US state-owned ferry operator Washington State Ferries (WSF) has said it will electrify 16 new vessels and convert three existing ones to plug-in hybrid electric propulsion by 2040
WSF said the project supports the state of Washington’s goal to reduce emissions by 57.5% below 2019 levels by 2050.
More than half of WSF’s fleet is scheduled to be retired by 2040. The ferry system needs 16 new vessels in the next 20 years, including 13 ferries to replace vessels due for retirement and three additional vessels to fill in when other ferries are out for maintenance and to respond to growth.
The newbuildings will be built by shipbuilder Vigor Fab with the first vessel scheduled for delivery in 2024.
The 20-year project, which is subject to legislative funding, will begin with five newbuilds belonging to WSF’s Hybrid Electric Olympic-class, capable of carrying 1,500 passengers and 144 cars each.
Spear Power Systems’ Trident lithium ion batteries will provide energy storage for these vessels, allowing the ferries to operate completely on battery power, diesel gensets, or a combination of sources. WSF said the 10 MWh battery capacity installed on each vessel will be the largest marine systems fielded in the US and among the largest in the world.
Spear president and chief executive Jeff Kostos said “Spear’s collaboration with ABB Marine & Ports, built over several projects, gives us absolute confidence that the Puget Sound area will have the most advanced, reliable systems possible on the water in 2024.”
ABB Group is investing in Spear Power Systems through its venture capital unit ABB Technology Ventures, to help expand the battery maker’s global presence and production capacity.
ABB Marine & Ports Americas vice-president of sales & execution of newbuilds, Edward Schwarz said “We are delighted to collaborate with Spear on this truly iconic project that is, without a doubt, setting the course for a wider adoption of zero-emissions solutions in shipping.”
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