A NEW water ferry service travelling between Newport and South West England could set sail as part of a new scheme involving hydrogen powered ferries crossing the Bristol Channel.

Patriot Yachts has announced it is trialling running ferries between Cardiff and Bristol harbours - with routes linking Newport and Cardiff to Ilfracombe in Devon also on the cards.

Chief executive of of the Plymouth-based company Connor Johnson said he believes hydrogen-powered vehicles are the way forward as many try and cut their reliance on polluting fossil fuels.


“We all know that the world is trying to reduce the carbon footprint,” he said. “Europe and other countries around the world have already invested millions even billions into new Hydrogen production plants and other sectors such as transport, production and distribution.

“The UK has now realised that we need to do the same as these other countries.

“I personally undertook this venture to make a small difference, not globally but locally and for my sons and daughters future generations.

South Wales Argus:

Connor Johnson, chief executive of Patriot Yachts. Picture: Connor Johnson.

“We are currently killing the planet slowly and we all need to learn to adapt to new technology and renewable energy instead of just burning fossils fuels.

“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, I personally believe, and now Hydrogen technology has suddenly taken a leap forward in the media everyday it is about time we do something to make a difference.”

The ferries are currently being built in Turkey, and Patriot Yachts will then fit them with a hydrogen propulsion drive system and a secondary drive system using Aluminium Batteries, meaning the ferries will be powered by 100 per cent clean energy.

They will have a range of 1,500 miles.

The ferries are expected to be shipped to the UK in the next eight weeks, where – once they are certified and inspected by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) – trials can start on the Cardiff to Bristol route.

South Wales Argus:

What the inside of the ferry will look like. Picture: Patriot Yachts

“We are hoping that the MCA work with us to introduce these eco-friendly vessels, which will be the first of their kind in the UK, in to service quickly and maybe we can start trials later on this year,” said Mr Johnson.

The ferries cost more than €1 million, and with the additional costs of installing the hydrogen propulsion and setting up the trial, the project is expected to cost around €2 million.

The Cardiff to Bristol catamaran-style ferries can seat up to 65 passengers, of which two of the seats will be for disabled passengers and there will be room for up to 12 seats outside.

The Newport, Cardiff and Ilfracombe service will be larger, accommodating between 500 and 700 passengers.