A Cleaner, Quieter Ride: Happiness, a diesel-powered ferry in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, has been retrofitted with a hybrid-electric microgrid. On a cool, overcast morning in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, a chunky and colorfully painted ferry waits at a dock as a stream of passengers clambers aboard. It’s Chinese New Year 2017, and white-gloved officials are standing at the rails, beaming and waving. The boat, called Happiness , isn’t a new boat. Indeed, the years of wear and tear are quite obvious. But as a blue banner across the boat’s side proclaims, Happiness has been retrofitted with a direct-current hybrid-electric microgrid , and this is the reborn ship’s inaugural voyage. Most of the passengers have no idea what makes this boat so special, but all of them can appreciate the absence of diesel fumes, the whisper-quiet propulsion, and the lack of jarring vibrations from the deck. Happiness now shuttles about 4,500 passengers a day—1.7 million per year—on a short hop across Kaohsiung Harbor. The plucky little ferry doesn’t look like a trendsetter, but it is. Since its introduction, dozens of other hybrid-electric and fully electric ferries have been unveiled around the world, and the number is growing year by year. According […]

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