Hornblower Hybrid

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In 2006 San Francisco based Hornblower Cruises & Events began working on developing hybrid propulsion systems for its vessels. After two years of development and engineering their first vessel was introduced in San Francisco Bay in 2008. The second hybrid vessel is currently under construction and will go into operations in New York Harbor in 2011.

San Francisco Hornblower Hybrid[edit]

San Francisco Hornblower Hybrid
Hornblower-Hybrid (14).jpg
The San Francisco Hornblower Hybrid visiting the Port of San Diego in 2009
Vessel Specifications
Length 64 feet
Beam 30 Feet
Draft 5 feet 8 Inches
Main Propulsion (2) 400 HP AC Induction Motors
Ships Service Power Tier II Diesel Engines, Solar & Wind
Batteries (2) 380 VDC AGM Battery Banks
Hornblower Hybrid Blog

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.[dated info]


  • Workboat 2009 Significant Boat[1]
  • Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2009[2]
  • Sustainable Shipping - Finalist[3]

New York Hornblower Hybrid[edit]

New York Hornblower Hybrid
New York Hornblower Hybrid 2.jpg
Hornblower Hybrid in the sunset
Vessel Specifications
Length 168 feet
Beam 40 Feet
Draft 6 feet
Main Propulsion (2) 700 HP AC Induction Motors
Ships Service Power Scania AB Tier II Diesel Engines, Hydrogen PEM Fuel Cell, Solar & Wind
Batteries (2) 700 VDC AGM Battery Banks
Hornblower Hybrid Blog

The announcement by Statue Cruises on the New York Hornblower Hybrid comes two years after the introduction of the first hybrid still operating regularly in San Francisco to and from Alcatraz and Angel Island. The vessel has been completed and left Bridgeport, CT on October 26, 2011. It is now at Statue Cruises marina at Liberty State Park in New Jersey next to the Statue of Liberty.

In addition to using solar power, wind power, and low-emission diesel, the New York Hornblower Hybrid also runs on hydrogen fuel cells, making it the first hydrogen hybrid ferry in the world. The Hybrid is 168 feet long by 40 feet wide and designed to carry 600 passengers. It features two Helix wind 5-kilowatt wind turbines, a 20 kilowatt solar array, LEED certified carpets, LED lighting, and an interior made almost exclusively of recycled and sustainable materials.

On October 27, 2011, the New York Hornblower Hybrid participated in a parade of vessels celebrating in the Statue of Liberty's 125th birthday. The Hybrid's team is continuing to work with the USCG as they complete the vessels inspections and certifications.

Alcatraz Clipper Hybrid[edit]

Alcatraz Clipper Hybrid
Alcatraz Clipper Hybrid and Alcatraz Flyer.jpg
Alcatraz Clipper Hybrid after completing sea trials escorting the Alcatraz Flyer to Pier 33 from Alcatraz Island
Vessel Specifications
Length 120 feet
Beam 30 Feet
Draft 6 feet
Main Propulsion (2) 700 HP AC Induction Motors
Ships Service Power MTU Series 60 Tier II Diesel Engines, Sunpower E318 Solar & Wind
Batteries (2) 700 VDC AGM Battery Banks
Hornblower Hybrid Blog

The Alcatraz Clipper Hybrid was originally constructed in the early 1970s as a vessel to serve Catalina Island. Over the years the vessel has served guests and visitors in various capacities. Alcatraz Cruises acquired the Alcatraz Clipper in 2008 and retrofitted it to have Tier II engines with a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) units. In 2011 Alcatraz Cruises implemented Hornblower's Hybrid technology in order to once again improve the vessel in working to decrease its overall emissions. The vessel in currently completing its USCG inspections and is scheduled to go into service shortly.

As of August 2014 both the Alcatraz Clipper and the Alcatraz Flyer are in full operation running on a bounding schedule at two 12 minute trips per hour.

Media Coverage[edit]

San Francisco Hornblower Hybrid[edit]

New York Hornblower Hybrid[edit]


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  3. ^ [3]