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PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, has announced that the airport’s Marilyn Bell I passenger/vehicle ferry is set to become ‘the first 100% electric lithium-ion powered ferry in service in Canada’.

PortsToronto anticipates that the ferry’s retrofit, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020, will mean the vessel’s propulsion system will be ‘entirely powered by battery and fuelled by 100% Bullfrog Power renewable electricity’. 

PortsToronto said it has taken a ‘phased approach’ to greening the airport’s ferry operations. In 2018, the Marilyn Bell I was converted from diesel to bio-fuel ahead of the full electric switch. 

‘The retrofitting of the Marilyn Bell I to electric power clearly demonstrates how we can build a clean and efficient transportation system, create good jobs and protect the environment,” said Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau.

Three Canadian companies are working together on the ferry retrofit: prime designer Canal Marine & Industrial Inc. (CANAL); naval architect Concept Naval; and E.Y.E marine consultants.

‘CANAL is proud to be delivering the first completely zero-emission Ro-Pax ferry in Canada,’ said Shawn Balding, CANAL Commercial Director. ‘This is an important step in the evolution of the marine industry made possible by maturing advancements in energy storage and power and propulsion system design.’

The airport’s ferry operation not only transports passengers, airport staff and supplies to and from Billy Bishop Airport, but serves as a link for City of Toronto service vehicles to gain access to the Toronto Islands.

The conversion of the airport ferry to electric power will cost approximately $2.9 million which will be paid in full by PortsToronto through the Airport Improvement Fee.




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