New Casco Bay Lines ferry to apply innovative, environmentally-friendly technology

In February 2021, the Casco Bay Island Transit District’s board of directors accepted the diesel-electric powered hybrid propulsion gadget design to replace the Machigonne.

PORTLAND, Maine — For many people, Casco Bay Lines has turn out to be a lifeline to the mainland from six islands off the coast. The Machigonne ferry, adorned with pink and yellow trim, is a acquainted sight to Portlanders and those who come from out of state to ride it — but after 34 years in service, it is nearing the cease of its lifespan. With change, although, comes an exciting new bankruptcy, bringing progressive and environmentally-pleasant generation to Maine.

On February 25, the Casco Bay Island Transit District’s board of administrators accredited a design for the Machigonne’s replacement that will use a diesel-electric powered hybrid propulsion machine. That approach in contrast to the Machigonne, this vessel may not run entirely on diesel. Instead, it will purpose to run fully electric with diesel as a backup alternative. 

The substitute procedure has been in the works when you consider that verbal exchange commenced in 2016. The wellknown supervisor of Casco Bay Lines Hank Berg says firstly he and his group in no way could have taken into consideration a hybrid version since the maritime industry is quite conservative — but after gaining knowledge of greater about it, they determined to take a chance and begin collaborating with a naval architect in 2018 to come up with a layout.

Berg says a hybrid (instead of completely electric) version made the most experience to Casco Bay Lines, considering the fact that those vessels are so critical to normal life for lots Mainers. Casco Bay Lines has a fleet of 5 vessels — four lively and one on standby — and serves six islands in Casco Bay. Before the pandemic, the enterprise was bringing more than 1.1 million humans, 40,000 automobiles, and 500,000 pieces of freight to and from the mainland every yr. The aim of this new vessel is to assist set the fleet up for the subsequent 20 or 30 years — and it is pretty a obligation since the Machigonne itself from time to time makes as much as 17 trips to and from Peaks Island each day. 

Berg says the vessel is expected to fee a little extra than $16 million, and Casco Bay Lines is getting funding from seven resources to assist cowl it. Some of these resources include the Federal Transit Administration, Maritime Administration, Maine Department of Transportation, and the town of Portland. To Berg, this challenge represents innovation and new opportunities.

“We are excited, and I’m for my part very excited about this,” Berg expressed. “It’s been a long time coming. I cannot wait to peer it come to fruition.”

People like Twain Braden, the president of the board and a Peaks Island resident, agree.

“Everybody at the island were given very excited about the opportunity that our old boat was an opportunity to apply new era for something that everybody should stand at the back of,” Braden defined.

This new generation can have a ways-reaching, multifaceted affects, including quieter operations, more area for passengers and vehicles, and a double-ended design to improve efficiency. The environmental affects are also predicted to be great. Now, the Machigonne uses more than 220,000 gallons of diesel each yr. If the ferry is going fully electric, it’d reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the Portland location by way of approximately 800 metric heaps every yr. 

“Most of the sector acknowledges that the crisis that our weather is in isn’t any funny story,” Braden said. “The time to behave isn’t always now — it’s lengthy in the past.”

This endeavor is also setting Maine on the map nationwide. A senior task supervisor at ABB Marine and Ports, the company Casco Bay Lines has selected as its hybrid machine issuer, says Casco Bay Lines will be one of the first United States passenger ferry services in the public area to undertake this generation.

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