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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Ferry electrification has gained attention in the last decade as a potential path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This study, conducted by APS LABS at Michigan Technological University for the Mackinac Economic Alliance (MEA) and funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), looked at the feasibility and potential benefits of electrification of a particular vessel that is part of a ferry service from Mackinaw City, Michigan, USA, to Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA. The study included a comprehensive analysis of the feasibility of retrofitting the current configuration of the ferry into an all-electric ferry based on the availability of components in today’s market. A life-cycle assessment was conducted to compare the emissions between the baseline ferry rebuilt with new internal combustion engines and an all-electric ferry to understand the potential environmental benefits of ferry electrification and find the most sustainable solution for propulsion. The final prong of the three-pronged approach to this project consisted of estimating the difference in expenditures and profits for a rebuilt internal combustion (IC) engine versus electric configurations for a company operating the ferry. The analysis indicated that in the current scenario, electrification of the Mackinac Island ferry is not beneficial, and replacing the ferry’s current diesel engines with modern diesel engines is the preferred solution.

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© 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Publisher’s version of record:">

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Sustainability (Switzerland)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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