Construction begins for USA’s first hydrogen ferry
In the Bay Ship & Yacht shipyard, the construction for the first fuel cell ferry named Water-Go-Round has begun. The ferry will most likely be completed in September 2019, before it will be used for three months of testing in the San Francisco Bay.
If the tests are successful, many more hydrogen fuel cell ferries may follow the Water-Go-Round. The Red and White Fleet shipyard plans to use only emissions-free vessels by 2025. The test phase is being accompanied by the Sandia National Laboratories, a research and development facility funded by the US department of energy, which will be gathering data regarding the hydrogen ferry in a real-world scenario. The California Air Resources Board, which is supporting the construction efforts with three million dollars, aims to verify whether the technology is scalable to wider ranges, using the data collected.
Behind the initiative is a conglomeration of organizations, headed by Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM). Technical details regarding the ferry have also been partially released, with two electric motors by BAE Systems planned with a performance of 300 kW each. The top speed will be around 22 knots. The H² tanks will hold up to 264 kg of hydrogen, which is enough to run the ferry for two days straight, according to the manufacturers. A new detail has been added, however, which is that the ferries will have batteries with a total capacity of 100 KWh, and space for a total of 84 passengers on board.