In keeping with the Portland-area’s legacy of multi-modal transportation innovations, Frog Ferry will launch a two-year passenger ferry pilot service on the Willamette River between Cathedral Park and RiverPlace, a beautiful and diverse stretch of the river. For the pilot project, FF will lease a brand new, 70-passenger vessel; an RFP for the vessel will be issued in Fall 2021 once/if federal funding is secured. The goals of the pilot project are to: introduce passenger ferry commuting to the region while assessing public appeal, refine the vessel design and user experience, and gather valuable real time data to advance the efficiencies and operational characteristics of the vessels planned for a full regional passenger ferry system.
Estimated Autos Displaced:
600 Per Day
Estimated Annual CO2 From Commute Vehicles Displaced:
4,043 Metric Tons
FF Pilot Ferry Estimated CO2:
873 Metric Tons
Estimated CO2 Saved by FF Pilot:
3,170 Metric Tons
The ferry for the pilot project, and future vessels, will be low-wake, highly efficient and roomy catamarans. This vessel will use a state-of-the-art Clean Diesel engine and its very low emissions will be further diminished by exclusively using Renewable diesel fuel. “R99,” used around the world for years, is a petroleum-free version of diesel fuel with 60-90% lower GHG’s and over 95% reduced SOx and NOx emissions. Research on R99 shows no toxicity to marine organisms. These findings, by the California Air Resources Board, have helped lead California to begin the replacement of all petroleum diesel in the state with minimum 98% waste-biomass R99 by the end of this decade. Clear-as-water R99 reduces fine particulate (PM2.5) emissions by one-third to 100%, depending on the process used. PM2.5’s are the most dangerous emissions from old-fashioned diesel. Finally, Capt. Peter Wilcox, of the Frog Ferry Engineering Committee, has modeled the pilot project’s short route, single vessel GHG reductions disclose a net savings of over 3,000 metric tons of CO2, approximately equivalent to the annual emissions of 690 commuter vehicles.
Planned All-Electric Seven Vessel Regional System
Even before the pilot project is completed, its data and emerging lessons will inform the design of the fully battery-electric vessels that FF intends to build for its regional system. New battery technology is rapidly advancing to be more compact, lighter and safer with the recycling of batteries and their component materials also advancing. The pilot will also inform another major development challenge- the design and installation of the sophisticated and powerful charging systems that will need to be in place to launch the seven-vessel regional electrified fleet. FF plans for the regional system to include four 100-passenger vessels for the northerly Vancouver/lower Willamette reaches and three 70-passenger vessels for the mid-Willamette reaches to the south of the central city. As the Cathedral Park pilot project’s start approaches, it is exciting to consider that if the planned FF fleet were operational now, it would have the most all-electric ferries of any fleet currently operating worldwide!
To learn more about the proposed future operation go to: Operational Feasibility Study