First fuel-cell ferry to set sail in San Francisco Bay Area by next year

By Hannah Norman

Soon the Bay Area’s ferry commuters will get a breath of fresh air and a new ride as the Red and White Fleet looks to move away from the odorous diesel fuel it’s relied on for decades.

Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine and Bay Ship & Yacht Co. have started construction of their hydrogen fuel-cell boat, dubbed Water-Go-Round, the companies said Thursday during a keel laying ceremony, the ship-building milestone of placing the “backbone of a vessel.”

GGZE hopes the first-of-its-kind ferry will show the commercial maritime industry the power of hydrogen fuel cells for water transportation. The Alameda-based company was chosen in June to build and operate the nation’s first passenger ferry vessel powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

A fuel cell is an electro-chemical energy conversion device that changes hydrogen and oxygen into water — producing hydrogen fuel and electricity in the process. The only byproducts are clean H2O and heat.

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