Statue Cruises To Use Cutting-Edge Hybrid Boat
Builders are currently working on the world's largest hydrogen hybrid ferry, which is getting set to hit the New York Harbor this spring. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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The building of any boat is impressive, to see what human ingenuity can create. The particular boat Hornblower Cruises is working on in Bridgeport, Conn. is particularly exciting, as it is a hybrid vessel that will utilize just about every green energy technology -- hydrogen, batteries, solar and wind. It is the latest boat for the Statue Cruise line, which takes tourists to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and trips around New York Harbor.
"This will be the first hydrogen hybrid vessel in the world for commercial use," says Statue Cruises Chief Operating Officer Michael Burke. "While you may have hydrogen in use for private yachts, here 600 passengers per cruise will be able to enjoy the benefits of reduced emissions, lower fuel consumption. The diesel engines will be used only when necessary. There will be no wasted fuel. When we're at the dock, we'll be able to plug in some of the house requirements, lighting, ventilation. We'll be able to function off solar and wind elements."
Its engineers say in the not-too-distant future, the engines will be able to run solely on hydrogen, holding diesel only as an emergency backup. That would mean the boat would have zero emissions, just water vapor.
Developers say down the line, the battery, the wind turbines, the solar cells and so forth is designed to be swapped out, as those technologies improve. That way, they can have a greater input into the overall powering of this vessel.
"We really looked to design a control system that, for lack of a better word, would be 'plug and play.' That stuff is advancing at an incredible rate," says Hornblower Cruises engineer Cameron Clark. "I don't see us being at the point in the next five, 10, 15, 20 years where a single source is going to take over everything. I really see the next few decades as the time for multiple power sources. You know, you make use of wind when there's wind, make use of solar when there's sun."
Developers say at over $7 million to build, the boat costs almost double a modern diesel boat to build. Hornblower says it does not necessarily plan to make that money back on fuel costs, but rather use this boat as a test bed for designing others like it in the future. The boat, which will be used primarily for harbor cruises, is scheduled to set sail in the spring.