The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) announced the completion of WETA’s Gemini Class Clean Air Conversion Project. The project involved upgrading engines and reducing emissions on the agency’s four Gemini-class ships. The new Tier 4 engines are the cleanest on the market, and emissions of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons are 73% lower, while emissions of particulate matter are 80% lower.
The project was pursued outside of legal requirements to make the ferry fleet more environmentally friendly. It was funded through the Air District’s Carl Moyer grant program and revenue from the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s sales tax measure BB. The Gemini-class ships can operate on all six of San Francisco Bay Ferry’s routes, but are most commonly deployed in Oakland, Richmond, South San Francisco, and Alameda.
WETA began working towards reducing emissions from its ferry vessels in 2019 when the agency built the country’s first high-speed passenger ferry with Tier 4 certified engines. Today, 12 of the 16 ferries in the San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet are powered by Tier 4 engines, making them the cleanest, high-speed, high-capacity passenger ferry fleet in the country.
WETA has raised nearly $100 million to advance the operation of a zero-emission ferry service across the United States. These funds will support the construction of five small battery-electric ferries that will serve the waterfront neighborhoods of Alameda, Oakland, and San Francisco, including downtown core, Treasure Island, and Mission Bay. The construction of the zero-emission ships is scheduled to begin later this year.
The project is part of WETA’s commitment to providing the Bay Area with a transportation option that improves air quality and public health in the communities they serve. “The Bay Area continues to lead in using the cleanest equipment to maintain air quality, protect the climate, and protect the health of our communities,” said Dr. Philip Fine, Managing Director of the Air District.