© SWITCH Maritime
© SWITCH Maritime

Hydrogen-fuelled ferry to enter Bay Area trial after US Coast Guard approval

US-based SWITCH Maritime’s hydrogen-fuelled ferry has gained approval from the US Coast Guard to enter commercial service with plans for a six-month public trial.

Last Friday (May 17), a ceremony onboard the Sea Change vessel saw SWITCH presented with a signed Certificate of Inspection (COI) from Captain Taylor Lam, US Coast Guard Sector San Francisco commander and Captain of the Port.

© SWITCH Maritime

Capable of sailing up to 300 nautical miles at speeds of up to 15 knots, the 70-foot ferry originally launched in 2021, is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell power package made up of 360kW of Cummins fuel cells and a 246kg Hexagon hydrogen storage system.

Read more: Hydrogen ferry Sea Change launched into Californian waters

Now with COI, Sea Change will be operated in a six-month pilot service starting in June by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), with sponsorship from local authorities.

After the demonstration period, SWITCH intends to pet the vessel into a “more permanent” ferry route.

Pace Ralli, CEO of SWITCH, said the COI represented the result of years of “close collaboration” with the Coast Guard and came as a “significant milestone” in demonstrating the viability of carbon-neutral vessels.

“This is not the finish line, but just a starting point from which to build many more,” Ralli added.

The approval comes after the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2023 adopted a strategy to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, with a goal of reaching Net Zero “by or around” 2050.

TECO 2030 CEO: Mountains to move in meeting maritime climate targets

© TECO 2030

Founded in 2019, few hydrogen fuel cell players have their legacy so deeply rooted in the maritime industry than Norway’s TECO 2030, having spun out of the TECO Maritime Group.

With a history as a technology and repair service provider to the global shipping industry since 1994, the Group, following the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) implementation for the industry to reduce sulphur emissions to 0.5% from January 2020, launched TECO 2030 to support customers in their transition to more sustainable shipping.

The launch came at a pivotal time in shipping. In another quick step to clean up the industry, the IMO in 2021 adopted measures to reduce the carbon intensity of all ships by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008 levels, ahead of goals to see a 50% reduction of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a 70% cut of CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement1.

Considering the IMO’s own Greenhouse Gas Study 2020 estimated that the 2008 international shipping GHG emissions reached 794 million tonnes in CO2e2, there is undoubtably a mountain that still needs tackling.

With the first tranche of targets now less than seven years away, TECO 2030’s Group CEO, Tore Enger, told H2 View that although the targets are unlikely to be met, the industry has achieved a lot, and it should not deter progress…

Click here to keep reading.

About the author
Related Posts
Loading feed...
Please wait...