Tuesday, August 11, 2015

1st Seagoing Electric Catamaran in the Works

By Mark Edward Nero

The first seagoing electric powered passenger vessel in the US is set to launch in Juneau, Alaska by the summer of 2016, according to it’s developer, a renewable energy and technology company.

The E/V Tongass Rain is a 50-foot, 47-passenger catamaran designed for eco-education and whale watching tours. Its primary fuel source, according to Juneau-based Tongass Rain Electric Cruise (TREC), will be “rain” delivered to the boat via a hydroelectric power grid and stored in a bank of lithium batteries.

The zero emission vessel is currently under review by the United States Coast Guard for approvals, and is scheduled for construction from November 2015 to April 2016, with operations planned to start in Juneau, Alaska next May.

TREC commissioned naval architect Scott Jutson of Vancouver-based Jutson Marine to design the E/V Tongass Rain, which would be the first of potentially five electric boats. The hull of the craft has been certified by the Coast Guard for 150 nautical miles “for safe harbor” in six-and-a-half-foot seas at 12 knots, according to TREC. Once the propulsion system gets the green light, construction is slated to take place at Armstrong Marine in Port Angeles, Wash.