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Old 31-03-2021, 04:29   #61
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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Automatic shut-down/start-up, and idle limiting systems are becoming increasingly available in road vehicles.
AUTOMATIC SHUT-DOWN/START-UP SYSTEMS
Electric-powered start-stop systems automatically turn off a vehicle’s engine, when the vehicle is stopped, and immediately restart it when the driver presses the accelerator or lifts off the brake/clutch.
IDLE LIMITERS
Idle limiting systems work by automatically shutting the engine off, after the vehicle has been idling, for a predetermined amount of time.
Exactly, there's lots of benefits in an automotive setting.

This is just an alternate method to a hybrid where the engine runs and dumps the power into a battery bank while idling for use during hard acceleration.

Auto shutdown is not as good as a hybrid but it's simpler to implement. At worst, you ruggedize the starter a bit to accommodate the additional use.

But on a boat, there isn't the same value...once you get clear of the marina, the motor is just running at a constant speed. If you are out for a sail, most people turn the motor off so no real benefit to an expensive and complicated system.
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Old 31-03-2021, 04:54   #62
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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And the world of cruising sailboats burning fossil fuels is irrelevant to the big picture.

Even if you modify it to an individual sailboat owner, once you figure in their fossil fuel use commuting to work, it's irrelevant.

Not missing anything just pointing out a big flaw in the logic of a lot of the eco-faithful. If you want to cut down on fossil fuel use, this is a silly, expensive and ultimately not effective way to do it.
Yes and no. If you are just going for the say 3 or 4 weeks of cruising a year then probably yes it s drop in the bucket. You might do 300nm in those three weeks on average and lets say you are the typical ICW cruiser who sails only half the time. Then on my boat you are only producing about 250 kg of CO2 anyway which is about what you would emit on one shortfall flight. If you are sailing instead of going abroad you have already done the environment a favour.

However if you are living aboard and doing that whole 50/50 thing then assuming 300nm a month (ignoring ocean crossings which are always under sail), then you are pumping out maybe 300kg a month including propane and sundries. That's over 3.5 tons a CO2 a year on my boat. That's just slightly less that what the average Swede emits in a year in total. You are probably still doing the world a favour living aboard and not taking lots of flights, not heating a big house, and doing lots of car miles, but it still an unsustainable amount of emissions.
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Old 31-03-2021, 05:14   #63
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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I don't think you're doing a fair comparison here Na Mara:

1. You use a single discharge cycle per day for electric, but only frugal motoring for diesel. Consumption has to be factored in seriously with a given distance (per day/year)

2. Your discharge cycles estimate of 2'000 before replacement is way off. Battleborn for example says "Conversely LIFEPO4 (lithium iron phosphate) batteries can be continually discharged to 100% DOD and there is no long term effect. You can expect to get 3'000 cycles or more at this depth of discharge."

3. But not only do they last longer than 3'000 discharge cycles which - at moderate use - should last 10 year or more, you're unlikely to just dump them at <90% capacity. Either you keep them or they get reused in other applications, thus lowering the initial environmental co2-equivalent impact.

Any real comparison has to use current technology, equal usage and a realistic renewable/shore power mix. I am confident that many fully electric boats will fare much better in such a comparison in most usage patterns, the exception being of course an already installed diesel engine that's rarely used.

Personally I would only install EE on a reasonably light, fast sail boat that's primarily used as such and that doesn't have solid inboard diesels installed.
True. So lets be really generous with the numbers. Lets imagine that the batteries manage 14 years of usage, and that the diesel is doing 500nm a year rather than the 250nm I was imagining. Then the CO2 emissions of the all electric halve and those of the diesel propane boat double. Now the all electric boat is emitting 300kg a year compared to the diesel/propane doing 1200kg in very rough figures. Lets go nuts and assume that the diesel /propane boat is also using a generator as its only way of charging its batteries and that it is running washing machines etc so we allow that the boat in question is emitting 3300kg a year to make the math easy.

