Maid of the Mist launches new all-electric, zero-emission ferries

Two next-generation Maid of the Mist ferries installed with all-electric propulsion from ABB have been launched in New York.

The newbuilds — the first passenger vessels of their kind in the United States – have been approved to enter service on 6 October 2020, according to ABB.

Maid of the Mist
Image Courtesy: ABB

The zero-emission ferries named the James V. Glynn and the Nikola Tesla, respectively in honor of the Maid of the Mist chairman and the renowned energy pioneer – are the first all-electric vessels built in the US, with power drawn from a high-capacity battery pack supplied and integrated by ABB.

In addition to batteries, the technology company has supplied a comprehensive integrated power and propulsion solution for the newbuild vessels, including an offshore charging system.

“(W)e are thrilled to open a new page in our company’s history, moving our fleet to zero-emission operation,” Christopher M. Glynn, President of Maid of the Mist Corp, commented.

“The transportation sector currently generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. In order for us to meet the Governor’s nation-leading target of a 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, we must take bold actions now. The electrification of these two brand-new tour boats sets the example that we can electrify our economy which is good for our communities, our health and our climate,” Gil C. Quiniones, President and Chief Executive Officer at the New York Power Authority, said.

“As well as allowing passengers to enjoy the … experience of Niagara Falls and safeguarding the environment, the vessels confirm growing acceptance of all-electric vessel propulsion,” Juha Koskela, ABB Marine & Ports Division President, noted.

James V. Glynn and Nikola Tesla are each powered by a pair of battery packs providing 316 kWh total capacity divided across two catamaran hulls, offering a level of redundancy that helps to safeguard operations. The batteries allow the electric propulsion motors to reach an output of up to 400 kW, with the power setup controlled by ABB’s Power and Energy Management System.

They are charged using locally produced hydroelectricity – ensuring that the energy cycle for the operation of the Maid of the Mist ferries is entirely emissions free – in a process that takes just seven minutes during disembarkation and boarding. 

Having installed the ship-to-shore battery charging connection, ABB also supplied the Glynn and the Tesla with a comprehensive scope of electric, digital and connected solutions including switchboards, drives and the integrated control system, in addition to the ABB Ability Marine Remote Diagnostic System for monitoring and predictive maintenance.

The Maid of the Mist first launched in 1846, making it one of North America’s longest running tour operators. Maid of the Mist vessels have been continuously operating tours to the base of Niagara Falls for 134 consecutive years.

The new Maid of the Mist vessels build on a $70 million revitalization of Niagara Falls State Park — an initiative that has renewed the park’s major viewing areas.

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