Sea Change hydrogen ferry to launch in San Francisco Bay next month

Sea Change hydrogen ferry to launch in San Francisco Bay next month

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April 27, 2022 0 By Amanda Giasson

The vessel built in Bellingham, Washington will soon be delivered to the area so that it can launch.

The Sea Change hydrogen ferry is getting close to its launch date in San Francisco Bay, providing fossil fuel- and emissions-free transportation.

Officials are hopeful that this will be the start of an important decarbonization transition on the water.

The Sea Change is a 70-foot, 75-passenger hydrogen ferry and will service a number of stops along the waterfront in San Francisco. The vessel was built in Bellingham, Washington at the All American Marine shipyard. It has been undergoing testing rounds with the U.S. Coast Guard in Puget Sound.

“We’re here in the water, under hydrogen fuel cell power and it’s the first commercial vessel in the world that’s got that propulsion system,” said Switch Maritime chief executive Pace Ralli, who spoke in Bellingham Bay on the vessel’s bow.

The Sea Change is a part of a broader California renewable energy effort being made in transportation. Other areas where considerable moves are being made include those in clean-energy cars, trains, other watercraft, and hydrogen trucks.

Advocates are hopeful that the hydrogen ferry will be the start of a much larger decarbonization result.

The goal for the fuel cell vessel is to demonstrate the way clean and carbon-reduction methods can make a difference in water transportation. That said, some of the challenges that are expected to be faced even when the technology proves itself, include higher costs.

The concept of the fuel cell transportation vessel was conceived by Ralli with the intention of using it in New York City where he was living at the time. The goal was to play a role in decarbonizing the maritime industry.

Hydrogen Ferry - Hydrogen-powered ferry prepares to launch in San Francisco - Reuters YouTube

 

“There was a project in California that was being sponsored by the California Air Resources Board, and they were working on hydrogen fuel cell as a method for decarbonizing ships, so we joined up with them and funded their project in 2019,” said Ralli while discussing how clean and efficient the hydrogen ferry will be when it launches in San Francisco Bay. The vessel is expected to arrive in San Francisco in late May.