SW/TCH Maritime (SW/TCH) reports that it has invested to construct and own the Water Go Round e-ferry in collaboration with Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM).
As we reported earlier (see story), the 84-passenger hydrogen fuel cell powered ferry is currently under construction at the Bay Ship & Yacht shipyard in Alameda, Calif.
It is being built using private funding from SW/TCH and a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District), the administrator of the grant.
The $3 million grant comes from California Climate Investments Initiative, a statewide program that puts Cap-and-Trade dollars to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions The project leverages proven technology from partners including BAE Systems and Hydrogenics.
“San Francisco is one of many growing port cities in the U.S. that is struggling to accommodate intensifying strain on legacy commuting systems, but has untapped potential to better use its waterways,” said Pace Ralli, co-founder of SW/TCH, which describes itself as an “impact investment platform building the first fleet of maritime vessels dedicated exclusively to decarbonization.”
SW/TCH fleet investments include zero-emissions vessels in several shipping sectors, using electric propulsion powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cell.
The founders and principals of SW/TCH are also the founders of Clean Marine Energy, established in 2012 to develop clean fuel supply, distribution, and charging infrastructure for ships in North America. Its investments include the JAX LNG facility in Jacksonville, Fla.
“Commuters are seeking more flexible and enjoyable transportation solutions that avoid traffic around the Bay Area, and we’re honored to be working with GGZEM and the State of California to develop one of the cleanest possible commuting options, for public use or as a dedicated service that companies can offer their employees,” added Ralli.
“We’ve come a long way since conceiving of this idea back in 2016, and we’re confident that SW/TCH is the ideal partner to help bring it to reality,” said Joseph Pratt, CEO of GGZEM. “They use capital to drive environmental impact and their team’s unique experience building low-emissions vessels and fueling infrastructure will help promote the adoption of GGZEM technology for a variety of marine applications.”
FLAGSHIP FOR FUTURE FERRY FLEET
The San Francisco e-ferry will act as the flagship vessel for SW/TCH’s fleet, an important first step in a concerted effort to curb transportation emissions while mitigating roadway congestion in the largest urban centers across the country. This comes on the heels of SW/TCH’s earlier announced plans to establish a fully electric ferry in New York City, which is now scheduled for deployment following the proof of concept by the Water-Go-Round.
SW/TCH plans to work with existing ferry operators on both coasts to provide capital to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission modes of transit.
The state-of-the-art e-ferries will use all-electric propulsion powered either by hydrogen fuel cells or batteries that are charged with shore power, thereby circumventing the need to burn carbon-intensive fossil fuels.
Scaling this zero-emission technology will only be possible with significant investment in new fueling infrastructure, says SW/TCH, which is partnering with Clean Marine Energy (CME) to develop electric charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure onshore.
Backed by the same founders, CME plans to make clean fueling infrastructure available in multiple ports in the U.S.