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Old 28-11-2008, 08:22   #1
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electric propulsion system

Does anyone have experience with any electric propulsion system on a 40-50ft Cat, I am specifically thinking of the AMSO Marine products (http://www.asmomarine.com/2005/asmo_uk/01.shtml) but to be fair there are some competitors.

I have read a very interesting article on an all electric Lagoon (Catamaran Company) and it seems several people are now building electric hybrid variants so I am looking for experience with either pure electric or a hybrid.

As far as battery capacity goes to be net neutral (diesel and engines) I would be able to put about 600KG of batteries and not gain any weight over a diesel setup (with 200 liter full tanks)

Comments and thoughts please
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Old 28-11-2008, 10:02   #2
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I'm very excited about electric propulsion, especially with regeneration. I don't think its ready for prime time yet, but it may be in 6 to eight years. Some of the things I'd like to see are:
Thrust equivalent to a 20hp diesel. (times two in a 40' cat)
Folding propellers that can be engaged to regenerate, or (as Gideon is developing) completely retractable propellers.
Light weight, very efficient gas, diesel or propane -fired off line generator that could move the vessel at 4 or 5 knots on its own.
A battery management/inverter system that can provide A/C power for high load devices like winches or a microwave, run the generator when needed, and manage other power sources such as solar, wind, regen, and shore power VERY efficiently.
And the Dream of Dreams; light weight batteries, or fuel cells at mere-mortal prices.
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Old 28-11-2008, 11:18   #3
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This is my favorite. Which I may install some day before a TransPac.

Solomon Technologies

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Old 28-11-2008, 11:50   #4
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Have a look at what Glacerbay has been doing....
This is what I was looking at a couple years ago.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Elpropsample.pdf (104.4 KB, 267 views)
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Old 28-11-2008, 14:51   #5
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Consider one engine with a big generator, one electric motor; a good solution for a cat. There is a PDQ in DC that ended up that way, sort of by accident. But it solves the problem of power for a long run, which challenges many hybrid systems and involves the inefficiency of a generator/motor combo. You still have the ability to go all-electric (add cells, windmill etc.).
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Old 28-11-2008, 14:57   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter.bomberg View Post
Does anyone have experience with any electric propulsion system on a 40-50ft Cat, ....
Comments and thoughts please
Hi Peter

We have had our Lagoon 420 Hybrid for eighteen months and have been very pleased with it. It is quiet, economical, easy to maintain and reliable. The greatest benefit is the abundance of electrical power available for all mod cons. The extra weight of the batteries and the drag of the fixed propellers slows us down a bit, but apart from that we have been very happy.

Chris
Octopus, Lagoon 420 Hybrid, Hull 52
Isle of Arran, Scotland
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Old 30-11-2008, 14:31   #7
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Octopuss

Hey Chris have you thought about putting feathering props on your boat? Is there a drawback to having feathering props in your application?

Robert
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Old 30-11-2008, 15:30   #8
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Feathering Props

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Originally Posted by roblanford View Post
Hey Chris have you thought about putting feathering props on your boat? Is there a drawback to having feathering props in your application?

Robert
Yes, we've thought about feathering props. The trouble with feathering props is that you lose the benefit of generating power under sail. We haven't done much power generation under sail, because the sort of sailing we have been doing (heavily laden cruising) means that we want the extra half knot or so that REgeneration costs us more than we want the kilowatt of electrical energy generated. Next year we will be mainly day-sailing lightly laden, so the equation will be different.

I'll give it another year before considering feathring props.

Chris
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:58   #9
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Hey Chris!

Hey Chris,
I am under the impression that if you were powering along with a feathering prop, put up the sails, and shut down the power to your drive system, the blades would go to the neutral position desirable for reduced drag sailing. If at that point you momentarily put the drive into reverse long enough to pivot the blades into the reverse position that when you shut down the drive power, the blades will stay in the reverse position but spin in their normal forward drive rotation and generate power. Now if you are sailing along and want to stop generating power, and resume low drag sailing, you will have to momentarily apply power forward to pivot the blades into forward drive, then shut down for the blades to resume their neutral position.

I know it sounds like the tail wagging the dog, but while the boat is traveling forward with the blades in reverse, the pressure on the blade is the same as if you were powering in reverse, keeping the blades in the reverse drive position against the reverse travel stop.

The drawback to this, other than buying 2 expensive props, would be that you will lose a bit of forward power, but you gain the reduced drag sailing, better reverse power, and more efficient generating than with a fixed prop.

To verify this, all it would take is to call the maxi prop people and ask what would happen if the blades were in the reverse position with the power off and you were sailing forward. I'll bet they would say that the blades would drive the shaft in forward rotation.

I am considering using this same principle on my diesel driven trimaran with a feathering prop and adding a shaft driven generator. It will generate under power, and sail with the trans in neutral.

Sorry about the long winded post. I hope this makes sense.

