SW/TCH Maritime Funds the Construction of the First Zero-Emissions e-Ferry in the US, Powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cell

By June 12, 2019 5   min read  (850 words)

June 12, 2019 |

SWITCH Fuel Cell Ferry Boat small

SW/TCH is offering dedicated, zero-emission (and zero-traffic) waterway commuting solutions to cities and companies with bold sustainability goals.

ALAMEDA, Calif.–SW/TCH Maritime (SW/TCH), an impact investment platform building the first fleet of zero-emissions maritime vessels in the US, today announced its investment to construct and own the ‘Water Go Round’ e-ferry in collaboration with Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM), a provider of turn-key hydrogen fuel cell power systems for ships.

The 84-passenger e-ferry is currently under construction at the Bay Ship & Yacht shipyard in Alameda, CA using private funding from SW/TCH and a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District), the administrator of the grant. The $3 million grant comes from California Climate Investments initiative, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

SWITCH Fuel Cell Ferry Boat Being BuiltThe project leverages proven technology from partners including BAE Systems and Hydrogenics.

“San Francisco is one of many growing port cities in the US that is struggling to accommodate intensifying strain on legacy commuting systems, but has untapped potential to better use its waterways,” said Pace Ralli, Co-Founder of SW/TCH. “Commuters are seeking more flexible and enjoyable transportation solutions that avoid traffic around the Bay Area, and we’re honored to be working with GGZEM and the State of California to develop one of the cleanest possible commuting options, for public use or as a dedicated service that companies can offer their employees.”

“We’ve come a long way since conceiving of this idea back in 2016, and we’re confident that SW/TCH is the ideal partner to help bring it to reality,” said Joseph Pratt, CEO of GGZEM. “They use capital to drive environmental impact and their team’s unique experience building low-emissions vessels and fueling infrastructure will help promote the adoption of GGZEM technology for a variety of marine applications.”

The San Francisco e-ferry will act as the flagship vessel for SW/TCH’s fleet, an important first step in a concerted effort to curb transportation emissions while mitigating roadway congestion in the largest urban centers across the country. This comes on the heels of SW/TCH’s earlier announced plans to establish a fully electric ferry in New York City, which is now scheduled for deployment following the proof of concept of the ‘Water-Go-Round’ e-ferry. SW/TCH plans to work with existing ferry operators on both coasts to provide capital to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission modes of transit.

“We’re excited to welcome the SW/TCH team to help create solutions for the Bay Area’s growing transportation and emissions challenges,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of Bay Area Council and Vice Chair of Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA). “The launch of the ‘Water Go Round’ e-ferry later this year will be a landmark advancement in Bay Area waterway transportation.”

The state-of-the-art e-ferries will use all-electric propulsion powered either by hydrogen fuel cells or batteries that are charged with shore power, thereby circumventing the need to burn carbon-intensive fossil fuels. Scaling this zero-emission technology will only be possible with significant investment in new fueling infrastructure, and SW/TCH is partnering with Clean Marine Energy (CME) to develop electric charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure onshore.

Backed by the same founders, CME plans to make clean fueling infrastructure available in multiple ports in the US. Both mission-based platforms represent growing investor interest in technologies, assets and infrastructure that stand to benefit from the transition to a clean-energy economy.

About SW/TCH Maritime & Clean Marine Energy

Established in 2017, SW/TCH Maritime is an impact investment platform building the first fleet of maritime vessels dedicated exclusively to decarbonization. The fleet investments include zero-emissions vessels in several shipping sectors, using electric propulsion powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cell. The founders and principals of SW/TCH are also the founders of Clean Marine Energy, established in 2012 to develop clean fuel supply, distribution, and charging infrastructure for ships in North America. More information can be found at and

About Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine

Launched 2017, Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine is a full-service provider of hydrogen fuel cell marine power systems that are clean, quiet, and comply with all current and future environmental regulations. GGZEM works with vessel owners of all types, from passenger vessels to ocean-going fleets, to eliminate emissions from the global maritime industry. Learn more at

About CARB California Climate Investments

Funding for the CARB grant for the country’s first zero-emission ferry comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. Further information is available at

Bay Area Air Quality Management District

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.


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