BC Ferries Electrification

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  • January 6, 2023
    11:30 am - 2:00 pm

BC Ferries sees a very bright future with battery-electric ships, and the next big batch of these vessels could potentially also be built in Canada to create new industries and jobs for Canadians.
BC Ferries plans to become a world leader in the development and deployment of totally electrically powered ferries, which are supported by extensive new shore-based systems that allow BC Ferries to take advantage of BC’s extensive, clean-hydro-generated power. This plan will take BC Ferries a long way to meeting its goal of becoming a “zero emission” ferry system.
There are two key elements in the plan:
– Under the Island Class Electrification Program (ICEP), BC Ferries is modifying six diesel-electric hybrid ferries to enable them to operate exclusively in battery-electric mode, without using their diesel engines. In addition to the vessel changes, it will modify nine terminal facilities, adding rapid plug-in charging systems.
– The next stage of BC Ferries’ vessel replacements will be for some of the largest ships the ferry corporation has in its fleet. Proponents are being sought to assist with the upcoming procurement process of selecting the shipyards that will be responsible for five new vessels that will replace all five C-class ferries, which were built between the late-1970s and early-1980s; the Queen of Alberni, Queen of Coquitlam, Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Oak Bay, and Queen of Surrey, with each sister vessel sharing the same length of 138 metres but offering varying capacities of between 1,200 and 1,494 passengers and crew and about 300 vehicles. Four of these existing vessels serve the major routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island while the Queen of Surrey operates from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast. The replacement vessels will be the largest ferries built for the ferry fleet since the introduction of the three Coastal-class ferries between 2007 and 2008.

Babak Manouchehrinia, EIT, PhD

Electrical Project Engineer, BC Ferries, Victoria

Babak joined BC Ferries in a key role to assist them in meeting the sustainability goals noted earlier after completing his Ph.D.
Babak is a 2018 Ph.D. graduate of the University of Victoria’s Engineering Faculty’s green transportation research group. His research included modelling, simulation, optimization, and analysis of electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems for various classes of marine vessels. Prior to moving to Victoria and UVic, Babak graduated from the University of Nottingham with his master’s in electrical engineering focused on sustainable and renewable energy systems in 2013.
He has had a variety of experience prior to his masters and during his time in the Ph.D. program, including work in electrical engineering and unmanned aerial vehicles; as an Adjunct Professor/Lecturer in UVic’s Electrical Engineering department; and as Postdoctoral Research Fellow in green energy systems at UVic.
VIES also benefited greatly from Babak’s volunteered time over the past five years in his role as VIES’ Communications Manager, who set up and managed our web systems, IT systems and Zoom network.



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