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Date: July 04, 2012

UVic's Green Research Ship Project Delayed

The University of Victoria has deferred plans to develop a plug-in hybrid “green ship” powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and low-emission diesel fuel.

The green research ship would be used as a coastal research facility, to service UVic’s world-leading Ocean Networks Canada Observatory, and as a floating testbed for new hybrid power technology in the marine sector.

The university acquired the former coast guard vessel, Tsekoa II, in late 2010 and this spring had issued an RFP to shipyards for a refit to lengthen it, customize it for coastal research, and install the green technology.

The resulting bids came in substantially higher than UVic and its marine engineering consultants had expected. As a result, the RFP process did not identify an affordable solution to refit this ship within UVic’s design and budget specifications.

“We are reviewing options to continue development of the green research ship project with our current funding partners,” says Dr. Howard Brunt, UVic’s vice-president research. “These options include the identification of additional funding partners and reconsideration of the technical specifications before selecting another vessel for refit or designing a new ship.”

The entire budget for the green research ship project was $20.5 million, which included the refit, and the purchase and installation of scientific instrumentation. The Tsekoa II was acquired from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which had been planning to have it decommissioned. Primary funding partners for the project are the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Government of British Columbia through the BC Knowledge Development Fund.

UVic will now sell off the Tsekoa II. Any revenue generated will be put toward continuation of the green research ship project.

“UVic will continue to conduct a wide range of coastal research as we consider our next steps forward with this project,” says Brunt. “Getting time on other research ships will remain an ongoing challenge, and we will continue to lease vessels as needed.”

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Media contacts:

For interviews with Dr. Brunt, contact Valerie Shore (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7641 or vshore@uvic.ca

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