Green Ferry To Ply Maine Waters

ABB will provide an integrated hybrid-electric power and propulsion solution to Casco Bay Lines’ new passenger ferry.

Artist Rendering Of New Ferry

Maine ferry operator Casco Bay Lines will utilize an integrated hybrid-electric power and propulsion solution from ABB for its environmentally friendly vessel. The 164-ft. (50-m) ferry will feature ABB Marine & Ports’ hybrid power, propulsion, and a shore charging system, supporting diesel-electric and zero-emissions battery-powered modes, as well as a combination of both. The ferry is expected to cut up to 800 tons (726 tonnes) of carbon dioxide per year.


In line with US governmental commitments to reduce the environmental impact of public service transit systems nationwide, the ferry project has been partially funded by federal and state grants, with a 15-vehicle and 599-passenger capacity vessel to replace an existing diesel-powered ferry for the Portland–Peaks Island service along the coast of Maine.


“This contract is an important milestone for ABB Marine & Ports hybrid-electric propulsion in the US ferry market,” said Bruce Strupp, senior account manager, new build, ABB Marine & Ports. “Momentum for lower carbon footprint ferry operations continues to grow worldwide, and ABB is honored that its integrated electric, digital, and connected solutions are being considered integral as more and more US operators replace obsolete vessels to match regulatory and societal demands.”


Within its integration, engineering, automation, and equipment supply roles, ABB will deliver its Onboard DC Grid power distribution system to give full control over when and how the vessel uses its diesel generators, the 904-kWh battery energy storage system, or a combination of the two to optimize energy consumption at any load. ABB is also supplying an automated shore charging system for installation at the Port of Portland, which automatically connects at the dock and will not require any additional port time to charge the vessel. Remote monitoring and predictive maintenance will be supported through the inclusion of the ABB Ability Remote Diagnostics System in the vessel.


“Hundreds of thousands of passengers ride the Casco Bay Lines ferry between Portland and Peaks Island each year,” said Hank Berg, general manager of Casco Bay Lines. “Increasingly, ferry passengers prioritize sustainability as a service expectation, in addition to reliability and comfort. The ability to switch to zero-emissions battery power in port is also a clear environmental benefit for residents in Portland and Peaks Island. We look forward to a close collaboration with ABB and we can’t wait to see the end result.”