Scotland’s Orkney Islands to trial electric hydrofoil ferries [video]

Scotland’s Orkney Islands will pilot two electric hydrofoil ferries that will commute between its outer islands in a three-year trial.

The Orkneys are launching their electric ferry pilot with Belfast-based Artemis Technologies after being awarded £15.5 million in funding from the British government.

The Orkney Islands are 10 miles off the northern tip of Scotland, and 20 of the 70 islands are inhabited. Artemis’s EF-12 Escape water taxi will carry up to 12 passengers between Kirkwall, Orkney’s main town on the Mainland, and the inner north isles of Shapinsay, Rousay, Egilsay, and Wyre in a year-round daily service.

The 12-meter (39-foot) long EF-12 has a 52-nautical-mile range at 24.5 knots and a charge time of one hour. An electric drivetrain integrated into the hydrofoil propels the vessel. Not only does hydrofoiling produce less drag, thus saving energy, but the electric hydrofoil ferry is also going to provide a much smoother ride in Orkney’s rough waters, where the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea meet. Check out the EF-12 Workboat being tested in the North Channel Sea:

The EF-12 pilot is expected to start in March 2024, and charging infrastructure is expected to be installed this winter.

The second vessel in the pilot will be significantly larger, carrying 50 passengers plus cargo. It will operate a service up to five times a day around the eastern islands of Eday, Stronsay, Sanday, and Westray. That pilot is expected to launch in 2025. Artemis doesn’t have 50-passenger vessel specs on its website, so we assume it’s building one specifically for this project.

Read more: The world’s most powerful tidal turbine launches in Scotland

Photo: Artemis Technologies; map: Britain Express

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