Tourists will now be able to enjoy trips to Niagara Falls powered by electric boats, as a result of a partnership between Swiss-Swedish equipment manufacture ABB and the Maid of the Mist tour company.
Maid of the Mist will deploy two new all-electric vessels, built within the United States, to take tourists on trips to the Niagara Falls, with the boats powered completely by high capacity battery packs.
“We are thrilled to be the US’s first vessel owner to add all-electric ferries to our fleet,” Christopher M. Glynn, president of Maid of the Mist Corporation said in a statement
“Maid of the Mist’s decisive move towards e-mobility signals a new era in the future of transportation and complements ABB’s commitment to power the world without consuming the earth,” President of the Industrial Automation business at ABB, Peter Terwiesch said,
“Reducing emissions at Niagara Falls is not only important for the natural landmark, but also proves that the technologies enabling sustainable mobility are already available today.”
The Maid of the Mist has been operating boat tours of Niagara Falls since 1846, with up to 1.6 million visitors taking trips to visit the Falls each year.
“The Maid of the Mist has offered tours of the world-famous Niagara Falls waterfalls and of the Niagara River Gorge for more than a century, and are a signature tourism attraction of Western New York,” New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said at the announcement of the all-electric vessels.
“The new zero-emission boats will continue that proud tradition while continuing our efforts to make New York State a premier environmentally friendly tourism destination.”
The vessels will be powered by twin battery packs, with a total storage capacity of 316kWh and electric propulsion motors with a total power output of 400kW. The batteries will be charged between each trip.
A battery management system developed by ABB will allow for the batteries to be charged to 80% capacity within seven minutes after each trip.
With electricity sourced by hydroelectricity generated within the Niagara falls region, the boats will effectively operate with zero emissions.
The shift to a zero-emissions vessel technology, Maid of the Mist hopes to contribute to global calls to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector.
The International Maritime Organization, the international body established to regulate global shipping, has set a global target to reduce shopping emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050.
Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.