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Wednesday, March 10, 2021 

Maine ferry operator Casco Bay Lines has committed to an integrated hybrid-electric power and propulsion solution from ABB for its new vessel, in a technology step change along one of the longest-established ferry routes in the US, aiming to cut up to 800 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

The new 50m ferry will feature ABB Marine & Ports’ hybrid power, propulsion and a shore charging system, supporting diesel-electric and zero-emissions battery-powered modes, as well as a combination of both. With the ferry operating in zero-emission mode, the passengers will benefit from a smoother, cleaner and quieter ride.

In line with US governmental commitments to reduce the environmental impact of public service transit systems nationwide, the ferry project has been partially funded by federal and state grants, with a 15-vehicle and 599-passenger capacity vessel to replace an existing diesel-powered ferry for the Portland–Peaks Island service along the coast of Maine.

 Bruce Strupp, Senior Account Manager, New Build, ABB Marine & Ports. said: “This contract is an important milestone for ABB Marine & Ports hybrid-electric propulsion in the U.S. ferry market. Momentum for lower carbon footprint ferry operations continues to grow worldwide, and ABB is honored that its integrated electric, digital and connected solutions are being considered integral as more and more US operators replace obsolete vessels to match regulatory and societal demands.”

Hank Berg, GM Casco Bay Lines, added: “Hundreds of thousands of passengers ride the Casco Bay Lines ferry between Portland and Peaks Island each year. Increasingly, ferry passengers prioritise sustainability as a service expectation, in addition to reliability and comfort. The ability to switch to zero-emission battery power in port is also a clear environmental benefit for residents in Portland and Peaks Island. We look forward to a close collaboration with ABB and we can’t wait to see the end result.”

ABB will deliver the Onboard DC Grid power distribution system to give full control over when and how the vessel uses its diesel generators, the 904-kWh battery energy storage system or a combination of the two to optimise energy consumption at any load. ABB is supplying an automated shore charging system for installation at the Port of Portland, which automatically connects at the dock and will not require any additional port time to charge the vessel. Remote monitoring and predictive maintenance will be supported through the ABB Ability Remote Diagnostics System.

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