Texas christens hybrid ferry for Galveston Island service

(HOUSTON) — The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) recently christened its new 293-foot double-ended hybrid ferry, Esperanze “Hope” Andrade.

The Shearer Group Inc. (TSGI) began working with TXDOT to design and provide construction oversight services for the vessel in 2017. The vessel was built by Gulf Island Fabricators in Houma, La. It is named for the first female chair of TXDOT and the first Latina secretary of state in Texas.

The 495-passenger, 70-car diesel-electric ferry provides service from Galveston Island to the Bolivar Peninsula, a 2.7-mile transit. The hybrid functionality of the vessel will improve overall operational costs while providing a higher level of redundancy and safety compared to the other vessels.

The Shearer Group Inc. photo

The vessel is designed with a diesel-electric power generation system and a power management system (PMS) programmed to use the onboard battery storage to allow for peak shaving to reduce fuel consumption and maximize efficiency and reliability. This means that during transit, only two generators will be online, with the batteries supplying the remainder of the power demands to the vessel. While loading and unloading, the generators stay online and will use excess power to recharge the batteries.

“TSGI is proud to have worked with TXDOT to design and oversee the construction of their newest Galveston-Bolivar Ferry vessel,” the company said. “This vehicle/passenger ferry is the first of its kind in the U.S. to operate under Subchapter H of Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations with a hybrid diesel- electric system that incorporates energy storage technology.”

– The Shearer Group Inc.

By Professional Mariner Staff