The feasibility study will focus on 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.
Hydrogen has been used for small vessels on rivers or coastal routes but they have not been successful for larger sea-going vessels so far, said Point and Sandwick Trust, operators of the community-owned Beinn Ghrideag Wind Farm on the Isle of Lewis, who are leading the project. Other partners include CMAL, owners of Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries, Ferguson Marine shipyard in Glasgow, and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, according to BBC.
Project manager Calum MacDonald, development director for Point and Sandwick Trust, was quoted as saying:
"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."