At present the cost of abating 1 ton of emissions in the EU is 42 euro. The EU ETS covers 50% of all GHG emissions in Europe. If I buy a ton of such credits and never sell it again, then that is a ton not available on the market which then forces a ton of emissions savings to be found somewhere in industry and the power sector. Its a scheme that insures that CO2 is saved where it is cheapest to do so. So I could spend many tens of thousands of euros upgrading to all electric to save about 3 ton of CO2 a year as a live aboard, or I could do the traditional diesel thing and pay 146 euro a year to abate my emissions.

The point I am making here is that there are far more cost effective ways of lowering emissions than going all electric on a boat.

One must also bare in mind that those 3300kg of emissions on the diesel propane boat per annum are instead of all the emissions that couple or family would be emitting living in their home and driving their cars. Its difficult to live aboard any boat, but particularly a sail boat, and not be making a contribution against global warming.
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Old 31-03-2021, 06:00   #64
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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How often do you think you will need to replace your batteries?

Do you know the difference in diesel usage before the upgrade and after? It would be great to know what the real word fuel savings for your system.

By my calculations your generator should be more or less redundant, so long as you stay within the motoring range of your banks, once you fit the 1kw of solar. Is your goal to go full electric or will you keep the generator onboard as a backup?
So far after 2.5 years of neglect and abuse on the batteries they're probably at 60% of capacity, maybe a little more. We can get by on that, but they're reaching their limit. Which is pretty much what I expected. Cheap AGM's I was hoping to get 3-5 years out of, and will probably replace them sometime in the next year with Lithium Titanate. The economics of lithium are coming around the corner so much more than even just a couple years ago.

We'll be keeping the generator, it lets us run AC, and gives us a thousand miles of motoring. We use too much power to go full solar, at least not on this boat, we'd need more room for panels, and we're going crazy big right now. We're waiting for the arch to be installed, then we'll have to see what it does to our sailing performance. As for motoring we burn about a gallon an hour now, the original Volvo's burned just under 2 gallons per hour each. However we get just over 5 knots on electric, where the Volvo's would do 6.5 knots. The Volvo's technically could get us up over 12 knots if we wanted to start throwing money away. The electrics can get us up to 7 for about half a mile. The electric performance should improve shortly, we're replacing the props. Right now we've been running the same props made for the diesels, so the pitch is too low and we're adding an inch to the diameter. Also going to fixed instead of feathering, so our regen will actually work.
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Old 31-03-2021, 06:10   #65
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

FWIW:
Here's every electric vehicle on sale in the US for 2020, and its range:
https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/e...tag=MSFf70f0e2
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Old 31-03-2021, 06:15   #66
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

Three points here I think add to the discussion:
-It is more and needs to be more about the raw carbon savings. The experimentation and knowledge gained gives us a head start to real planetary impacts over time. Simply sticking with the known and easy is no way to progress.
-If you are going to do the math to decide the carbon impacts of each solution as the justification to do or not do electric propulsion, please add in all the carbon impacts of a new diesel and the ongoing maintenance impacts of the diesel over the same time frame. Everything from oil for changes down to the replacement belts and impellers should be added in if you are going to use the batteries in this way.
-If you don't want to go electric, don't. Finding ways to discourage others is in no way useful.
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Old 31-03-2021, 06:54   #67
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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Three points here I think add to the discussion:
-It is more and needs to be more about the raw carbon savings. The experimentation and knowledge gained gives us a head start to real planetary impacts over time. Simply sticking with the known and easy is no way to progress.
-If you are going to do the math to decide the carbon impacts of each solution as the justification to do or not do electric propulsion, please add in all the carbon impacts of a new diesel and the ongoing maintenance impacts of the diesel over the same time frame. Everything from oil for changes down to the replacement belts and impellers should be added in if you are going to use the batteries in this way.
-If you don't want to go electric, don't. Finding ways to discourage others is in no way useful.
On the point about experimentation. As a scientist I totally agree that experimentation is a valuable lever in moving us forward as a species and I even agree that some first movers are needed to get any technological development. But the history of humanity is littered with tech bubbles around new tech that ultimately proved to be inferior. I'm not saying that BEV boats are in this category, but I am saying that the jury is still very much out.

