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Old 27-03-2015, 09:54   #16
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

It's the batteries of course more than anything else that keeps it from being more feasible than it already is.
Boeing's idea of a Hybrid, of course as always the "numbers" are awfully optimistic, but look at what kind of battery development it would take to make it work?
Boat's not an airplane of course, but some big money companies are looking and spending development dollars on it, it is an eventuality I think.
Boeing's electric battery gas turbine hybrid propulsion system | Electric Vehicle News
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Old 27-03-2015, 10:07   #17
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

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YES, totally, go electric propulsion with diesel generator. Great system. Imagine coming up to the dock in total silence and actually hearing what the guy on the dock (or bow) is trying to tell you. Imagine an engine that never fails to start, because an electric engine is neither on or off, it just works. Imagine zero maintenance on your propulsion engine.

Yes, go electric. Definitely.
At the same time imagine spending $30,000 instead of $10,000 for boat propulsion.

You will also be doing all the same maintenance on the generator instead of the propulsion engine plus the generator head as well.

Electric motors can fail just as easily as diesel engines and if your batteries aren't charged and/or the generator won't start you're still broke down.

I think electric would be fantastic when the costs are lower and the battery technology improves by an order of magnitude.

Yes it is certainly workable right now but at a cost, both in dollars and complexity
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Old 27-03-2015, 11:31   #18
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

Agreed, better batteries would make electric drive better. I have always wondered tho, the problem with batteries is they are big, heavy, lead things. Sailboats already have a big heavy lead thing called a keel. If the keel itself could be used as a lead/acid battery to drive an electric motor, it could have a huge capacity. Just a thought.
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Old 27-03-2015, 11:37   #19
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

Electric motors have only 1 moving part, as opposed to the hundreds of moving parts on a diesel, so the electric is inherently more reliable.

I always thought a portable panda diesel would be a good choice for power generation (along with a good supply of batteries). It could be easily removed from the boat for maintenance or replacement, which I think would bring the cost of maintenance down significantly. And remember, you get back all that space and weight where the old diesel, transmission and fuel tank used to be.
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Old 27-03-2015, 12:57   #20
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

Look at it this way. If it were the greatest thing on earth there would be electric drives in 90% of the modern boats at the marina. It hasn't happened because all the bugs about energy stowage have not been worked out and your range is limited and the cost is way above what a person would reasonably spend.

I like the silence of electric. We use two types on 3 of our club boats but we only use them going about 200 yards up a river or on and off a mooring. We use a 24 volt Torqeedo on one, a small battery pack Torqeedo on the other and for our West Wight Potter 19 we use a Minn Kota 12 volt. We charge the batteries with solar panels. It works for our club boats because most of our sailing is either in Hilo Bay or just a few miles off shore and the winds are pretty well predictible. We have very little tide or current.
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Old 27-03-2015, 13:02   #21
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

Diesels still have a much better energy stored per pound of propulsion system ratio and a much better energy stored per unit of volume of propulsion system ratio than electric.

Until batteries can store much much more energy, electricity is not even close to Diesel.
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Old 27-03-2015, 15:42   #22
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

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Electric motors have only 1 moving part, as opposed to the hundreds of moving parts on a diesel, so the electric is inherently more reliable.

.
This is a myth and overly simplistic. In reality there is little correlation in modern usage.

I sold a diesel pickup a year ago. It has 250k miles with no engine work in the 150k that we had her. The motor ran good as new when we sold her. The problem is the rest of the truck was falling apart. Very similar with boats. Our previous boat was 25yrs old with the original gas V8 engines. No problems.

Reliability isn't the issue. Taking care of the power train is and a hybrid or even a pure battery system takes maintenance or it will die an early death that has nothing to do with being worn out.
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Old 27-03-2015, 15:49   #23
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

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This is a myth and overly simplistic. In reality there is little correlation in modern usage.

I sold a diesel pickup a year ago. It has 250k miles with no engine work in the 150k that we had her. The motor ran good as new when we sold her. The problem is the rest of the truck was falling apart. Very similar with boats. Our previous boat was 25yrs old with the original gas V8 engines. No problems.

Reliability isn't the issue. Taking care of the power train is and a hybrid or even a pure battery system takes maintenance or it will die an early death that has nothing to do with being worn out.

