WSF’s hybrid electric ferry conversion draws international attention

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WSF’s hybrid electric ferry conversion draws international attention


Category: Automobile / Transport

As one of the largest ferry operators in the world, Washington State Ferries (WSF) has a high profile with the public and in the marine industry. So when WSF does something, people stand up and take notice. As we reported last month, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a transportation measure that contained funding of $600,000 to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) to convert its three WSF Jumbo Mark II Class vessels to hybrid electric propulsion.

Earlier this year, two studies were completed by Seattle-based naval architects and marine engineers for WSF regarding the conversion of Jumbo Mark II Class ferries and the related dockside infrastructure.

The Hybrid System Integration Study performed by Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) examined the feasibility, technology, and costs involved in converting the three ferries, the M/V WenatcheeM/V Tacoma, and M/V Puyallup, to hybrid electric propulsion. The study estimated the cost to convert the three 460 ft x 90 ft ferries. The real benefits of the project would be substantial fuel savings and to the environment, significantly slashing particular matter, NOx and SOx emissions. Concludes the study: “WSF produces 67% of WSDOT’s total emissions and the three Jumbo Mark II vessels emit 26% of WSF’s share of carbon emissions. Given the late 1990’s emissions standards that the Jumbo Mark II diesel engines were required to meet, the emissions savings is likely even greater in regard to NOx, SOx, and diesel particulate matter. This project would have enormous impact in meeting the 2020 emissions targets.”

In 2009, state agencies were directed by the legislature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and report these reductions to the Department of Ecology. This requirement is part of the State Agency Climate Leadership Act that sets a goal for agencies to reduce their emissions:

  • 15% below 2005 levels by 2020.
  • 36% below by 2035.
  • 57.5% below by 2050.

Each agency is required to come up with strategies to meet their reduction goals.

Upgrades at the docks and the utilities in Seattle, Bainbridge, Edmonds, and Kingston, where the boats operate, would be no small cost either. The WSF Medium Voltage Shore Power Feasibility Study by Glosten examines the charging infrastructure needed to recharge the ferries dockside, as well as costs to the utility for power, and battery replacement. Glosten estimated it would cost $6.91 million to upgrade each terminal.

Welcoming a delegation from Norway
Converting the three WSF Jumbo Mark II Class vessels to electric propulsion will put the fleet on the cutting edge of maritime clean technology—not only in the U.S., but globally, points out classification society DNV GL.

Earlier this month, Washington State officials welcomed a delegation from Norway to share and learn from the acknowledged global leaders in the maritime clean-tech sector. Key participants in the collaboration event included the Washington State Departments of Transportation (WSDOT) and WSF, Commerce, Port of Seattle, NCE Maritime Clean Tech Cluster, the Norwegian Maritime Authority, Norwegian Embassy, and industry leaders, including DNV GL and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises..

Among the Washington State officials meeting with the Norwegian delegation was Roger Millar, Secretary of Transportation, WSDOT.

Source: Marine Log