• Vessel Electrification Investigation for the NCDOT Ferry Division Fleet

    NCDOT Research Project Number: 2022-01

 Executive Summary

  • Ferry electrification is a growing domestic and globel trend, driven by an interest in reducing operational and maintenance costs and mitigating emissions at ports. Ferris are particularly well suited for electrification due to their relatively short travel distances over fixed routes, predictable schedules and their ample onboard space for battery packs and equipment. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of electrifying vessels in the NCDOT Ferry Division fleet as well as provide a preliminary implementation plan for prioritizing which vessels should be electrified, if any. In this study, the research team conducted a literature review, lifecycle cost analysis (LCCA) and emissions analysis. In addition, the research team conducted interviews with technology integrators, utilities, naval architects, battery system suppliers, and ferry charging system suppliers as well as ferry crossing site visits.At the four ferry routes included in this study, replacement of the current vessels with plug-in hybrid vessels is advantageous with respect to lifecycle cost, emissions and human health impacts. The most economical configuration at all four routes is a plug-in hybrid vessel charging on one side of the ferry crossing and utilizing a shoreside energy storage system to reduce overall power demand from the electrical grid. The research team recommended NCDOT Ferry Division implement ferry electrification in this order: Currituck Sound, followed by Pamlico River, Neuse River and finally Cape Fear River. This prioritization is based on lifecycle cost, emissions, vessel age, potential grid infrastructure improvements, the number of vessels operated at each route and the number of crossings per vessel per day.Ferry Photo.jpg

John C. Hildreth
John C. Hildreth; Grant Bennett; Geoff Morrison; Bridget Gilmore; Bora Karayaka
Catherine Peele
John W. Kirby
Western Carolina University

 Report Period

  • July 1, 2021 - October 31, 2023


  • Complete


  • Planning, Policy, Programming and Multi-modal

 Sub Category

  • Ferry

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