World’s fastest ferry running on natural gas

Natural gas turbines now are powering the world’s fastest ferry, according to GE.

Two of the turbine-maker’s engines, capable of generating a combined 59,000 horsepower, were installed on a 325-foot passenger and vehicle ferry, GE said.

The ferry has reached record speeds while running fully on natural gas and will soon be delivered to Argentina, where it will begin shuttling passengers between Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay, according to GE.

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The “wave-piercing catamaran” can travel at a speed of 58.1 knots, or 67 miles per hour, Australian ferry builder Incat Tasmania said in a statement.

“Of course there’s a few speed boats that could surpass 58 knots but nothing that could carry 1,000 passengers and 150 cars, and with an enormous duty free shop on board,” Incat said.

The high-powered vessel runs on two of GE’s 22 megawatt aeroderivative gas turbines, which have modified Boeing 747 jet engines at their cores, GE said.

“We had to redesign the fuel manifold and the fuel delivery system,” Ivan Bach, program manager for GE Power and Water said in a statement.

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The ship is powered by liquefied natural gas, though it uses some marine-grade oil to start the engines and as a backup fuel, GE said.

Incat called the vessel “the fastest, environmentally cleanest, most efficient, high speed ferry in the world.”

A video of the ferry in action shows it slicing through waters along a coastline at high speeds.