A group of public and private partners in Washington have come together to accelerate the design of a fast foil ferry to provide zero-emissions, high-speed passenger ferry service in the Evergreen State, MarineLink reports.
Participants in the Joint Innovation Project include three Washington ports that have joined forces to support the effort: Port of Anacortes, Port of Bellingham and Port of Skagit. The vessel is under design by Glosten Inc., a naval architecture and marine engineering firm, and Bieker Boats, a performance marine craft designer. Kitsap Transit has identified a potential route for their ferry operations and sponsored the team in applying for additional funding to advance the concept.
Leading this collaborative joint innovation project effort is Washington Maritime Blue, a strategic alliance formed to foster maritime innovation and sustainability in support of an inclusive blue economy, and DNV GL, a technical assurance firm providing independent advisory services to the maritime and energy industries.
Additional project partners Skagit County and EDASC (Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County) share the maritime focus and joint goals of lower emissions, less road congestion and economic development opportunities for the designers and manufacturers in the county.
The idea began when Paul Bieker returned to Seattle after his work designing the first hydrofoil vessel for the Americas Cup-winning Team Oracle and was stunned by the traffic. He realized that applying hydrofoil innovations to ferry vessels would improve speed, efficiency and access. Working with Glosten, they created a preliminary design that would enable Washington State to recreate the “Mosquito Fleet.” Aptly named because of the numerous ferries travelling from port to port like a “swarm of mosquitoes,” the fleet had its heyday from 1850s through the 1930s, but ended as road and rail transportation began to dominate. With increased congestion from land-based transportation, a new fleet of ferries could alleviate regional transportation issues and take advantage of the advanced design, manufacturing, boatbuilding and materials capabilities found in the region.
The project will advance an innovative, replicable business model for an efficient electric transit concept: a high-speed hydrofoil passenger ferry. The Foil Ferry is designed by Bieker Boats and Glosten, and leverages private sector innovations including hydrofoil design, lightweight carbon fiber construction and battery technology. It supports transit options by connecting urban, suburban and rural communities with green transit alternatives that can take cars off the roads.
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