The North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme 'Distilleries Project' study identified a number of sites around the Firth deemed fit to host a 35MW electrolyser facility, capable of producing up to 14 tonnes of green hydrogen per day.
The hub would be used to supply distilleries in the region with competitively priced hydrogen to help decarbonise their whisky-making processes. Should the project prove successful, it could be further expanded to meet demand for green hydrogen from across Scotland, the UK and internationally.
Drinks giants Glenmorangie, Diageo and Whyte & Mackay are backing the project alongside ScottishPower, Pale Blue Dot (part of Storegga Group) and Port of Cromarty Firth.
The report said the Cromarty Firth's suitability was boosted by a large regional concentration of renewable energy potential, including future offshore wind development sites which would be able to supply the volume of clean electricty needed for the electrolyser.
The feasibility study proposes a hased development for the green hydrogen hub - the first phase would see the electrolyser in place to meet local and distillery demands by 2024, while the second phase would encompass its expansion to meet broader demand.
Following the study, the project will now move to its next stage of development, which will include detailed engineering, community engagement and commercial development ahead of a final investment decision, due by 2023.
Bob Buskie, CEO of the Port fo Cromarty Firth, said: "This is fantastic news for both the Cromarty Firth and for the country's ambitions to become a leading hydrogen nation.
"Phase 1 of the electrolyser could ne up and running, and the first hydrogen produced, by 2024 in what will be one of the biggest electrolysers in the UK. Such a facility will be a game changer not only for the industries across the Highlands and Scotland, but also for the UK and internationally as we will be able to export green hydrogen to energy markets around the globe."
Dr Peter Nelson, operations director for the Glenmorangie Company, said: "We have all learnt a huge amount from the feasibility study into the potential of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source and excitingly for us it is firmly rooted in, and relevant to, the particular needs and challenges we all face in the North of Scotland.
"It is a great example of collaboration across different companies and sectors and we look forward to progressing discussions further."