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Assessing the carbon footprint of maritime freight routes to the Cape and Islands: Prospects of electrification on Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds

Authors: Nathaniel Trumbull*, University of Connecticut, Carlos Hernandez, University of Connecticut
Topics: Environment, Transportation Geography, Energy
Keywords: maritime, transportation, environment
Session Type: Lightning Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper assesses and compares the carbon footprints of several scenarios for providing auto and truck freight to the Cape and islands. Electrification of ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket is under active public discussion and could be based on technology already in use in Europe and being considered by Washington State Ferries (1, 2). Electrification could significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the Steamship Authority’s current carbon footprint. The prospects for ocean wind farm and electricity generation in the larger region of the Steamship Authority’s operations provides a logical source of renewable energy for an electrified ferry system. Political discourse over the value of an electrified ferry system may hinge in large part on other potential reductions in transportation-related carbon emissions in Massachusetts and includes consideration of the availability and cost of other renewable electrical energy available to the Commonwealth.

Authors: Carlos Hernandez, Nat Trumbull, Dept. of Geography, Univ. of Connecticut


1. WSF hybrid ferry study: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Ferries/Planning/planspublications.htm
2. Elliott Bay Design Group, Jumbo Mark II Class, Hybrid System Integration Study, 2018: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/6C78A08B-19A1-4919-B6E6-E9EF83E6376D/123052/HybridSystemIntegrationStudy.p

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