This project involved replacement of five diesel engines used by the ferry with a fully battery-electric powered system. The project is of national significance for the passenger vessel industry and serves as a model for companies and operators seeking cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. This battery electric technology eliminates 100% of the diesel emissions that would have otherwise come directly from the vessel.
This project also helps to preserve nature and history for the local community and visitors. The Gees Bend Ferry has played an important role in the region’s historic civil rights struggles and has been vital in connecting the majority African American population of Boykin (Gees Bend) to county services located in Camden AL.
HMS Ferries operates the Gees Bend Ferry as a key transportation service between Boykin and Camden, AL. Driving a car one-way from Boykin to Camden using the bridge that crosses the Alabama River will involve traveling 35-miles. The Ferry reduces this trip distance to about 7 miles. In most cases, Gees Bend Ferry saves over one hour in driving between Boykin and Camden AL.
Phase II of this project, currently under discussion between ALDOT and HMS Ferries, will seek to provide 100% offset of the annual shore power energy consumption through installation of a 100kW grid connected solar array. The array will generate an estimated 140,000kWh per year of power, and requiring less than ¼ of an acre of land (or 8000 square feet of roof space). Ample land in the vicinity of the ferry provides an opportunity to install the array in a location visible to the public, to maximize community engagement. A ferry charged with 100% solar is anticipated to be the first in the US (and likely the world). The project offers a great opportunity to draw visitors to the area and boost economic activity for the local community.