboard vessels.

Following this, the system will be physically integrated and will result in the UK’s first hydrogen injection system on this type of vessel.

The hydrogen to be used in the project will be produced in Orkney, Scotland, from the abundance of clean renewable energy sources available on the islands and will help power a ferry operating between the main town of Kirkwall and the island of Shapinsay.

The project will be executed by a consortium consisting of Ferguson Marine Engineering, Orkney Islands Council, High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI), the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), and Lloyds Register. The project will work with Liverpool, UK-based Ultra Low Emission Mileage Company (ULEMCo) which has developed dual fuel technology for automotive use and which is also involved in another marine related project under the title HYATLANTIC

Orkney is the ideal location for the HyDIME project. As one of the renewable energy leaders in the UK, Orkney offers the infrastructure to produce completely green hydrogen. On the Island of Eday, there is often a surplus of renewable electricity which, instead of being wasted, is fed into an electrolyser sited at EMEC’s tidal test facility. The electrolyser splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, the former of which can then be stored and transported.

Chief Naval Architect of Ferguson Marine Chris Dunn, 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.”