Siemens Supplying Electric Propulsion For Car Ferry

By Jack Burke08 January 2020

Siemens will provide an electric propulsion system to power a new Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) passenger car ferry that will operate between Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula.

The new ferry will be commissioned to help relieve increasing traffic between Galveston and Port Bolivar and eventually serve as a replacement for some of the older vessels of the ferry fleet. The vessel will carry up to 495 passengers and 70 cars and will be powered by Siemens Siship Blue Drive PlusC and Siship Blue Vault Energy Storage System. The SISHIP BlueDrive family offers scalable solutions for all drive requirements, covering diverse performance graduations for small to medium-sized drives, from 5 KW in auxiliary mode up to 5.5 MW in main drives.

Siemens presented its marine diesel electric power and automation system solutions to the Shearer Group, a Houston, Texas-based naval architecture firm, and representatives from the TXDOT which was then selected for the power, propulsion and automation sole source vendor (SSV). The Blue Drive PlusC system is a proprietary Siemens said its solution differentiates itself from traditional systems in many ways. The solution provides the latest power plant technology while integrating the main switchboard and propulsion drive cabinets into a single cabinet system reducing total weight, space and volume compared to traditional systems. The system is further optimized from a reliability and eco-friendly standpoint by implementing Siemens Siship Blue Vault Energy Storage Systems.

The TxDOT ferry will be the first ferry in the US with Blue Drive PlusC and Blue Vault ESS. “This order is a significant win for Siemens,” said David Grucza, head of marine and oil and gas vessels US.  “It is exciting to see a state agency embrace the technology available while providing considerable benefits for the state.”

The Siemens solution is not only more reliable and robust compared to traditional solutions, but also provides operators with reduced maintenance costs, fuel consumption and system down time.

The ferry will be built by Gulf Island Shipyards, located in Jennings, Louisiana, USA, and is planned for delivery in July 2021.

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