Sea Change, a 70-foot, 75-passenger zero-emissions, hydrogen fuel cell-powered, electric-drive ferry that will operate in the California Bay Area was launched by All American Marine, Inc (AAM).
According to the builder, this will be the first commercial hydrogen fuel cell passenger ferry in the world. It was developed and constructed to demonstrate a pathway to commercialization for zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell marine technologies. While still working on permitting hydrogen fuel systems for maritime vessels with the US Coast Guard, the completed ferry will exhibit the viability of this zero-carbon ship propulsion technology for the commercial and regulatory communities.
The project is funded by private capital from SWITCH, an impact investment platform building the first fleet of exclusively zero-carbon maritime vessels to accelerate the decarbonization and energy transition of the US maritime sector. “By working closely with the US Coast Guard, with innovative technology partners, and with best-in-class shipyards such as All American Marine, we can make the transition to decarbonized shipping a reality today,” said Pace Ralli, Co-Founder and CEO of SWITCH. “We don’t have to wait.” SWITCH’s mission-driven platform seeks to work with existing ferry owners and operators around the country to help facilitate their adoption of zero-carbon vessels to replace aging diesel-powered vessels, leveraging significant experience from the technologies used in the build of this first ferry.
AAM is a leading builder of hybrid-electric vessels in the United States and was chosen to complete this project because of their experience building unique, high-quality vessels. AAM’s new state-of-the-art shipyard has an expanded capacity and production capabilities for additional, larger and more complex vessels.
“Hydrogen-fuel cell technology will prove to be a robust alternative to conventional powertrain technologies,” said Ron Wille, AAM President & COO. “AAM is continuing our tradition of building vessels on the leading edge of technology using advanced propulsion methods, which is why we are so proud to have completed construction on such a revolutionary vessel.”
The vessel is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell power package provided by Zero Emissions Industries (formerly Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine), comprised of 360 kW of Cummins fuel cells and Hexagon hydrogen storage tanks with a capacity of 246 kg. This system is integrated with 100 kWh of a lithium-ion battery provided by XALT and a 2x 300 kW electric propulsion system provided by BAE Systems. The hydrogen fuel cell powertrain system affords the same operational flexibility as diesel with zero emissions and less maintenance.
This project has received important municipal support including a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the first ever loan guarantee under BAAQMD’s Climate Tech Finance program, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gases by accelerating emerging climate technologies.