Hornblower Hybrid

The Hornblower Hybrid is the first known multi-hulled hybrid ferry boat in the United States. It is the first hybrid ferry in San Francisco, and the first hybrid ferry to be used to transport visitors to a National Park (Alcatraz).

The Hornblower Hybrid was built by Alcatraz Cruises in 2008. It uses a combination of solar, wind and diesel power to operate. In addition, much of the interior is also made from recycled or LEED certified materials. The Hornblower Hybrid is a 64-foot-long (20 m) catamaran, with a fully enclosed main deck, and covered roof deck. The vessel, which was previously a commercial diving boat, has undergone a retrofit, repower and refurbishment at Bayside Boatworks in Sausalito, CA. This vessel was designed and created in house and no grant or public money was used. The two lead engineers on the project were employees Keir Moorhead and Cameron Clark.

The Hornblower Hybrid uses power generated by two ten-foot-tall twisted-Savonius wind turbines and a photovoltaic solar array covering the awning on the top deck. That power is converted and stored in batteries which power the navigation equipment, lighting, and electronics on board. Excess power is stored in the main propulsion battery banks. In addition to solar panels and wind turbines, the Hornblower Hybrid also has Tier 2 marine diesel engines. These cleaner, fuel-efficient engines reduce the amount of diesel fuel used, emissions and overall carbon footprint. The customized drive system allows the captain to monitor the energy needs of the vessel and select the most efficient power sources. For example, when the boat is idle at the dock, the engines will shut off, and the motors will run on energy stored in the battery banks.

The vessel also contains a number of other environmentally friendly materials. The carpeting contains post consumer recycled materials, is recyclable and meets the US Green Building Council LEED criteria for recycled content. A significant portion of the interior signage is printed on Plyboo, a composite material made from sustainable sources and containing no harmful chemicals. The countertops throughout the vessel are made by Vetrazzo from pieces of recycled vodka bottles. The lighting throughout the vessel is LED, which requires a fraction of the energy of standard bulbs and provide an equal or greater amount of illumination.

Alcatraz Cruises' fleet already contains two of the greenest diesel-powered ferryboats on the Bay. Alcatraz Clipper and Alcatraz Flyer were recently repowered with the most fuel-efficient Tier 2 Marine engines available and use selective catalytic reduction units. This same technology will be used on two new commuter ferryboats in the Bay Area, scheduled to be in use in 2009.

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