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Old 30-06-2008, 20:22   #16
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Amgine, are you taking into consideration the effort of drilling for oil, moving the crude, refining, treating and transportation to the dealer. The diesel fuel used in the engine for converting the energy must be taken into account as well as the energy used for producing the engine.

Oh, and then there is the mining and smelting and production of the aluminum alloys, steel, plastics and all other metals used in the engine.
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Old 30-06-2008, 20:36   #17
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How can anyone claim that using solar panels has a greater carbon footprint than running a diesel engine for an hour or two a day.
I think Amgine did a pretty good job of it though I will say that my first boat has a panel almost 20 years old still functioning with a new owner. I will bet that one has a much larger carbon foot print than the ones we have on the current boat that is about the same size but puts out twice the watts. They seem to actually be getting close to the point where the energy they consume in manufacturing may be even or better with what they save but not by a lot. It all depends on how you keep score. Guess how the favorable score is computed?

The expression pay now or pay later comes to mind. That is what the serious problem with all this carbon footprint BS is all about. Claiming zero and restarting the counter after you buy the solar panel. The idea is to take things that are hideous wastes of energy to produce and just buy them and claim all the benefits they will deliver in the future. Someone else takes the carbon hit so you can reap the benefits and you pay them money.

All this high tech alternative energy for boats really is paying for it in advance with cash so you can use it later when you need it. It's the real reason to invest in it. No one really like the sounds and smell of a diesel engine. This is a great way to avoid all that hassle. There is very little saving the planet in the reality most all of it but it makes the trip nicer. I can handle that part. I'm just not ready for all this pretend to be greener than the other guy stuff. It makes me want a 50 pound bag of charcoal made from rain forest hardwood. The carbon footprint from the making of a boat is off the scale!
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Old 30-06-2008, 20:41   #18
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The carbon footprint from the making of a boat is off the scale!
Ahh...Yup!

I still want one though........no wait.........I NEED one!! So I can be fulfilled.......yea, that's it.
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Old 30-06-2008, 20:43   #19
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When PV pnels first came out, it took more energy to make them than they would ever produce. The learning curve has increased the efficiency of construction so panels will now pay for themselves in something over four years. That assumes that you are using all the electricity the panels produce, however. If you aren't using the boat full time, the energy potential is being wasted and payback stretches out.

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Old 30-06-2008, 20:56   #20
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When PV pnels first came out, it took more energy to make them than they would ever produce. The learning curve has increased the efficiency of construction so panels will now pay for themselves in something over four years. That assumes that you are using all the electricity the panels produce, however. If you aren't using the boat full time, the energy potential is being wasted and payback stretches out.

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I have heard that recently with the company that is using the "printing process".

What ends up continuing the "argument" is deciding amongst the participants exactly what the words " pay for themselves" (or something similar) means. One will talk total environmental cost, another cost of things at 3.00 per gallon. What about 6.00? It goes on for a while.

The last I read is that total BTUs out don't add up to what was used to produce. And I don't have the reference here now, sorry.

Most of the proponents (example - Dissident Voice : Ethanol Versus Solar Energy) end up being so zealous that they quote max output and use those numbers which look convincing but are seriously flawed. (BTW that is how we got ethanol going).

Me?

I am aiming for a nice cat with solar and wind and backup diesel and, and, and.......................................

I will try not to remember, while I am at anchor with the "cool one", that 26,000 children die each day on this lovely planet related to lack of food.

Just takes some of the fun out of it, ya know?
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:35   #21
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Methinks we are comparing apples and oranges. To make comparative claims about the carbon footprint of solar panels, first one has to look at the alternative source of power. On land there are other sources than fossil fuels. These are probably all blended together to determine the carbon footprint of electricity. On a boat there is only one choice other than solar and that is fuel.

See, Minimising the carbon footprint of our solar panel manufacturing process
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:58   #22
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DeepFrz: Yes, yes I am. Go look at the energy cost of pure silicon sometime, to contrast it with smelting iron.

None of this discussion is on the topic of using electricity to drive the boat. I know there was a couple from Germany working their sailboat with electric auxiliary around the world. It was a very interesting concept boat, and it was working for them. I just think I'll stick with my diesel a while longer; use it less and sail more.
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:06   #23
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Hybrid boats will be an alternative to what has been historically available and not a replacement for such. More choices are always a good thing. Its not too common in sailing technology or any technology when something gets outright replaced. The norm is to get another alternative to something and the exception of getting a replacement.
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Old 01-07-2008, 10:45   #24
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Methinks we are comparing apples and oranges. To make comparative claims about the carbon footprint of solar panels, first one has to look at the alternative source of power. On land there are other sources than fossil fuels. These are probably all blended together to determine the carbon footprint of electricity. On a boat there is only one choice other than solar and that is fuel.