What do you think?
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:38   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus View Post
Yes, we've thought about feathering props. The trouble with feathering props is that you lose the benefit of generating power under sail. We haven't done much power generation under sail, because the sort of sailing we have been doing (heavily laden cruising) means that we want the extra half knot or so that REgeneration costs us more than we want the kilowatt of electrical energy generated. Next year we will be mainly day-sailing lightly laden, so the equation will be different.

I'll give it another year before considering feathring props.

Chris
Hallo Chris there are feathering props where you will still get regeneration if you want it and they work like a charm, made by Seahawk in Australia they are called Autostream and we have good experience with the props and the manufacturer.
Low-Drag, Feathering & Folding Propellers for Sailing Yachts & Sailboats from Seahawk just set the props into reverse and then back to neutral.

Greetings

Gideon
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:41   #11
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And the best thing is off course retractable props and motors ,having no hydrodynamic drag at all and the best possible shaped prop both for propulsion and for generation !!
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Old 05-12-2008, 19:16   #12
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This has been talked about a lot on other forums. I went to the maimi boat show this past winter just to talk about repowering my cat with electric propulsion. There are different ways to do it. Glacier Bay has a "diesel eletric" system that is like a train locomotive. It uses a small generator to power big electric motors. The down side of this is that you still have to run a diesel engine. But you save fuel because it uses less fuel to turn the motors than an equal diesel engine. At the boat show they had their catamaran giving demo rides. We went out on it and it was pretty cool. they had two (one in each motor well) gen sets turning motors in each hull it was quit and peacful. the only sound was the boat moving thru the water. They let us drive and I was impressed with the instant tourq. It was about $50,000 USD to install the system, ( 2 whole systems, 1 for each hull)

I like this company and would go with it when the time comes to switch over.
E motion Hybrids This is the person that started Solomon teq. but sold out and started his own company because he didn't like the direction they were going. His idea is that you use 144 volt DC to run things. There are a lot of things good about this line of thinking in that it takes less to run things and you get more amp hours out of the same batt bank. Think that 24v Dc uses 1/2 the amps as the same appliance that is 12v DC. The down side is that you have to convert the whole system over and the reduce current down to 12v Dc to run things that are 12v DC, IE: VHF radio ect... They basicly blew off the concept of solar panels and wind gen unless you have 12 panels in order to produce 144v Dc power. Now on his web site you can watch videos linked to you tube that explains his theroy, and one of them going out with a reporter only useing solar power for the whole trip.

Now the down side is that it is expensive to switch every thing over. you need 12 group 27 batteries as a min (12v X 12v = 144v DC). and then a 144v Dc gen set, converters, engines and wireing, controls, ECT... cost was about $25,000 USD. The regeneration isnt that much and does not equal the amount used. The company said that if you had a 7 knt tide it might recharge it enough while on anchor.

The basic concept is to trade a diesael engine that turns a small slightly pitched prop a lot of RPMs, for an electric motor that turns a large, deep pitched prop at slower RPMs,

To retro fit a boat not designed for those systems would be hard and not have it look like ****. Might be better to buy one set up for it.

There needs to be something in the middle. I was going to repower and put golf cart motors in and run them on 24v Dc, sun and wind recharge ( load up the hard top with as many panels and wind gens as possiable), and with a small DC gen set if needed. I havent crunched numbers so it's still in the pipe dream stage for me.

Here are links to this topic on other forums.
View topic - Electric propulsion : Cruisers Forum : Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine

Renegade Cruisers • View topic - Electric Propulsion

I am not an expert on this subject, this is just what I found out in my quest.

Good luck
Dan
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Old 09-12-2008, 19:28   #13
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Hmm, I see a common theme and one I may have a accept but not one I like all of the above are a hybrid diesel/electric system and I am looking for an all electric. I realize I would be at the mercy of the sun, tide and wind for recharging but as I am doing mostly tropical sailing and will have between 4 and 5KW of solar cells I figure I should be fine (comments), I am planing to use regenerative sailing to keep the battery bank topped up and was going to do a 1:1 weight replacement for the diesel fuel and motors against the battery bank and electric propulsion system. (600-800lbs for a dual diesel setup with 200GL of fuel)

Comments please
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:19   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter.bomberg View Post
Hmm, I see a common theme and one I may have a accept but not one I like all of the above are a hybrid diesel/electric system and I am looking for an all electric. I realize I would be at the mercy of the sun, tide and wind for recharging but as I am doing mostly tropical sailing and will have between 4 and 5KW of solar cells I figure I should be fine (comments), I am planing to use regenerative sailing to keep the battery bank topped up and was going to do a 1:1 weight replacement for the diesel fuel and motors against the battery bank and electric propulsion system. (600-800lbs for a dual diesel setup with 200GL of fuel)

Comments please
2 diesels, gears, drives and 200 gallons of fuel at 800 lbs? Where do you buy your lite fuel?

Alan
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:39   #15
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For another variation on this idea, look at the new Island Pilot trawler. Island Pilot DSe Home Page

They say it can do 6 knots, indefinitely, on a sunny day. Of course, they're covering the boat in solar panels, but they use the Ossa system as the hybrid drive. Interesting notion. Expensive, though.

ID
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