Charlottetown company aims to build Lake Ontario ferry

A Charlottetown company is one of 10 that's been awarded money from Transport Canada's new $2.4 million clean transportation fund.

Company studying feasibility of zero-emission ferry

The group believes a ferry could make the trip from St. Catharines to Toronto in an hour. (Green City Ferries AB)

A Charlottetown company is one of 10 that's been awarded money from Transport Canada's new $2.4 million clean transportation fund.

Redrock Power Systems has been given $15,000 towards a $35,000 feasibility study on a zero-emissions passenger ferry it wants to develop for Lake Ontario.

The company is leading a partnership that wants to build a ferry to carry commuters from St. Catharines, on the south shore of Lake Ontario near the U.S. border, to downtown Toronto.

"A huge number of commuters have migrated from the crazy real estate situation in Toronto to St. Catharines," said company founder Paul Paterson.

"They're spending up to three hours each way per day in car traffic going back and forth. We figure we can do the trip in about one hour. So we think there's a strong business case for it, but there are a lot of technicalities which have to be addressed first."

Redrock Power Systems' hydrogen fuel cells are part of the feasibility study. (Redrock Power Systems)

Paterson said they're looking at a 150-person ferry to operate nine months a year.

The feasibility study will determine what kind of drive system to choose. It could be hydrogen fuel cells, bio-gas or bio-diesel.

Paterson hopes this work will eventually spinoff into work on the new federal East Coast ferries, if Ottawa commits to those being low-carbon vessels.

According to a note from Transport Canada to CBC News, the four ferries the federal government owns on the East Coast account for approximately 70 per cent of that department's greenhouse gas emissions.

It does expect two new ferries will have a less environmental impact.

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With files from Island Morning


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