EBDG participates in hybrid conversion for Washington State Ferries

(SEATTLE) — Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) is actively supporting Washington State Ferries' transition to hybrid-electric power on the Jumbo Mark II class of ferries. Earlier this year EBDG prepared a hybrid system integration study to analyze the feasibility of modifying three Jumbo Mark II vessels to integrate battery power into the propulsion plant.

The study discussed the initial power and energy requirements for each route (Seattle to Bainbridge and Edmonds to Kingston), the sizing of the battery banks, new arrangements on the vessels, impacts to the existing system and life-cycle cost analysis.

Results from the Jumbo Mark II study not only proved the feasibility and financial justification of the vessel conversion but highlighted several long-term benefits for Washington State Ferries and the impacted region. Benefits included zero-emission crossings on the proposed routes, major reductions in NOx and particulate emissions after the conversion and near elimination of diesel fuel consumption for the Jumbo Mark II vessels.

The three ferries in the class, Tacoma, Wenatchee and Puyallup, are the largest in the Washington State fleet and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. Collectively, these three vessels burn approximately 4.2 million gallons of fuel per year – more than 26 percent of the fleet's consumption.

This project would have an enormous impact in meeting 2020 emissions targets set by Washington Legislature and complying with the governor's executive order to transition to a zero-carbon emission fleet.

"Hybridization of the Jumbo Mark IIs has the potential to accomplish Washington State Ferries' role of providing safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly transportation across the waters of Puget Sound in a revolutionary new way," states Will Ayers, chief electrical engineer at EBDG.

Ayers recently toured several European ferry operators to observe hybrid-electric vessels already in operation.

"We have the ideal opportunity to learn from them and apply such technologies where it makes the most sense," Ayers said.

EBDG will continue to study vessel electrification closely, especially as this developing technology comes to the United States.

By Professional Mariner Staff