Washington State Ferries plans to convert largest vessels to hybrids

2d2c0af2 4f11 11e8 96ed 7fb332a43bf4 640x391

(SEATTLE) — Washington State Ferries announced plans Thursday to convert its three largest vessels from diesel fuel to electric power over the next several years, The Seattle Times reported.

Two of the four diesel engines that power each ferry in the state’s Jumbo Mark II fleet — Tacoma, Puyallup and Wenatchee — would be replaced with batteries, pending state funding.

The hybrid ferries would mostly run on electric power and use the diesel engines for backup and to recharge the batteries as part of an effort to cut fuel costs and reduce the state’s carbon footprint. Ultimately, the state hopes to install onshore charging stations that would allow the ferries to run solely on electric power.

The design for the conversion process, which will rely on research from Scandinavian countries, is set to begin this summer.

If all goes as planned, “we’d like to put the first vessel into service by the summer season two years from now,” said Matthew von Ruden, director of vessels for Washington State Ferries. The next vessel would be converted in 2021, followed by the third vessel in 2022.

The agency is still working to secure funding for the project, which must be approved by the state Legislature. Money would come from the federal Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and settlement funds from Volkswagen.

Click here to read the story.

By Professional Mariner Staff