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Old 13-11-2015, 07:20   #1
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Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

Hi All,

I'm wondering if there is anyone on here that has experience operating a blue water cruiser with an all electric system (i.e. electric motor). I'm not so much interested in people's views on if it is the right thing or not, just if anyone has any practical experience with it, if they would enjoy, issues to think of, etc.

Any experience would be great.

Cheers
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Old 14-11-2015, 02:33   #2
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Re: Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

I'm also very interested in this. Good question.
I did a forum search but mostly found posts that were several years old. Electronics and batteries are being improved at such an incredible rate.
I really wish i could be fossil fuel free on my boat.


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Old 17-11-2015, 13:48   #3
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Re: Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubberduck View Post
Hi All,

I'm wondering if there is anyone on here that has experience operating a blue water cruiser with an all electric system (i.e. electric motor). I'm not so much interested in people's views on if it is the right thing or not, just if anyone has any practical experience with it, if they would enjoy, issues to think of, etc.

Any experience would be great.

Cheers
Not much of a response here... Perhaps you'll have better luck in the engineering forum Engines and Propulsion Systems - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
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Old 17-11-2015, 13:59   #4
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Re: Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

Not yet, Hope to have some experience in 2-4 years.
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Old 17-11-2015, 16:51   #5
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Re: Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nellos View Post
I'm also very interested in this. Good question.
I did a forum search but mostly found posts that were several years old. Electronics and batteries are being improved at such an incredible rate.
I really wish i could be fossil fuel free on my boat.


Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum
The boy way this is realistic is with a diesel-electric hybrid. Batteries are still orders of magnitude not energy dense enough to operate for Bluewater sailing. Right now the best batteries on he market store roughly 1/50th the amount of power that diesel does. When this improves to 1/5th it will start being realistic.
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Old 17-11-2015, 17:02   #6
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Re: Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

Many desire this and although a few disagree, it's possible, you just have to address it as if you were a pure sailboat, no motor and make sure you don't get yourself in a position to where a motor is required, because your motoring power and range will be very limited
Reason is you will pretty much be restricted of course to the amount of power you can generate, Solar, wind and or possibly a towed generator, subtracting the amount of power you need to run things like a fridge, autopilot, Radar, and the other nice to have things, and not much is left over for propulsion.
Now if you willing to give up the carbon neutral thing, you could run a big Diesel genset for propulsion, but you will burn slightly more Diesel fuel per mile traveled than if you run a regular Diesel propulsion system.
There is an incredible amount of power in a gallon of Diesel and to replace a gl of Diesel it of course takes an incredible amount of power.
I don't know the actual number of BTU's or even if that would be the unit to use


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Old 17-11-2015, 17:17   #7
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Re: Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

Webb Chiles has. You can email him or read his blog. He made some comments there.

b.
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Old 18-11-2015, 00:48   #8
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Re: Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

Ocean crossing is probably more feasible than coastal cruising as most boats must rely on sails no matter what when on multiday passages (there are exceptions).

The problem is even heavy duty offshore cruisers tend to coastal cruise between crossings and while it can be done if you want to get 50miles up the coast before dark sets in and the wind dies off most cruisers will just crank up the engine and get there.

If you are willing to live with severely limited motoring capabilities, you can have it now. Electric motors are quite capable. The problem is energy storage and generation. Batteries and recharging systems are just no where close to the capabilities of a tank full of diesel (I'm assuming you aren't going to have a big diesel generator powering the system).
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Old 18-11-2015, 01:08   #9
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Re: Blue Water Monohull / Electric Motor

There are some fundamental problems with battery power. Would you like to put your crew, yourself, and your boat, at risk off a dangerous shore, in heavy weather, with rapidly plummeting battery voltages?

It isn't just the energy density issue. Batteries have to also incorporate their own oxygen supply, and can't obtain it from the atmosphere like you can with liquid and gas fuels.

Efficiency losses are also very substantial. Too many people don't appreciate that if you take 100 amps out of a fully charged battery, it takes about 150 amps of input to get those batteries back to a 100% state of charge.

The new generations of batteries (such as Lithium Polymer), apart from being extremely expensive, have very serious charging and storage issues. You don't want to charge them too fast, you don't want to discharge them too fast, and if you have leave them for any period of time, you have to discharge them down to a voltage that it is safe to leave them.