Even if one assumes fewer moving parts in electric motors vs a diesel engine as a benefit there is still the issue of humidity and salt water which is not healthy for anything electrical.
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Old 27-03-2015, 15:52   #24
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

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Even if one assumes fewer moving parts in electric motors vs a diesel engine as a benefit there is still the issue of humidity and salt water which is not healthy for anything electrical.
And those controllers may not have a lot of moving parts but they sure have a lot of complex electronic doo-dads that your average joe isn't going to repair when the motor just quits for no apparent reason.
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Old 27-03-2015, 16:05   #25
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
YES, totally, go electric propulsion with diesel generator. Great system. Imagine coming up to the dock in total silence and actually hearing what the guy on the dock (or bow) is trying to tell you. Imagine an engine that never fails to start, because an electric engine is neither on or off, it just works. Imagine zero maintenance on your propulsion engine.

Yes, go electric. Definitely.
You are very positive. Please detail your actual experience with electric so that we can evaluate.
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Old 27-03-2015, 17:24   #26
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

I would switch in an instant, as soon as Reddy Kilowatt's 1960's promise of a home-water-heater-sized nuclear reactor becomes affordable. That will give me the 48-hour engine run time required for Bermuda races and other events that require more than a few minutes of motoring, or an acre of solar panels.
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Old 29-03-2015, 15:18   #27
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
YES, totally, go electric propulsion with diesel generator. Great system. Imagine coming up to the dock in total silence and actually hearing what the guy on the dock (or bow) is trying to tell you. Imagine an engine that never fails to start, because an electric engine is neither on or off, it just works. Imagine zero maintenance on your propulsion engine.

Yes, go electric. Definitely.
lol, hopefully that's the case.

I'm an electrician, btw... I'll stick with an internal combustion engine for my boats.
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Old 30-03-2015, 12:50   #28
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

For a sailboat near a coast I would do it in a heartbeat. It isn't cheap to install, but oh how quiet and environmentally friendly. For all those who say they can't live without a diesel, I refer them to Capt. Hank Weed of Charleston, SC, who sailed his Triton 30 throughout Caribbean for 8 years with NO MOTOR. He gave it away for fear he'd be tempted to use it. No there is a man who knows how to sail.

For the power, yes, you need a serious battery bank. With a combination of solar panels, wind generation and charging with the prop while underway, you can do it. You have a SAILBOAT. Use the wind. I frankly don't understand people who think they need to motor everywhere.
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Old 30-03-2015, 14:21   #29
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

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For a sailboat near a coast I would do it in a heartbeat. It isn't cheap to install, but oh how quiet and environmentally friendly. For all those who say they can't live without a diesel, I refer them to Capt. Hank Weed of Charleston, SC, who sailed his Triton 30 throughout Caribbean for 8 years with NO MOTOR. He gave it away for fear he'd be tempted to use it. No there is a man who knows how to sail.

For the power, yes, you need a serious battery bank. With a combination of solar panels, wind generation and charging with the prop while underway, you can do it. You have a SAILBOAT. Use the wind. I frankly don't understand people who think they need to motor everywhere.
There is no doubt that one can cruise in a boat without any engine at all. The Pardey's sailed all over the world with no engine. However, there are some places you can't go and things you can't do.

No engine, forget the ICW. Also a number of harbors that require sailing up a narrow, twisty channel will be out. Accessing some of the lagoons in the south Pacific also out since they have narrow channels, a constant outflowing current and you will almost always be entering dead against the wind.

Regarding green. Maybe with new battery technology it will get greener but I do wonder about the issues with a big bank of lead batteries and what happens when they die.
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Old 30-03-2015, 14:45   #30
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Re: Diesel vs Electric Engine

Knowing how to sail has little to do with whether or not you have an engine aboard. I've had many boats without engines and some with. As Skipmac says there are many places or predicaments where having an engine will get you somewhere that just plain sailing will not. I wonder how many non-engine sailors accept tows from friendly powerboaters and auxiliary powered sailors. I know I had to on a couple of occasions going up a river or back to a mooring after the engine died.

I don't like the feeling of being dependent on the kindness and generosity of others.
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