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Friday, August 21, 2020  (Comments: 1)

DNV GL has joined forces with a US maritime innovation and sustainability alliance, Washington Maritime Blue, in a joint innovation project (JIP) for a zero-emission fast ferry design for the Puget Sound area.

The scheme is supported by three ports in Washington State, Port of Anacortes, Port of Bellingham, and Port of Skagit, while the vessel design is being undertaken by naval architect Glosten and performance craft designer Bieker Boats. Other partners include Kitsap Transit, which has identified a potential route and provided sponsorship, Skagit County and EDASC (Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County) which hope to benefit from the goals of lower emissions, less road congestion, and opportunities for innovative designers and manufacturers in the County.

The basic idea stemmed from Paul Bieker's work designing the first hydrofoil vessel for the Americas Cup-winning Team Oracle. Working with Glosten, Bieker Boats created a preliminary hydrofoil-based design that would enable Washington State to recreate the so-called 'Mosquito Fleet', of numerous ferries travelling between ports "like a swarm of mosquitoes” up to the 1930s, when road and rail transport began to dominate. A new fleet of high speed passenger ferries offers the possibility of alleviating current regional transportation issues with a green alternative. 

“Our three local Ports see this innovation as an opportunity to spur economic recovery in the boat-building world, a critically important industry in our region,” said Patsy Martin, Executive Director of the Port of Skagit. “There are strong maritime industry clusters in each of our districts that could benefit from the design and construction of these vessels in our communities, resulting in a direct economic impact.”

“An ambitious but needed project like the relaunch of this type of ferry service would be exponentially more difficult if each individual stakeholder acted alone,” said Joshua Berger, Founder and Board Chair of Washington Maritime Blue. “A cluster organisation like ours can bring together the technologies, required local knowledge, and resources that will ensure that this joint innovation project will be successful.”

The design includes the options of fully electric propulsion or diesel-electric propulsion for extended range. The diesel electric option is two to three times more fuel efficient than existing fast ferries and has the potential to save 1,500t of CO2 emissions a year, while the fully electric version offers even greater improvements.

“Developing the Foil Ferry in collaboration with the Washington Maritime Blue Joint Innovation Project exemplifies the very best of our Pacific Northwest values and capabilities. This partnership of ports, designers, builders, and operators is a catalyst that is propelling our design into a reality, to the benefit of our economy, the environment, and the passenger vessel community at large,” said Glosten Project Manager Matthew Lankowski.

Reader Comments (1)

This is great news for high-speed ferry operations on Puget Sound and for the hydrofoil technical community. It's also an example of good ideas that re-surface after lengthy gaps in time. Many can recall the initial operation of Boeing Marine Systems (BMS) built Jetfoils in the Pacific Northwest in the 1980s: Mark Bebar Vice-President, International Hydrofoil Society

By MARK BEBAR on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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