SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 — Rolls-Royce is to deliver its first MTU EPA Tier 4-compliant propulsion systems to San Francisco Bay ferry operator WETA (Water Emergency Transportation Authority) for installation in three 44 m catamaran ferries on order at Anacortes, WA, shipbuilder Dakota Creek Industries.
The first of the three high-speed ferries is expected to enter service on the San Francisco Bay in late 2018. The San Francisco Bay is subject to special environmental protection.
“Our goal is to operate a ferry service that is sustainable, cost-efficient and eco-friendly,” said Nina Rannells, WETA Executive Director. “The MTU Tier 4 engines will play a critical role in WETA’s expansion of sustainable and reliable ferry service on the San Francisco Bay.”
MTU is to supply in total six 16V 4000 units, six MTU-built SCR systems and six ZF gearboxes for the three vessels, which will also be equipped with MTU BlueVision ship automation. Each engine will deliver 2,560 kW/ 3,435 bhp at 1,800 rpm), enabling the catamarans to reach speeds up to 34 knots.
The EPA Tier 4 emissions standard which came into force in the on January 1, 2016 demands substantially lower nitrous oxide, particulate and hydrocarbon emissions compared with the previous emissions stage.
“The system solution that MTU offers satisfies all our criteria with respect to emissions, space requirement and performance,” said Rannells.
The MTU – San Francisco Bay Area ferry partnership goes back to 1997 and its development was strongly supported by the MTU distributor Pacific Power Group.
WETA now operates over thirty MTU engines – Series 2000 or 4000 – in its passenger-only ferries.
Knut Müller, head of marine and governmental business at MTU said: “We are immensely proud that WETA has selected our Tier 4 engines. WETA has always sought drive technology of the highest order in terms of innovation and ecological soundness and that has constantly challenged us to keep on developing.”
WETA’s current ferry fleet comprises14 high-speed catamarans that provide service via nine terminals between the cities of Vallejo, San Francisco, Alameda, Oakland and South San Francisco. Since 2012, passenger numbers have grown by 78% and now reach the 2.7 million mark. The ferries are deployed to relieve the traffic on Bay Area bridges.
“We are experiencing unprecedented growth in ferry ridership,” said Rannells. “As our Bay Area population expands and traffic congestion continues to worsen, more and more people are looking for a convenient and enjoyable means of transportation, and they’re turning to ferries.”
In 2016, WETA adopted a Strategic Plan that outlines a vision for 44 vessels, 16 terminals and a 740% increase in peak capacity by 2035.