Siemens selected for Washington State Ferries control and hybrid conversion


Tuesday, October 22, 2019 1:30 pm EDT


  • Three Jumbo Mark II Class vessels identified for conversions
  • Conversion will reduce carbon footprint by 48,565 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  • Fuel and maintenance costs to be reduced by more than $14 million annually
  • Cleaner, quieter and more pleasant ferry rides soon a reality

In response to an executive order by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the Washington State Ferries (WSF) system is taking steps to cut operational costs and reduce the carbon footprint by 48,565 MT of CO2 per year.  As part of the initiative, WSF has selected Siemens to conduct a propulsion control system replacement and hybrid conversion studies and system design for three Jumbo Mark II Class vessels.

The ferries service areas include downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, and Kingston to Edmonds, Washington.  Put in service between 1997 and 1999, ferry capacity is 1800 passengers and 202 vehicles. The largest ferries in the WSF’s fleet, they account for more than 26 percent of WSF’s annual fuel consumption – five million gallons of diesel per year.

Over the next several years, Siemens will work with WSF to electrify the ferries, ultimately transitioning them from diesel fuel to nearly zero-carbon-emission vessels as directed by the executive order.

David Grucza, Siemens Marine Director, says Siemens was selected for the conversions based on the company being the original system designer in conjunction with proven successes with other hybrid-electric propulsion projects across Europe, such as  the recent conversion of the 142-meter Princess Benedikte. Operated by the Scandlines shipping company, the world’s largest hybrid ferry’s system stores excess electrical energy in batteries, eliminating the need for one of five of its diesel-driven generators.

He adds that the WSF conversions will provide safe and supportable vessels that not only save fuel, but also offers a projected lifecycle cost savings of about $60 million.

“This will put WSF on track to reach its greenhouse gas reduction goal,” Grucza says. “The conversions will lower fuel and maintenance costs by more than $14 million annually. Additionally, ferry passengers will enjoy more pleasant and cleaner rides that are free from diesel engine noise, vibration and exhaust.”

Siemens is now completing an engineering study in effort to update obsolete equipment on the Jumbo Mark II class vessels. Upon receipt of funding, anticipated in November 2019, Siemens will proceed with the Hybrid conversion design, which includes removal of two propulsion generators, installation of battery storage, and development of the rapid charging system. Siemens engineers will then work alongside the selected shipyard to complete the hybridization process on all three vessels. The project will also include rapid shore charging stations at each pier.

For further information on Siemens hybrid ferry propulsion systems, go to


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Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of power generation and distribution, intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems, and automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries. Through the separately managed company Siemens Mobility, a leading supplier of smart mobility solutions for rail and road transport, Siemens is shaping the world market for passenger and freight services. Due to its majority stakes in the publicly listed companies Siemens Healthineers AG and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Siemens is also a world-leading supplier of medical technology and digital healthcare services as well as environmentally friendly solutions for onshore and offshore wind power generation. For more than 160 years, the company has innovated and invented technologies to support American industry spanning manufacturing, energy, healthcare and infrastructure. In fiscal 2018, Siemens USA reported revenue of $23.7 billion, including $5.0 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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