Siemens to help Washington State Ferries with hybrid conversion

Siemens to help Washington State Ferries with hybrid conversion
Siemens will install battery storage onboard three Jumbo Mark II class vessels (Image: Siemens)

Washington State Ferries (WSF) has chosen German company Siemens to conduct propulsion control system replacement and hybrid conversion studies for three of its Jumbo Mark II class vessels.

WSF is taking steps to cut operational costs and reduce the carbon footprint of the service by 48,565 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, following an executive order by Washington Governor Jay Inslee. The three Jumbo Mark II class vessels are the largest in the WSF’s fleet, with capacity for 1,800 passengers and 202 vehicles. The ferries use five million gallons of diesel per year, accounting for more than 26% of WSF’s annual fuel consumption.

Siemens will work with WSF to electrify the ferries, transitioning them from diesel fuel- to nearly zero-emission vessels as directed by the executive order.

“This will put WSF on track to reach its greenhouse gas reduction goal,” said David Grucza, marine director at Siemens. “The conversions will lower fuel and maintenance costs by more than US$14 million annually. In addition, ferry passengers will enjoy more pleasant and cleaner rides that are free from diesel engine noise, vibration and exhaust.”

Siemens is now completing an engineering study to update obsolete equipment on the Jumbo Mark II class vessels. After it has received funding in November 2019, the company will proceed with the hybrid conversion design, which will involve removing two propulsion generators, installing battery storage and developing a rapid charging system. Engineers will then work with the selected shipyard to complete the hybridisation process on all three vessels. The project will also include the installation of rapid shore charging stations at each port.

Siemens has previously worked on hybrid-electric propulsion projects in Europe, including the conversion of the Princess Benedikte, the world’s largest hybrid ferry.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
25 October 2019

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