I agree that all at the emissions involved in both drivetrains have to be counted in for the comparison to be fair but that is precisely what the article I referred to at the start of this thread did in the car world and it found BEV's inferior to plugin hybrids particularly when the hybrids were fuelled on biofuel. I started this thread because that article got me thinking that maybe the same might be true in the sailboat world as well. My analysis so far leads me to believe that when live aboard cruising the three drivetrains (all electric, diesel electric and all diesel/propane) are very roughly equivalent given similar motoring profiles on emissions when everything is equivalent and if there is any advantage to the all electric boat it is a very, very expensive way to save a very few emissions.

There are certainly very many good reasons to go all electric.

1. With a fishing rod you can be almost entirely independent of the shore (a very attractive thought).

2. Less time spent maintaining the system.

3. Almost zero running costs.

4. Always ready motor power.

5. No diesel smells aboard

6. No explosive propane aboard

7. No exhaust blowing into the cockpit.

8. No difficulties in finding propane (which can be a real pita).

If you are doing all electric for the above reasons, and they are worth the premium for you, then I entirely agree with your logic. If you are doing it to save the planet then I fear that you are making a rather expensive error.
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Old 31-03-2021, 07:05   #68
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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Hi all,

when electricity is nearly CO2 free.
No it is not CO2 free. In fact all these EVs and solar power make overall global CO2 problem worse.
That's what French academy of science stated in 1775.
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Old 31-03-2021, 08:22   #69
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

Another advantage of all electric that I forgot to mention and that would certainly make me go that way if I had a daysailer is silent motoring. Gotta luv that silent motoring.
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Old 31-03-2021, 08:34   #70
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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Another advantage of all electric that I forgot to mention and that would certainly make me go that way if I had a daysailer is silent motoring. Gotta luv that silent motoring.
Mine is not silent on board and makes about the same noise as an electric golf cart. People on other boats and nearby docks frequently mention that they cannot hear me when moving in the marina though.
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Old 31-03-2021, 08:37   #71
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

Can't say the same when I fire up my 90hp Yanmar. Its the quietest installation I have ever owned from onboard the boat, but the noise still booms across the marina or anchorage on a windless day.
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Old 31-03-2021, 10:21   #72
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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(...)

There are certainly very many good reasons to go all electric.

1. With a fishing rod you can be almost entirely independent of the shore (a very attractive thought).

2. Less time spent maintaining the system.

3. Almost zero running costs.

4. Always ready motor power.

5. No diesel smells aboard

6. No explosive propane aboard

7. No exhaust blowing into the cockpit.

8. No difficulties in finding propane (which can be a real pita).

If you are doing all electric for the above reasons, and they are worth the premium for you, then I entirely agree with your logic. If you are doing it to save the planet then I fear that you are making a rather expensive error.
Agreed, there are certainly cheaper ways to reduce your carbon emissions. But as I mentioned earlier the more you use electric engines the better you fare vs diesel. But all of the above are definitely the primary reason to do it, not the environmental impact.
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Old 31-03-2021, 12:14   #73
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

As road vehicles have vastly different propulsion requirements, there is no point in comparing them to boats. And there is no point in comparing small boats to any very large vehicle, such as a railroad engine or ship either.

For small boats with displacement hulls, which need to travel long distances for several days at low speed without access to any outside sources of fuel or electricity, and with limited area for solar panels, the only reasonable and most overall efficient solution other than wind power is the direct drive diesel engine, with modern design of pollution reduction and high efficiency.

The topic has been discussed ad-infinitum in previous Forum posts.
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Old 31-03-2021, 12:24   #74
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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That's a very accurate observation. I don't know anyone who motors less than 50% of the time in any cruising boat, except on long ocean passages, which make up a tiny % of total miles done in cruising boats.



Day sailer or bay boat or racing boat may be different.


You don’t know us! If we motored 50% we’d get a condomoran. But, we have a boat that is very good in light wind, because we hate motoring.
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Old 31-03-2021, 12:29   #75
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Re: Is diesel-electric or all-electric the future?

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FWIW:
Here's every electric vehicle on sale in the US for 2020, and its range:
https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/e...tag=MSFf70f0e2

When they make an all-electric SUV with 500 mile range for less than $50K, I'll be interested. Looks like we're a long way from that. I'm told there are newer hybrids which can be recharged from a fixed power source and will use that mainly until battery is low, then switch to fuel. Seems like a better compromise.
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