Zero-emissions Washington state ferry plan

The new ‘Olympic Class’ ferry Photo: ABBThe new ‘Olympic Class’ ferry Photo: ABB

ABB has been selected by Vigor Fab as the hybrid-electric propulsion and energy storage system provider for the newest additions to the Washington State Ferry fleet.

The new ‘Olympic Class’ ferries, which will have the capacity to carry 144 cars and 1,500 passengers each, herald a new era for the Washington State transport operator in the shift toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Upon delivery in 2024, the initial vessel of the series will be the first newbuild in Washington State Ferry’s fleet to feature hybrid-electric propulsion and a high capacity energy storage system. The new vessels will be able to fully operate on battery power and will have the capability to revert to hybrid mode if required.

“Moving towards a zero-emission future relies on technologies that meet the environmental and cost needs of today – and offer flexibility to integrate future energy sources in the years ahead,” said Juha Koskela, managing director, ABB Marine & Ports. “ABB is delighted to support this milestone project demonstrating the way that electric, digital and connected solutions can deliver shipping’s zero-emission future.”

Using ABB’s Onboard DC Grid power distribution system and drive technology, the new ferry design will optimise energy use, whether drawing on main engine power, battery power or a combination of the two.

Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry system in the US. By 2040, the plan is to replace 13 existing diesel ferries with hybrid-electric newbuilds and to convert six other ferries to plug-in hybrid.

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