23 May 2024

The US's First Hydrogen-Fueled Ship Is Officially Ready to Set Sail

23 May 2024  by electrek   

The Sea Change, a hydrogen-powered catamaran ferry, just got Coast Guard clearance to operate commercially in the Bay Area.

Maritime vessel developer SWITCH Maritime received US Coast Guard approval on Friday to operate its flagship hydrogen ferry, the Sea Change, as a public ferry service.

“We are immensely grateful for the support from the US Coast Guard and all our partners along the path to completion,” said Pace Ralli, CEO of SWITCH. “This is not the finish line, but just a starting point from which to build many more.”

The Sea Change is equipped with hydrogen fuel cells that power its all-electric motors. These cells allow the vessel to travel up to 300 nautical miles (345 miles) at speeds of up to 15 knots (17 mph) and don’t require shoreside charging infrastructure.

Built and launched at All American Marine shipyard in Bellingham, Washington, the Sea Change is a 75-passenger catamaran ferry featuring an integrated hydrogen power system from Zero Emission Industries that has 360 kW of fuel cells from Cummins and 600 kW of electric motor propulsion from BAE Systems.

Following a formal launch event in June, the Sea Change will be operated in a six-month pilot service by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA). It’s funded by a public-private sponsorship that includes the Golden State Warriors and a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board.

SWITCH Maritime will put the hydrogen ferry into a more permanent route when the pilot finishes. The company is also developing new designs for larger and faster ferries for San Francisco Bay and other major US and international ferry markets.

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