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An all-electric, zero-emission ferry in Lorient, France. Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP/Getty Images

Ships are the latest mode of transportation to see electric upgrades as the maritime industry faces increased pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel propulsion.

The big picture: Passenger ferries are ideal for electric propulsion using current battery technology, which can reduce water and air pollution while providing a quiet, vibration-free trip. Short routes with frequent stops along populated shorelines offer ample opportunities to charge the battery packs.

Where it stands: Globally, there were 185 battery-powered vessels operating or scheduled for delivery in 2018, 58 of which were passenger ferries.

Background: Norway introduced the first all-electric ferry, named the MF Ampere, in 2015, to shuttle passengers between villages in the fjords.

What's new: The Maid of the Mist Corporation has announced that it will launch 2 all-electric, zero-emission boats in September on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls — the first domestically built all-electric boats used for tourists in the U.S.

What to watch: With battery costs declining, expect more new and converted all-electric passenger ferries to operate across the U.S.

  • Washington State Ferries will introduce a 150-passenger hybrid ferry in Puget Sound later this year that runs on both diesel and battery power, using up to 60% less fuel than diesel counterparts. 
  • Also this year, New York City plans to introduce a 150-person ferry to shuttle commuters across the East River, from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Maggie Teliska is a technical specialist at Caldwell Intellectual Property Law and CTO of Regent Power. She is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

Go deeper

Heat wave grips U.S. this week from coast to coast

Computer model projection from the GFS model showing an unusually hot airmass across the western and Central U.S. on Thursday, June 29, 2021. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread heat wave has begun across the contiguous U.S., with at least 30 million people likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100°F by the end of the week.

Why it matters: The hot weather, which comes courtesy of another heat dome building across the Southwest, Rockies and then sliding into the western Plains, will only aggravate drought conditions and worsen many of the western wildfires.

VA first federal agency to require COVID vaccines for employees

A medical doctor gives the thumbs-up sign to a COVID-19 patient who is no longer using a respirator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would require its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next two months, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The VA is the first federal agency to mandate that employees receive the vaccine. The decision comes as cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have increased dramatically.

4 hours ago - Health

Biden: Americans with long-COVID symptoms may qualify for disability resources

President Biden speaking in Arlington, Virginia, on July 23. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19 may qualify for disability resources from the federal government, President Biden announced Monday during an event to mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Driving the news: The departments of Justice and Health and Human Services released new guidance Monday that categorizes “long COVID" as a physical or mental impairment, entitling people with the illness to discrimination protections under the the ADA.