Home Business Business News Cross Sound Ferry repowers high-speed ferry with new, cleaner engines

Cross Sound Ferry repowers high-speed ferry with new, cleaner engines

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One of Cross Sound Ferry’s high-speed passenger ferries has four new lower-emission diesel engines, thanks in part to an $800,000 grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The ferry service’s Jessica W has had four American-made Caterpillar 3512 CHD high-speed diesel engines installed.

The project was partially funded by an EPA DERA grant of $800,000 to purchase and install two new state-of-the-art EPA Tier-3 certified marine engines replacing older diesel marine engines that were operating in the vessel.

The grant covered the cost of two engines and Cross Sound Ferry Services kicked in more than $1.6 million for the second pair and installation work, the EPA said in a press release.

Diesel engines contribute significantly to air pollution, especially in areas such as New London County, which has been identified by EPA as having high levels of emissions from diesel engines, the agency said.

“The fine particles in diesel exhaust pose serious health risks, including aggravated asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Children are especially vulnerable to these effects. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states,” according to the release.

The project is anticipated to reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 35.2 tons and particulate matter (PM) emissions by 0.36 tons. The grant covered approximately one-third of the cost to convert the vessel.

“Reducing diesel emissions is a proven and effective way to improve air quality. Investing in Clean Diesel projects in New England will protect people’s health, improve air quality and help our economy by keeping jobs here in our communities. We are happy to work with Cross Sound and the Connecticut Maritime Foundation on this very important project,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Reducing diesel emissions means cleaner air for everyone, which is especially important for people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems,” Spalding said.

“We value the opportunity to work with EPA on this project of repowering the JESSICA W high-speed passenger ferry. This project advances the environmental improvement goals for our fleet of vessels, an effort which began almost ten years ago by deploying new and efficient, low emission engines to improve air quality locally and throughout the region.” said John P. Wronowski, owner and president of Cross Sound Ferry Services.

The company has undertaken a green initiative towards reducing emissions and pollutants from its ferry fleet since 2010. Including the JESSICA W, the company has repowered four of its vessels and performed an engine rebuild in one to cleaner-burning, lower emission engines. There are plans to repower two additional vessels under EPA’s DERA program. The environmental initiative is focused on helping the local community, while reducing hazardous air pollutants from the area.

The JESSICA W is one of the largest passenger-only, high-speed ferries operating on the east coast of the United States. The 49-meter (160-foot) wave-piercing catamaran primarily serves on the company’s New London to Block Island route for Block Island Express. The JESSICA W can travel at speeds up to 35 knots, more than 40 mph, and makes the trip between New London and Old Harbor Block Island in just over one hour.

Cross Sound Ferry operates daily, year-round vehicle and passenger service between New London and Orient Point. Besides its fleet of seven vehicle and passenger vessels and the JESSICA W, the company also operates the SEA JET I, high-speed passenger-only ferry. The service is recognized as part of the America’s Marine Highway by the U.S. Maritime Administration and transports close to 500,000 vehicles and 1.5 million passengers annually. Cross Sound Ferry celebrated 40 years of service in 2015.

More Information on US EPA’s National Clean Diesel Program:

More Information on clean diesel in New England:

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.