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First-of-its-kind ferry to set sail in San Francisco: 'We know the future … with marine transportation'

To prepare for service, crews are training on the Sea Change and outfitting it for passengers.

Sea Change, Zero-pollution ferry

Photo Credit : Switchmari Time

The San Francisco Bay Ferry is getting ready to introduce the Sea Change, its first ferry powered entirely by eco-friendly hydrogen fuel cells, the LA Times reports.

According to the LA Times, the San Francisco Bay Ferry currently uses 16 diesel vessels. Diesel and similar fuels create pollution, including a large amount of heat-trapping gases. Since the ferries run constantly, they contribute a lot to the air pollution in the city. 

To reduce its impact on air quality and the climate, the San Francisco Bay Ferry has committed to replacing the majority of its vessels with non-polluting alternatives by 2035. The Sea Change is the first of these new environmentally-friendly crafts.

In fact, the LA Times says that the ferry is the first hydrogen-powered maritime vessel operating commercially in the U.S. Unlike other types of fuel, hydrogen fuel cells only produce water when they're used — no carbon dioxide or other heat-trapping gases. The Sea Change can store enough hydrogen to last for two days in fuel cells that work like batteries.

"We know the future is zero emissions with marine transportation," San Francisco Bay Ferry spokesman Thomas Hall told the LA Times

"Zero emissions" means that a vehicle or other source doesn't produce any heat-trapping gases that warm up the Earth. Businesses and governments worldwide have been working to lower their production of these gases since the 2015 Paris Agreement, when 196 countries agreed to reduce air pollution and limit the world's rising temperature.

To prepare for service, crews are training on the Sea Change and outfitting it for passengers, the LA Times reports. It recently completed its first successful fueling and is now subject to final testing by the U.S. Coast Guard. Once it passes its inspection, it will be ready to start carrying passengers. 

The nearby Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry is also planning to switch to an electric-powered vessel next year.

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