Power and technology firm ABB has been selected by Vigor Fab LLC, an American shipbuilder, as the supplier of hybrid-electric propulsion and energy storage systems for the latest vessels that will join the Washington State Ferries’ fleet. The Olympic-class ferries, with capacity for 1,500 passengers and 144 cars, will be capable of operating entirely in battery mode but will also be able to switch to hybrid operation when necessary.
The first vessel in the series is due for delivery in 2024. However, Washington State Ferries, the largest ferry operator in the United States, plans to replace all of its 13 existing diesel ferries with hybrid-electric units by 2040 whilst also converting six other ferries with plug-in hybrid systems. Fuel consumption is expected to halve by that year, with emissions of carbon dioxide projected to fall below 2050 targets by 2034. Jay Herbert, vice president of Marine Fabrication at shipbuilder Vigor, commented: “This landmark project supports Washington State’s goal for 2050 to reduce emissions by 57.% below the emissions level in 2019, utilising a hybrid and electric propulsion solution that is space-efficient, easy to install, and flexible in operation.”
Speaking for ABB Marine & Ports, managing director Juha Koskela added: “Moving towards a zero-emission future relies on technologies that meet the environmental and cost needs of today – and other flexibility to integrate future energy sources in the years ahead. ABB is delighted to support this milestone project demonstrating the way that electric, digital and connected solutions can deliver shipping’s zero-emission future.”