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Old 18-11-2012, 08:01   #1
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Hydrogenerator

I had never head of this new(?) generating device. Certainly the ones you drag behind the boat are old news but these seem interesting.
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Old 18-11-2012, 08:12   #2
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Re: Hydrogenater

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I had never head of this new(?) generating device. Certainly the ones you drag behind the boat are old news but these seem interesting.
Hydrogénérateurs Watt&Sea : votre voilier autonome en énergie |
Very interesting with a good rep I believe, except they're in the $7-8K range! There is a cruising model now as well.
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Old 18-11-2012, 08:31   #3
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Re: Hydrogenater

It would be interesting to hear a racers input as to the value of adding drag opposed to a few amps. For the cost I believe you'll get a lot more sunny days than actual sailing days making solar a better dollar to amp gained investment. But they are interesting in the constant quest for free power and less real estate.
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Old 18-11-2012, 12:05   #4
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Re: Hydrogenater

Tellie,

The Open 60 guys are incorporating these, as well as a lot of the large off shore programs. The issue is it allows them to reduce weight, which over the duration of the races they sail matters more than a little bit of drag.

The problem with incorporating these for cruisers is that the racers are averaging 15kt where a slower boat is doing 5. Since the race boats need massive horsepower to achieve these speeds, the drag may slow them down from 15kn to 14.9kn, not a huge difference. But the same drag may slow a cruiser from 7 to 5.5kn.
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Old 19-11-2012, 11:05   #5
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Re: Hydrogenerator.

Two of the Vendee Globe boats have had, or are having, problems with them. I see why my search didn't show up more posts on them. I need to learn how to spell...duh.

On Alex Thomson's boat the Hydrogenerator ripped off and took out his steering link causing the boat to gybe.

Alessandro Di Benedetto is doing some electronic repairs to his generator.
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Old 19-11-2012, 13:25   #6
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Re: Hydrogenerator.

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Two of the Vendee Globe boats have had, or are having, problems with them. I see why my search didn't show up more posts on them. I need to learn how to spell...duh.

On Alex Thomson's boat the Hydrogenerator ripped off and took out his steering link causing the boat to gybe.

Alessandro Di Benedetto is doing some electronic repairs to his generator.
Ya, but trust me the ones that are on the race boats are far from standard. I have a friend with one on his mini 6.5, and he has ripped it apart multiple times to rebuild with lighter and lighter components, and shave fractions of an ounce from the net weight.

The 'racing' version they sell also has a VPP for high speeds, which makes them much more complicated, and unsuitable for cruisers.
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Old 19-11-2012, 15:15   #7
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Re: Hydrogenerator

The way that they hydro gen's look, makes me wonder why you couldn't just use a cheap little electric trolling motor to generate you some extra power.

Might need a little rewire but would be much cheaper than a few thousand bucks, plus as they dont spin that fast to start with you might get a better prop spin rate compared to the amount of drag generated.

Just a thought.

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Old 19-11-2012, 16:31   #8
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Re: Hydrogenerator.

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Two of the Vendee Globe boats have had, or are having, problems with them. I see why my search didn't show up more posts on them. I need to learn how to spell...duh.

On Alex Thomson's boat the Hydrogenerator ripped off and took out his steering link causing the boat to gybe.

Alessandro Di Benedetto is doing some electronic repairs to his generator.
Hell, I paid just a little more for my entire electric propulsion system and I get regen starting at around six knots. IMO these guys would be better using a wind generator on deck than dragging a prop through the water only to have it break from the stress. Here's a video of my wind generator keeping things charged up under sail:
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Old 19-11-2012, 17:14   #9
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Re: Hydrogenerator

Typical cruiser spend a small proportion of their time underway vs. at anchor. Plus I find my power usage smaller underway, plus while underway in many cruising areas, like this one, the winds a fickle and the engine will very likely be used a few hours a day.

In my opinion, solar is the best method. I don't want to anchor where there is enough wind for a wind generator ... and I would shortly go insane from the noise.
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Old 19-11-2012, 17:26   #10
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Re: Hydrogenerator

I've used an Ampair UW on a pivoting arm from the taffrail for about four years. Same idea as that on the OP link, although less hydrodynamic. I'm not racing so a little more drag when it's deployed is not of major consequence.
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Old 19-11-2012, 17:45   #11
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Re: Hydrogenerator

Daddle,

Solar just can't provide enough power for these boats. Remember they are running huge electronic packages, plus monitoring sensors, sattelite communications, and a full time autopilot. Their power demands are actually pretty heavy.

Wind frankly just isn't worth it. The power delivered is too low to justify the drag and weight, and worse the weight is always high up. And they are fragile things compared to the conditions many of the Volvo and Vendee boats are sailing in.
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Old 19-11-2012, 18:23   #12
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Re: Hydrogenerator

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Remember they are running huge electronic packages, plus monitoring sensors, sattelite communications, and a full time autopilot.
Plus huge hydraulic keel actuators.

They all used to have wind generators on the stern, but this year I could only find one of the older boats with one. I imagine they have done their research and feel that this thing works better. On some of the boats I couldn't find any solar panels, some have a few and one has a whole lot, plus the hydrogenerator.

There is a spectacular picture somewhere on the Vendee Globe site of a wave coming over from behind and right through the wind generator. That picture was taken in the 2008/2009 race.
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Old 19-11-2012, 18:40   #13
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Re: Hydrogenerator

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Plus huge hydraulic keel actuators.

They all used to have wind generators on the stern, but this year I could only find one of the older boats with one. I imagine they have done their research and feel that this thing works better. On some of the boats I couldn't find any solar panels, some have a few and one has a whole lot, plus the hydrogenerator.

There is a spectacular picture somewhere on the Vendee Globe site of a wave coming over from behind and right through the wind generator. That picture was taken in the 2008/2009 race.
Interesting that they seem to put all there energy eggs in one basket. I have solar, wind and the ole reliable Honda 2000 generator on board for my boats energy needs. They all come in useful in various situations for me. But, I only cruise and never race. It seems to me if you are going to rely on just one technology for your energy needs at least carry a backup of the device on a race like this. Though I guess the plan is to limp through to the next stop if it can't be fixed underway?
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Old 19-11-2012, 19:08   #14
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Re: Hydrogenerator

On a fast boat, on a downwind run, winds generators are useless unless the wind really blows hard. The apparent is just not there. Same goes for wind vane steering.

I suspect they use hydrogenerators because they have figured they have spare power from the sails at most times. And the sails are more efficient at capturing the energy, overall, than solar, hauling fuel, or wind generators.
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Old 19-11-2012, 19:17   #15
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Re: Hydrogenerator

Mike,

As you mentioned the issue for them is winning, not reliability. So long as the expected reliability matches the duration of the race, that's enough. On the minies they don't carry spares, or at least not more than one. I don't know what the big boys carry, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have a spare parts kit.

Remember most of these boats are sponsored by the manufacturers. Who then use the data to determin reliability information, and make them more robust.
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