Two new Maid of the Mist passenger vessels will be powered by ABB’s technology when they start operating later this year, becoming the first all-electric vessels ever built in the U.S.
Maid of the Mist, one of North America’s oldest tourist attractions, operates from April through the first week of November, with boats departing for the base of Niagara Falls every 30 minutes, with an estimated 1.6 million guests on board annually.
Each of the vessels will be powered by a pair of battery packs with a total capacity of 316 kWh, split evenly between two catamaran hulls. Having two fully independent power systems on board is designed to increase the resilience of operations by creating a redundancy.
The vessels will charge between every trip while passengers disembark and board. Shoreside charging is anticipated to take seven minutes, allowing the batteries to power the electric propulsion motors capable of a total 400 kW (563 hp) output. The power setup will be controlled by ABB’s integrated power and energy management system (PEMS), which will optimize the energy use on board.
The batteries will be charged using locally sourced hydropower. Using the renewable power will reportedly make the energy cycle for the operation of the new Maid of the Mist vessels entirely emission-free. The International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency responsible for regulating shipping, has set a global target to cut annual emissions by at least 50% by 2050 from 2008 levels.
In addition to integrating the ship-to-shore battery charging connection, ABB will supply the Maid of the Mist newbuilding 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,” said Peter Terwiesch, President of the Industrial Automation business at ABB, which offers solutions for a range of industries, including marine. “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.”