UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Tuesday 18 June 2024
 10.5°C   NNW Moderate Breeze
Ukraine fundraiser - 18 June 2024

Transport / ‘Full steam ahead’ for hydrogen vessel trial between Aberdeen and Northern Isles

A PIONEERING project which will see a small automated, hydrogen-powered vessel carry cargo from Aberdeen to Orkney and Shetland is going “full steam ahead” – with the trial expected to hit the water in August 2024.

The project from a consortium led by Acua Ocean – a company developing hydrogen powered, uncrewed vessels – was awarded more than £3.5 million in UK Government funding earlier this year.

The small waterplane twin hull vessel will transport a four to five tonne payload from Aberdeen to the Northern Isles to demonstrate the zero-emission technology in a variety of sea states and weather conditions as well as its endurance, stability and reliability.

Image by Acua Ocean.

The company said the project will show the “benefits of green short-sea shipping” compared to alternatives like flying items by autonomous drone.

It also intends to demonstrate mobile shore-side hydrogen bunkering.

The length of the vessel will be around 13.5 metres, weighing 22 tonnes.

Speaking to Shetland News, Acua Ocean chief operating officer Mike Tinmouth said initial testing of the hydrogen propulsion system is scheduled for July/August in Lowestoft.

“The Harbour Acceptance Test (HAT) and Site Acceptance Test (SAT) are planned for March-June 2024 at Turnchapel Wharf in Plymouth,” he added.

The full vessel demonstration will feature a four-week crossing between Aberdeen and Orkney and Shetland in August and October 2024.

Tinmouth said using an unmanned vessel for a trial is “intrinsically safer” than having people on board.

He added that the company will work with Lloyd’s Register and the Maritime Coastguard Agency on the regulatory approvals.

“The longer term use cases for the vessel are focused around site monitoring, survey and protection of offshore renewables and offshore infrastructure such as wind farms, data cables, pipelines etcetera, as well as marine biodiversity monitoring and protection,” Tinmouth said.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“In addition to the pilot demonstration which includes the bunkering unit and vessel, we will also be producing an economic and environmental impact assessment on the potential for green shipping corridors between the islands, and exploring use of autonomous vessels for ‘just in time’ deliveries.

“We’re also committed to working with local businesses, academics and communities to full engage them in the project.”

Funding for the scheme comes from the UK Government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

Another Shetland related project also secured cash through the fund – a trial of an electric vessel on the Papa Stour ferry route.

The month-long demonstration, said to be the first of its kind in the UK, is due to take place in March 2025 following sea trials and testing.

That project is being led by Coastal Workboats, a company based in Devon and Scotland. Its trial secured more than £6 million in government funding.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.