Research Project Summary Information
Vessel Electrification for the New York State Canals(25735)
New West Technologies, LLC.
The NYS Canals are a critical component of a successful waterborne freight system, because they link the Port of New York and the Hudson River to the Great Lakes. The canal system is 524 miles long with 57 locks and 20 lift bridges. The operation and maintenance of this waterway is the responsibility of the New York State Canal Corporation (NYSCC), which is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. As such, NYSCC has an obligation to consider green alternatives for its new procurements under NYS Executive Order No. 4. Unfortunately, the NYSCC’s fleet used to maintain and operate the Canal is old, inefficient, and entirely dependent on petroleum fuels. Canal vessels include 45 workboats (tugboats, dredge tenders, and buoy boats) with engines ranging in size 50HP to 600HP and 25 pieces of floating equipment (dredges, self-propelled scows, derrick boats, mobile cranes, and quarter boats. Additional concerns result from NYS Executive Order No. 24, which has recently established a statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050. In order to comply with these Orders and still maintain their functionality, it is believed that the NYSCC will need to investigate advanced propulsion technologies for its fleet. Since many of the current propulsion systems have been in service for over 30 years, the procurements for repower solutions completed in the next decade will likely still be in the fleet in 2050 when the GHG reduction must be met.
The Contractor shall conduct a Feasibility Study to collect and analyze operational data from relevant canal vessels. The Contractor shall work with the NYSCC to specify an electric propulsion system that provides acceptable performance for the vessel to maintain its current operational functions and determine the potential energy, environmental, and economic benefits from installing electric propulsion systems. Equally important to the electric propulsion system on the vessels is the electrical infrastructure needed to charge the onboard energy storage in order to displace petroleum, which compounds the benefits gained from the system’s inherently more efficient operations. In addition to existing infrastructure that is capable of this task, the Contractor shall investigate the potential charging from dredges or other floating equipment, as well as the locks where hydroelectric power generation might be utilized.
The Vessel Electrification Feasibility Study is expected to provide significant benefits to the NYSCC, and potentially the entire region. Specifically, the Contractor anticipates that energy, environmental, and economic benefits are expected from an electric propulsion system repower on a canal vessel if the technology is properly specified for its specific functions. These benefits stem from the increased efficiency and petroleum displacement available with electric propulsion using an onboard energy storage system and the ability to recharge from grid power. Electricity generation in New York State primarily consists of nuclear, natural gas, and hydroelectric power that produces significantly less GHG and criteria pollutant emissions than a diesel combustion engine. The cost to operate a propulsion system on electricity instead of diesel fuel is expected to be much lower and there is significantly less volatility in the price of electricity as compared to diesel fuel. Maintenance and repairs for an electric motor are also anticipated to be less than a diesel engine because of fewer moving parts, requiring less lubrications and preventative maintenance. Ideally, any cost savings for the NYSCC may be passed on to everyone in NYS through lower lockage tolls and thus lower shipping expenses for freight transported by barge on the canal system.
New West Technologies, LLC.
153 Brooks Rd
Rome, NY 13441
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D -Transport & Power Systems