See, Minimising the carbon footprint of our solar panel manufacturing process
The drift was energy before your pear (carbon footprint) was introduced.

IMO the carbon footprint stuff is lacking in usefulness.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:57   #25
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"Simple math 2 hours @ 1 gallon an hour @ $4.50 gal $9.00/day"
Hmmm...a diesel genset should be able to burn 1/2 gallon per hour while carrying a 15hp load, more or less, which means two gallons produces 60hp/hours. One hp is defined as 746 watts, so two gallons of fuel generates 44.76kwH of electricity. Amortize in the diesel engine--although you'll only need a little one--which typically costs less than a buck per hour of run time between overhauls, and you have a cost of ten dollars (diesel's $5/gallon now in the US) plus two bucks covering the engine costs, that's $12 for 44.76kwH of power, or 3.73kwH per dollar.

Now let's try solar panels. Delivering their rated output at an average 5 hours per day, times a 20-year life (some promise more, others less, and many fail in 5 years or less in marine use) and factor out 15% for cloudy days and weather.
5*(365*85%)*20 = 31085 hours of rated output. Those run ballpark $700 delivered for a 100W panel, running 31,085 hours that's 3.1kwH delivered for $700....or $225 per kwH from the panels?? Someone please, find the error in my math, it can't be THAT bad!

Of course, that's ignoring the huge toxic waste dumps that are ruining farmland in China, their growing solar panel industry has made international news over that one. (Rumour is, that's the secret Chinese plan to save power by having the peasants glow in the dark.)
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Old 01-07-2008, 14:19   #26
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Someone please, find the error in my math, it can't be THAT bad!
You only factored in $2 an hour for the cost of the generator. I would estimate it at more like $5 an hour. Also, you take the maximum theoretical output of the diesel generator rather than the usable output, while being a bit harsh on the solar panels usable output.

Another way to look at it is somebody who needs to put 100 Amp hours into their battery every day. Using the diesel generator and average battery charger it will cost $10 a day, or $3,650 a year.(although granted you can also run a washer/dryer, watermaker,110 freezer; if you have that stuff) 300 watts of solar panel will put in the same amount every day for 20 years for $3,000 initial investment, or $150 a year.

I guess the math will be different for everybody, depending on how their boat and their electrical needs are set up.
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Old 01-07-2008, 14:38   #27
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"You only factored in $2 an hour for the cost of the generator. I would estimate it at more like $5 an hour. "
Dunno, a diesel main engine, rated 18hp, can be bought for under $10,000 and should run 10,000 hours in commercial use (i.e. long runs, correctly loaded) before needing an overhaul. And even then--it still has value.
I did omit the engine oil though, that's a consumable. $6/liter times six liters, let's say, $36 or $45 worth or premium synthetic oil which is good for 400 hours of operation...that's still only another dime an hour. Last time I ran the numbers solar came out to 5x the price of powerline electricity, surely diesel gensets should fall somewhere in between the two, or closer to powerline. Must seek caffiene...caffiene makes numbers come out much better.<G>
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Old 01-07-2008, 15:26   #28
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a diesel main engine, rated 18hp, can be bought for under $10,000 and should run 10,000 hours in commercial use (i.e. long runs, correctly loaded) before needing an overhaul.
While I agree with that statement, I would still guess that most generators on boats die before they hit 2000 hours for a whole variety of reasons like long periods of no use, improper loading, poor maintenance, and a host of other things that solar panels aren't as susceptible to.

When I was boat shopping recently I looked at a bunch of boats with generators with hours ranging from 14 up to 1000 hours on them. Generally all of them with over 500 hours were pretty sad looking. Hidden away in sound shields, like a princess in the ivory tower, they just don't get the love that a main engine does!

As to the new technologies coming to market anytime soon, I'm beginning to lose faith. I'm at a point where I could have bought solar panels 3 months ago, or wait four of five more months to buy them. I've been holding out thinking maybe the price would drop with oil going up, Germany subsidizing the industry, the green movement and all that. But no, the price has stayed relatively flat or gone up slightly in the last year. All the great minds out there seem focused on coming up with new ways to listen to music or talk on a cell phone, rather than finding a better way to power my boat's refrigerator.
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Old 01-07-2008, 15:35   #29
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I agree with Paul.

The advantage to hybrid technology for boats is more in terms of having extra electrical power. It's not so much for efficiency. You're still using diesel in the hybrid boat. It doesn't work like a hybrid car. There isn't any braking and there are few stop lights when using a boat. It's 100% power production 99% of the time.
This statement is making quite an assumption.

Did you know that there are other sources for generating electrical power? Most of them do not need diesel.
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Old 01-07-2008, 15:51   #30
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Electric drives: just ran across an interesting set up from Solomon, but no one talking about actually using the system. I like that it's low rpm. Should be able to let the motor freewheel to generate electricity while sailing, right?
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