Coming Soon to Seattle: Weird-Looking Semi-Flying Boats



"But the process of manufacturing batteries is itself environmentally unfriendly, and the electricity that fills them up has to come from SOMEWHERE."

Those are issues with lots green technology.

I wonder how fast these things go?


Do they make less of a wake? That would be great thing.


Hydrofoils have been around for a long time. They're just expensive and more difficult to maintain. They're like the HDDVD or Betamax version of boats... people chose the cheaper option rather than the better option.

@1, About 50-60 knots (so roughly 60 to 70 mph) for some of the sporty hydrofoils, but I think most passenger ones stay at around 45 knots

@2, much less wake. But the foils are sharp and if they hit sea creatures (like whales) they'd likely kill it AND it could knock the foils off the boat.


If you do a search for Nano Diamond Batteries you will see new technology that uses nuclear waste to create electrical power in self contained devices - basically batteries that never need charging - with the potential to be up-scaled to the point of powering transportation, which could include boats like this.

We can't count on cutting edge technology saving us from mistakes of the past, and need to reduce our carbon footprint in light of current technology, but we should pay attention to these new potential energy sources.


Actually, there are about 20 different battery technologies (the UW holds patents on 4 of them), and many can literally be recharged in an environmentally friendly manner, and even built that way.

It depends on the quantities involved, and the processes used.

If everyone starts using batteries that are rechargeable, and renewable, they can drop the cost to what the current versions are.

For details go to your nearest public library (oops), or one of the state colleges or state universities you went to or are a graduate of, and research "Energy Storage" among the scientific journals. A good overview can be found in the Energy Policy and Environmental Policy journals, follow the references in those.

You can also ask any of the UW CEI faculty.


If you can board one in Seattle and get to the San Juans, this is huge. If it just goes to the same places all our existing Seattle ferries go, it’s a waste of money.


Hydrofoils are actually many thousands of years old. For those who are interested, you can look up ikyaks / baidarkas.


Urgutha Forka is right on all counts.

Hydrofoil ferries are not new technology. They've been using them in Hong Kong and Japan for years. Those go roughly 40 knots or so, with very little wake. The hull of a boat is what creates most drag and wake. Since hydrofoils lift the hull clear of the water, and the boat rides on the foils, eliminating most of the drag, then it can go way faster with less power, and it produces very little wake.

They're a little like an airplane, in that most of the fuel and power is consumed in the takeoff. When a hydrofoil leaves the dock, it's low on the hull. It takes a fair amount of power to get it up to speed fast enough to get up on the foils. Once up on the foils, it can plane along very smoothly and efficiently, using way less fuel/electricity.


Yup. Foils are a proven and very mature technology. They are used all over. Most of the kiteboarders on the Sound use them, and the new America's Cup 50+ knot sailboats do too. They have been used on ferries for a very long time. Rode a Soviet one in the Baltic and a British (I think) one across the Channel in 1988. Boeing has built them too for commercial and military use. This could be a very big development in transportation around the Sound.

The previous fast ferries to Bremerton had to slow way down because if issues with wakes. This should solve that. And any fast-moving powerboat that hits a whale is a problem - we need to figure out how to keep that from happening foils or no foils. I don't know how they compare for underwater noise - anyone have any idea?

Making these electric seems like a win/win.


Really the only thing new-ish about this proposal is going electric. Most of the hydrofoils I know about all burn fossil fuels. But if they can make a Tesla all electric, there's no reason you couldn't make a short-run hydrofoil ferry using similar tech. There are companies out there making electric marine engines. The only drawback, much like electric cars, is that the range is limited by the amount of power you can store in batteries. So you likely could carry enough batteries to make runs back and forth to Bainbridge, but probably not enough range for Seattle-to-San Jauns.


Telephone poles?
They might seem futuristic to you but as you go on to mention they have been around for years (futuristic or been around for years??) and they are not held up by telephone poles OK?


