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TWICE THE RANGE, DOUBLE THE SPEED, FROM ELECTRIC FERRY

TWICE THE RANGE, DOUBLE THE SPEED, FROM ELECTRIC FERRY

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 

Boundary Layer Technologies, a California based marine technology startup, has launched a concept design for a fully electric hydrofoil ferry; and has plans on the drawing board for foil-assisted cargo vessels fuelled by green hydrogen.

With potentially twice the speed and range of existing electric ferries, the new 'Electra' design has a range of up to 100 naut miles and cruising speed of 40 knots due to Boundary Layer Technology’s proprietary hydrofoil technology and podded propulsion system. Compared to fossil fuel alternatives, Electra’s battery electric propulsion is considered to significantly reduce cabin noise by up to 20dB compared to conventional ferries, while the foiling system offers improved seakeeping and ride comfort.

Ed Kearney, CEO Boundary Layer Technologies, said: “Hydrofoil technology is the key to enabling electrification of passenger ferries. By reducing the drag of the vessel by a factor of two, the powering requirements are also halved, which increases the speed and range of what an electric ferry can do. This opens the door to electrification of the majority of ferry routes across the world.”

The Electra ferry is believed to offer Opex reductions of up to 35% compared to fossil fuel burning fast ferry alternatives, as well as helping operators de-risk the future cost uncertainties of carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes being implemented globally.

Patrick Murphy, President, Blue & Gold Fleet, contract operator of San Francisco's 15 high speed ferries, said: “We think Electra is an exciting development of ferry technology and shows promise for decarbonising ferry operations and adding to the customer's experience.”

Boundary Layer Technologies plans to have the first vessels in operation by 2024, targeting regions such as the US, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean.

The company has bult and tested small-scale demonstration prototypes of its hydrofoil system, including a vessel capable of carrying a shipping container, paving the way for its future concept, known as Argo, which the company says will travel at twice the speed of conventional container ships, making it only slightly slower than air freight at half the cost, by operating direct routings to reduce transit times.

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