Reducing fossil fuel use in boating

In partnership with two coastal Indigenous Nations, this project examines how to convert coastal communities to cleaner boating fuels. 

Travel by sea is essential to culture, commerce, and basic services in many B.C. Indigenous coastal communities. Yet, most boats, tugs, and ferries rely on fossil fuels. Coastal communities are concerned about the impact of fossil fuel use on climate change and its consequences, such as wildfires, algae blooms, salmon mortality, and rising sea levels.

Working in partnerships with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and the Skidegate Band Council, researchers at Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria are exploring alternative power options for small and medium-size vessels, and actively seeking paths toward a more sustainable future. The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions-funded project, Turning the Tide: Exploring Clean Marine Propulsion in Coastal Indigenous Communities, is examining what power sources for vessels most contribute to climate change (an electric vessel charged via diesel generator, for example, is not an improvement on one with an internal combustion engine). The project will also delve into people’s behaviour, awareness and potential acceptance of electric vessels — especially as communities witness the obvious effects of climate change.

Researchers: Clifford Atleo, Zuomin Dong, Jonn Axsen 

Collaborating Organizations: Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Skidegate Band Council