Officials at the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) and Bay Area Air Quality Management District on May 23 commemorated the completion of WETA’s $5.5 million Gemini Class Clean Air Conversion Project, an effort to convert the engines of four vessels into cleaner ones.
The updates, completed throughout much of 2022 and 2023 at JT Marine in Vancouver, Wash., are expected to significantly lower air emissions from ferries that operate in Oakland, Alameda and Richmond.
Built about 15 years ago with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 2 engines, the four ferries now have the cleanest available U.S. EPA Tier 4 certified engines manufactured by Germany-based MAN Engines.
Conversions on each of the four vessels are expected to produce 73% fewer nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions and 80% fewer particulate matter emissions, according to WETA.
“Reducing emissions from San Francisco Bay Ferry vessels has always been a top priority for WETA,” Transportation Authority Board of Directors Chair Jim Wunderman said. “We were the first to adopt the cleanest diesel technology available, and soon we’ll be the first in the nation to operate high-speed, zero-emission electric ferries. We have a responsibility to give the Bay Area a transportation option that improves air quality and public health in the communities we serve.”