California-based marine technology startup Boundary Layer Technologies has unveiled a new fully electric hydrofoiling ferry concept design.
Using the company’s proprietary hydrofoil technology and podded propulsion system, ELECTRA has a range of up to 100 nautical miles and cruise speed of 40 knots, twice the range and speed of existing electric ferries.
Compared to fossil fuel alternatives, ELECTRA’s battery electric propulsion reduces cabin noise by up to 20dB compared to conventional ferries, Boundary Layer Technologies said, noting the vessel’s foiling system also offers excellent seakeeping and ride comfort.
Boundary Layer Technologies has already developed the hydrofoil and control systems required for ELECTRA, and plans to have the first vessels in operation by the first quarter of 2024 in regions such as the U.S., Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
“Hydrofoil technology is the key to enabling electrification of passenger ferries,” said Ed Kearney, CEO of Boundary Layer Technologies. “By reducing the drag of the vessel by a factor of two, the powering requirements are also halved, which increases the speed and range of what an electric ferry can do. This opens the door to electrification of the majority of ferry routes across the world.”
Boundary Layer Technologies said the ELECTRA ferry offers opex reductions of up to 35% compared to fossil fuel burning fast ferry alternatives, as well as helps operators de-risk the future cost uncertainties of carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes being implemented globally.
“We think Electra is an exciting development of ferry technology and shows promise for decarbonizing ferry operations and adding to the customer's experience,” said Patrick Murphy, president, Blue & Gold Fleet, who is the contract operator of San Francisco's 15 high speed ferries.