Keel laid for Bay Area hydrogen fuel cell ferry


The following is a text release from Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM):

(ALAMEDA, Calif.) — Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM) has announced the beginning of construction of Water-Go-Round, the first-of-its-kind hydrogen fuel cell boat. The keel-laying ceremony is a celebrated tradition of laying down the backbone of a vessel, which is a milestone in making a ship come to life. The 70-foot catamaran is being built by Bay Ship & Yacht Co. of Alameda. It will showcase the advantages of hydrogen fuel cells for the commercial maritime industry, with construction expected to be complete by September 2019.

"Today's ceremony symbolizes more than the start of construction of a single vessel, it marks the start of a new movement in the maritime community," said Dr. Joseph W. Pratt, CEO of GGZEM. "Operators all over the world are seeing that hydrogen fuel cell electric drivetrains can provide both environmental and economic advantages. Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine and our partners are proud to be selected by California to showcase this aboard the Water-Go-Round."

Funding for the CARB grant for the country's first zero-emission ferry comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is administering the project, alongside other partners including Bay Ship & Yacht Co., BAE Systems, Hydrogenics, Red and White Fleet, Incat Crowther, Hexagon Composites, the Port of San Francisco, and Sandia National Laboratories.

"The Air District is excited to be part of the team for the first zero emission, hydrogen fuel-cell powered ferry project in the nation," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. "By demonstrating cutting-edge, diesel-free technology, we can showcase the benefits of these cleaner solutions which will protect public health and the environment while reducing air pollution and reliance on fossil fuel."

Once Water-Go-Round is launched it will be operated for three months in San Francisco Bay, to enable Sandia National Laboratories to independently assess performance and gather data for CARB to determine marine suitability of the technology. Additionally, partners will be gathering feedback from operators and passengers to determine best commercial use of the vessel. 

Red and White Fleet intends to use the Water-Go-Round as the first of several vessels with GGZEM integrations in order to meet their commitment to a build a 100 percent zero emission fleet by 2025.

"The technology for zero pollution is here today and we are honored to be the operator of the Water-Go-Round," said Tom Escher, president of Red and White Fleet. "I'm convinced it will prove the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cell application on all maritime vessels. The Water-Go-Round is a 'seed' and when one puts a 'seed' in water, it grows. This growth will include large ferries, crew boats, fishing boats, supply vessels, tugboats and large ocean containerships. The Water-Go-Round is the beginning of the shift from hydrocarbon maritime fuels to zero pollution hydrogen fuels. California is going to prove to the global shipping community that hydrogen fuel cells offer zero pollution for the benefit of the entire world."

By Professional Mariner Staff