US startup unveils all-electric foiling ferry concept ELECTRA

Boundary Layer Technologies, a California based marine technology startup, has launched a fully electric hydrofoiling ferry concept design.

Boundary Layer Technologies
Photo: Boundary Layer Technologies

The ferry concept design ELECTRA has a range of up to 100 nautical miles and cruise speed of 40 knots — twice the speed and range of existing electric ferries due to Boundary Layer Technology’s hydrofoil technology and podded propulsion system.

Compared to fossil fuel alternatives, ELECTRA’s battery-electric propulsion significantly reduces cabin noise by up to 20dB compared to conventional ferries. Its foiling system is also said to offer advanced seakeeping and ride comfort.

“Hydrofoil technology is the key to enabling electrification of passenger ferries,” Ed Kearney, CEO of Boundary Layer Technologies, commented.

“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.”

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,” Patrick Murphy, President, Blue & Gold Fleet, who is the contract operator of San Francisco’s 15 high-speed ferries, said.

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Boundary Layer Technologies has already developed the hydrofoil and control systems required for ELECTRA, and plans to have the first vessels in operation by Q1 2024 in regions such as the United States, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean.

Backed by the accelerator Y Combinator, as well as Chris Sacca’s Lower Carbon Capital, Boundary Layer Technologies has a mission to decarbonize marine and air transport by utilising hydrofoils and zero-emissions technologies.