New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that Maid of the Mist, which has been navigating the waters of the Lower Niagara River since 1846, is preparing to launch the first two new all-electric, zero-emission passenger vessels constructed in the United States.
“The Maid of the Mist has offered tours of the world-famous Niagara Falls waterfalls and of the Niagara River Gorge for more than a century, and are a signature tourism attraction of Western New York,” said Governor Cuomo. “The new zero-emission boats will continue that proud tradition while continuing our efforts to make New York State a premier environmentally friendly tourism destination.”
“It makes perfect sense for Maid of the Mist to be a world leader with the implementation of this green technology,” said Maid of the Mist President Christopher M. Glynn. “The new vessels will carry our guests to the base of Niagara Falls, one of the world’s largest sources of clean hydroelectric power.”
Designed by Propulsion Data Services, Inc., Marblehead, Mass., the new totally integrated vessels are currently under construction at the Burger Boat Company shipyard in Manitowoc, Wisc. In mid-May, the modules will be transported to Niagara Falls and lowered onto the Maid of the Mist dry dock and maintenance facility for assembly. Following completion of construction, launch and certification, the new vessels will be placed into service in mid-September.
Later this year, the catamaran-style vessels will provide more than 1.6 million guests from around the world with an up-close view of Niagara Falls.
Maid of the Mist VI (1990) and Maid of the Mist VII (1997), will be removed from service when the new vessels begin operating.
ABB will supply a comprehensive integrated power and propulsion solution for the newbuild vessels, including lithium-ion battery packs and an onshore charging system, enabling sustainable operation with maximum reliability.
The two vessels will be powered entirely by the high-capacity battery packs, becoming the first all-electric vessels ever built in the U/S.
The new vessels will benefit from ABB’s zero-emission technology when they start operating later this year, allowing guests to experience Niagara Falls undisturbed by engine noise, vibration or exhaust fumes from a conventional diesel engine.
“We are thrilled to be the U.S.’s first vessel owner to add all-electric ferries to our fleet,” said Glynn. “We have chosen ABB to support us in our journey towards more sustainable operation based on their unparalleled experience in marine system integration, as well as efficient and innovative technologies for sustainable transportation.”
Each of the vessels will be powered by a pair of battery packs with a total capacity of 316 kWh, split evenly between two catamaran hulls. Having two fully independent power systems on board will increase the resilience of operations by creating a redundancy.
The vessels will charge between every trip while passengers disembark and board. Shoreside charging will only take seven minutes, allowing the batteries to power the electric propulsion motors capable of a total 400 kW (563 HP) output. The power setup will be controlled by ABB’s integrated Power and Energy Management System (PEMS), which will optimize the energy use on board.
The batteries will be charged using hydropower – the largest single renewable energy source for electricity generation in the U.S., which accounts for 7 percent of the country’s total utility-scale electricity generation. The use of locally produced renewable power will make the energy cycle for the operation of the new Maid of the Mist vessels entirely emission-free.
In addition to integrating the ship-to-shore battery charging connection, ABB will supply the Maid of the Mist newbuilding project with switchboards, drives and the integrated control system, as well as the ABB Ability Marine Remote Diagnostic System for remote equipment monitoring and predictive maintenance.