I say Yes. I did something very similar when I was a teenager but on a smaller scale.
You don't say what country you are in. I live in Britain. Many years ago I was learning classical guitar. I discovered a comprehensive guide to guitar playing that was only published in Spanish. I decided that I should translate it into English. The problem was that I spoke no Spanish. I applied for and received a grant to spend eight weeks in Spain at a language school. In the end I did not translate the book but there was never any requirement that I report back to the grant-giving body. I can now play the guitar and speak Spanish.
If you are enterprising enough and convincing enough, pretty much anything is possible. You just have to be willing to find the right channels.
In your situation (but assuming you live in Britain) I would do the following:
Search for a charitable institution that provides funding for the advancement of individuals. There are surprisingly many.
Preferably find one that has some connection to the field you are interested in. If you can't, there are more general ones.
What are these charities? They are almost all a result of a very wealthy individual who has left a sizable trust fund in their will. Usually these are for funding "young" people but not all. Surprisingly some of these funds are underused - they have money sloshing around but they don't get enough applicants.
Note: If you fail with one, keep going - they don't keep in touch with each other.
Now comes the bootstrapping process. Firstly you must come up with plans for a feasibility study. This will require some work but you usually need to convince a committee not a panel of scientists (although sometimes one expert will be asked to look over the proposal). If successful, this limited grant will be enough to get you started on a small scale. When you have a very convincing and well-researched plan with preliminary results, you go back, declare your success and ask for further funds to progress to the next stage. The charity will be delighted that the money has been put to such good use and will likely fund you again for the next phase. At the end of this, if you are successful, there are a number of ways to go. If you want to get into academia rather than go it alone, then at this point you can go to a university and say, "Look I have self-funding for the next X years and I have all these original results, can you help me to publish my work, can I register as a student and make use of your facilities? Unis always like funding from outside, whatever the source and if your early results are really convincing, they are likely to find you a supervisor.(See note at end) If you don't want to be in academia then continue independently. Maybe you can sell a patent to a big company and/or work for them. Maybe you can form your own company.
There are plenty of millionaires and billionaires in the world who never had a degree. You just have to be made of the right stuff.
By doing it gradually this way, you discover whether you are actually any good and whether your enthusiasm is lasting. There is a heck of a lot of work going it alone, but exceptional individuals have done it throughout history.
Note: I personally got into music college without the necessary exams. I worked hard and got a teaching job at the end of it. After teaching guitar for 7 tears I got bored. I got into a postgraduate computer science course at Cambridge University without having a first degree. This was on the basis that I had taught myself to program and then got a job as a programmer. Experience counts - even with academics provided they can see beyond the ends of their noses. It is even possible to get huge exemptions from an undergraduate degree course and still be awarded the degree if you can demonstrate actual working experience.
If you (cliche coming) think outside the box and appear confident, it's surprising how many people will be generous enough to help you. If you don't get a grant then at least you have tried so what's to lose?