Whatever, Japan's had flying cars for like, weeks now.


Damning quote from the linked article, "Tomohiro Fukuzawa, who heads the SkyDrive effort, said he hopes “the flying car” can be made into a real-life product by 2023, but he acknowledged that making it safe was critical."

Lame. Who GAF about the safety of a FLYING FUCKIN' CAR!?! Get Trump on board to lead the effort, we'll be airborne in time for New Years!


"One of the big new innovations here is that the new designs will be constructed out of carbon fiber, like a bicycle (because we haven’t compared these things to other forms of transportation enough yet)."

Actually my Brompton is made of steel and I doubt there will be room for any bicycle one can't hide under their coat. (Of course as the thing is totally imaginary, one might imagine it is like a TARDIS and and on the inside it would have room for semi-trucks, but why stop there, how about portals? )
If you think battery manufacturing is bad, check out carbon fiber.

"the electricity has to come from somewhere" yes, but electricity can come from a number of potentially renewable sources, while fossil fuels can pretty much only come from fossil sources, sure there are biofuels, but I'm not sure that they are all that great when processing and transportation of materials is factored in.

@4, when I searched for - clickbait troll free energy - on the fist page I found: "Russian Troll farm sought to undermine US government ..."
On the other hand, to have nuclear waste to make your batteries from, one needs to have nuclear reactors, so there is a source of electricity. Though after Chernobyl I don't know how popular graphite moderated reactors really are.


@16 so do the Italians. Everyone knows which papers publish which strikes will affect rail lines, and tells you early so you can plan.


No mention of the Victoria Clippers in this article? They've been running at least two different hydrofoils for decades


The Victoria Clipper is a hydrofoil. (Seattle-to-Victoria, Vancouver Isl.)


@19 - Jinx


@14 - "On the other hand, to have nuclear waste to make your batteries from, one needs to have nuclear reactors, "

I think the point is we ALREADY have plenty of graphite nuclear waste to build ND batteries from. We don't really need more reactors.


@19, 20 The Victoria Clipper boats are regular catamarans. They have small foils to make the ride more comfortable, but the foils don't lift the hulls out of the water.


I just want you to know, we are taking away millions of dollars from education and healthcare or anything else to convert our ferries into “hybrids” which have such a high cost and such a minimal difference in emissions its a joke to placate the masses. Our entire ferry system is a joke. Even Canada with single payer privatized theres which has different issues but hey at least our system is “cheaper”. Yea if by cheaper you mean we give no-bid sketchy as fuck contracts to Vigor to build them because... nobody else is allowed to compete. Must be built in Washington means, they can charge whatever they want and they do. We are getting screwed and its the middle class and poor taking it.


Kitsap Transit is also deep into planning a Southworth to downtown Seattle route, which is supposed to open later this year. That schedule is likely to get pushed due to temporary lower Covid-era demand and also lack of docking because of increased King County ped ferry (West Seattle-downtown) around the West Seattle bridge.


@23 - I WAS LIED TO! Drat. Well, thanks for the clarification.
I'll take "took a hydrofoil" off my list of accomplishments. At least I've still ridden a hovercraft.


@22 whoosh...

I suspect I have enough carbon 14 in my little finger to make all the 14C Nano Diamond Batteries I'm likely to see. I was just making fun of their claims of being "green" to hype their improbable sounding claims. I am aware of Poe's law, but I thought -clickbait troll free energy- would serve to indicate my intent.

While the lifetime energy density of a 14C battery sounds impressive (if one could be made, which is not proven), the half life of 14C is about 5000 years, so to get a useful amount of energy in the next hour or so, I think one is going to need quite a bit of the stuff, sure in 5000 years it adds up to a lot of energy, but maybe not so impressive in a single person's lifetime.
I'm not sure that the production of diamond like carbon is all that efficient, so even if there is already a supply of contaminated graphite, they may need the power plants anyway to run the factories.