Otherwise they WILL overheat, and WILL run the serious risk of catching fire and even blowing up (small LiPo batteries for example, have explosion proof charging bags available to charge and store the batteries in).

This is why there have been issues with airliner batteries catching fire, Tesla cars catching fire, etc.

Over discharge ANY battery, and you damage it, and dramatically shorten their life. In a way, batteries being advertised as "Deep Discharge" are verging on the fraudulent, because they get damaged as well, and MAY (it isn't certain in many cases, just because it says Deep Discharge on the label, doesn't mean it really is) only be able to take slightly more damage than a run of the mill heavy duty lead acid.

I used heavy duty 12v agricultural tractor batteries for my battery bank, and they were still good after 15 years, until they got hit with extreme cold accompanied by massive wind chill, that hadn't been forecast.

They lasted that long, because I never let them go below 12.2v (50% discharged).

In addition, to be able to furnish enough amps for motive power with a large electric motor, you have to have a type of battery that can cope with extremely heavy demands (starter type batteries, in other words).

Liquid and gaseous fuels are used all around the World, for extremely good reasons. But we won't have to rely on fossil energy sources for them for much longer. Efficiencies in Fischer–Tropsch process production of syngas, have improved dramatically since WW2. About a 40% improvement in efficiencies within the last couple of years even.

Even before the most recent efficiency improvement, a syngas plant using bought in natural gas as feedstock, was costed at producing ultra clean diesel (in addition to gasoline, jet fuel, and fuel gases) for about $1 a gallon.

When you don't have to pay for the feedstock (and even get paid for taking the feedstock), those costs plummet dramatically.

Have a look at this (we have two very large installations of this technology over here in the UK, but the small ones that are cheap, will make a lot of sense to place in each Municipality):

Waste to Liquids | Westinghouse Plasma Corp.

For an insight. If all our annual UK waste (including sewage sludge, Municipal waste, industrial waste, chemical waste, biomass, etc) was put through these Plasma Gasification Plant (with extremely low emissions - because emissions are feedstock and you don't want to waste them), and the elements capable of making syngas routed that way, just the ultra clean diesel production each year, would be about FOUR times what America uses each year.

If you want to look at the practical realities of using batteries for propulsion power at sea, look at submarines, where price was no obstacle. Lots of batteries for limited duration of use, accompanied by massive generating power to get them back up to a usable capacity again (and which is also available for propulsion at snorkel depth or on the surface).

It doesn't really make much sense in a yacht (or a car even), does it? I know it can be exciting attempting to reinvent the wheel, but it has to be remembered there are no free lunches (especially in energy terms), and just because 'you' might not see the chronic pollution caused by buying your finished goods, doesn't mean it isn't happening elsewhere.

It's like a large scale wind generator isn't it? Because backup power has to be constantly available, that backup power is running at its least efficient and most polluting speeds, for immediate availability, and wind generators are actually FAR MORE polluting, than having just that backup power generation running at its most efficient and least polluting speeds.

Watch you don't go making a rod (a potentially life threatening rod, at that, and possibly even at massive personal expense) for your own back, basically. There's a lot of deliberate disinformation tied to unrealistic expectations, going on in the 'alternative energy' field.

My own cousin is a highly qualified alternative energy 'adviser', who has done all of the Courses, and frankly, what he has been taught has put him into LaLa Land, he advises people really badly as a result, and doesn't have the beginnings of a clue about reality (I have tried getting through to him, but it looks like he is going to have to have angry customers chasing him before he will begin to see any sense - and his customers deserve better than that). So much of this stuff will NEVER pay for itself, and won't do the slightest bit of good at all, in the process.

{I have lived off grid for over 30 years, with lots of hands on experience, and have had a keen interest in alternative energy all along the way, to the point I have designed a new type of wind generator blade, that I may even get around to making at some point, but frankly, I am so disillusioned with the absolute fraud that is so much of the alternative energy field, I may just take it to the grave with me}

PS. Ethanol fuel for example. It is already causing strife in many parts of the World, due to the massive increases in food prices it has caused. Plus, if you put 15% ethanol into gasoline (EU E85 for example), because of the lack of energy density, you LOSE about 30% (a touch over at 32% if I remember right) of your fuel economy. A 10% content LOSES you about 20% of your fuel economy.

You tell me, where is the sense of adding ethanol to fuel, and what actual savings are there, when it is causing us to use MORE gasoline than if we don't add it?
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