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Niagara's Maid of the Mist goes electric

The first all-electric vessels ever built in the US will be powered by high-capacity battery packs that will be charged using hydropower between trips.

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One of North America's oldest tourist attractions will benefit from battery power
One of North America's oldest tourist attractions will benefit from battery power

Niagara Falls tour operator Maid of the Mist has ordered the first US-built all-electric vessels enabled by technology from ABB.

 

The passenger vessels will be powered entirely by a pair of high-capacity battery packs with a total capacity of 316 kWh, split evenly between two catamaran hulls.

 

Sustainable operation

 

When the vessels start operating later this year, passengers will be able to experience Niagara Falls undisturbed by engine noise, vibration or exhaust fumes from a conventional diesel engine, ABB noted.

 

“We are thrilled to be the US’s first vessel owner to add all-electric ferries to our fleet,” said Christopher Glynn, president of Maid of the Mist Corporation.

 

“We have chosen ABB to support us in our journey towards more sustainable operation based on their unparalleled experience in marine system integration, as well as efficient and innovative technologies for sustainable transportation."

 

The vessels will charge between every trip while passengers disembark and board. Shoreside charging will take seven minutes, allowing the batteries to power the electric propulsion motors capable of a total 400 kW (563 HP) output.

“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 power set up will be controlled by ABB’s integrated power and energy management system (PEMS), which will optimise the energy use on board.

 

The batteries will be charged using hydropower – the largest single renewable energy source for electricity generation in the US which accounts for 7 percent of the country’s total utility-scale electricity generation.

 

The use of locally produced renewable power will make the energy cycle for the operation of the new Maid of the Mist vessels entirely emission-free

 

In addition, having two fully independent power systems on board the vessels will increase the resilience of operations by creating a redundancy, ABB reports.

 

Alongside integrating the ship-to-shore battery charging connection, ABB will supply the Maid of the Mist new building project with switchboards, drives and the integrated control system, as well as the ABB Ability marine remote diagnostic system for remote equipment monitoring and predictive maintenance.

 

“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,” added Peter Terwiesch, president of the industrial automation business at ABB.

 

“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.”

 

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