With the nearly 1000 vessels in the US fleet moving a total of over 100 million passengers and over 25 million vehicles annually, ferries serve as a vital means of transportation for urban and rural communities alike across the country. While an important mode of transit, ferries also represent a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and particulate matter which negatively impact the air quality and health outcomes for local communities. The ageing ferry fleets in the US burn tens of millions of gallons of diesel each year, and each diesel-burning ferry is a candidate for being converted or displaced with a low- or zero-emissions vessel.
SWITCH’s recent fundraise comes on the back of the completion of its flagship zero-emission vessel, Sea Change, which will operate as part of the public Water Emergency Transportation Authority’s (WETA) SF Bay Ferry fleet. The new 75-passenger ferry uses hydrogen fuel cells to produce electricity to power electric motors for distances up to 300 nautical miles, and speeds up to 15 knots, with the added benefits of no exhaust smoke and very little vibration and noise. While the only emission is pure water vapour, this technology allows for new ferries to have the same performance capabilities as diesel-powered vessels, and without the need for installing large-scale battery charging infrastructure on the shore.
“Nexus Development Capital is committed to helping companies bridge the gap between project conception and implementation by working together to take nascent technologies to market,” said Nexus Development Capital CEO, Josh Kaufman. “SWITCH is filling a huge market gap in decarbonising the maritime industry, and we’re excited to work together to bring carbon-free sea transport to the US.”
As states like California begin to implement stringent emissions regulations and reporting requirements for commercial harbour craft (including ferries), vessel operators are becoming faced with the reality that they need to modernise and decarbonise their ageing fleets, often without the resources to successfully make the transition. SWITCH’s model addresses the complex, resource-intensive process of technology integration, vessel construction and regulatory approvals for zero-emission vessels and offers them a painless path to a carbon-neutral, compliant fleet.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalhydrogenreview.com/hydrogen/17112023/switch-maritime-secures-10-million-to-expand-hydrogen-ferry-fleet/
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