Low Carbon Inter-Island Orkney Ferries


Project Lead: Orkney Islands Council (OIC)

Partners: Community Energy Scotland

Award Amount: £18,610

Status: Completed April 2016

Area: Orkney

Orkney Islands Council (OIC) was awarded IIF funding in April 2015 to investigate if the vessels of the Orkney Ferry Services fleet could be powered by alternative fuels, rather than the current shipped-in fossil fuels. OIC commissioned Aquatera Ltd to conduct a feasibility study to examine the extent to which fossil fuels can be viably, safely and popularly displaced across the fleet by energy carriers ultimately sourced from local renewable energy generators. Due to the age of the current vessels operating the inter-island routes, retrofitting was not considered as a viable option and any alternatives to the current fleet would be new vessels.

The feasibility study included the compilation of case studies of vessels deriving power from alternative fuels which includes LNG, CNG, hydrogen, full-electric, liquid nitrogen, bio-fuels, compressed air, ammonia, nuclear, wind and wave. The report also considers hybrid propulsion systems using a mix of fuel sources. The possible scenarios of continuing to use diesel were also considered for comparative purposes.  The investigation into real world examples was supported by the characterisation of the current fleet and onshore infrastructure. This was completed in order to understand the requirements that alternative fuels would need to meet in order to match service expectations.

Learning Point(s)

The timing of the study was well placed to inform the full Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) review that was underway for Orkney and covered a review of all of the transport routes and infrastructure.


Supporting Documents / Output Report(s)

Low Carbon Ferries Feasibility Study - Exec Summary

Low Carbon Ferries Feasibility Study