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andy4502

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Could electric car parts be used to put together a suitable conversion?

I expect there are used parts from accident damaged / scrapped cars already available and such things will become even more available as electric cars become common.

The lithium batteries , even if reduced in performance due to age might be suitable on a canal boat where the weight is much less of an issue compared to the requirements for a car.

Therefore using used/reconditioned parts maybe a conversion to electric propulsion could become more economical in the future?

 

 

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23 minutes ago, MartynG said:

Could electric car parts be used to put together a suitable conversion?

I expect there are used parts from accident damaged / scrapped cars already available and such things will become even more available as electric cars become common.

The lithium batteries , even if reduced in performance due to age might be suitable on a canal boat where the weight is much less of an issue compared to the requirements for a car.

Therefore using used/reconditioned parts maybe a conversion to electric propulsion could become more economical in the future?

 

 

Yes it will to put it simply, the guy I am helping has bought the batteries out of a BMW I3 which were very well priced as they were brand new! His motor is a lynch one and I am sorting out a controller for him. I suppose as time goes on kits will be available at better prices than currently available 

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1 hour ago, wandering snail said:

No-one has picked up as yet on the absurdity of having to use a diesel gennie to keep it all going.

But I don't and others like myself don't either. I am happy doing summer and good weather cruising, I have never liked cruising in the rain so nowt has changed for me going from diesel to electric except the silence and no chip shop smell as I used bio diesel 

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2 minutes ago, peterboat said:

But I don't and others like myself don't either. I am happy doing summer and good weather cruising, I have never liked cruising in the rain so nowt has changed for me going from diesel to electric except the silence and no chip shop smell as I used bio diesel 

See above -- what works for you won't work for most people. Remind me again how big your boat is, how much solar it's got, and how much cruising you do, especially in the winter?

Edited by IanD
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Just now, IanD said:

The problem isn't the batteries or the motor or the cost, it's where the power comes from to change them up in the first place. What works for Peterboat (widebeam with massive solar array, only moves occasionally for a few hours cruise) doesn't work for most people. Having a diesel genny makes the whole exercise worse than pointless. The only solution is an extensive network of charging points with enough capacity to charge all the hire boats in the summer holidays, which is technically possible but would cost a lot and has to be paid for somehow...

10 hours without sun and on a good day I can have used no battery power at all. The issue for some is that they want to cruise all day every day and in the future they will need deep pockets to do it

1 minute ago, IanD said:

See above -- what works for you won't work for most people.

I know plenty of boaters and few that cruise all day, most only do 3-5 hours in one stretch 

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4 minutes ago, peterboat said:

10 hours without sun and on a good day I can have used no battery power at all. The issue for some is that they want to cruise all day every day and in the future they will need deep pockets to do it

I know plenty of boaters and few that cruise all day, most only do 3-5 hours in one stretch 

So like I asked, how big (including area) is your solar array, and how long does it take to provide enough charge for an hour's cruising (say, 3kWh) in summer and winter? You keep on and on about how well it works for you (which I'm sure it does) while ignoring the fact that it won't work for anyone in a narrowboat who wants to travel more than you do -- which is an awful lot of people...

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1 minute ago, IanD said:

So like I asked, how big (including area) is your solar array, and how long does it take to provide enough charge for an hour's cruising (say, 3kWh) in summer and winter? You keep on and on about how well it works for you (which I'm sure it does) while ignoring the fact that it won't work for anyone in a narrowboat who wants to travel more than you do -- which is an awful lot of people...

I have nearly 5kws on the roof it's a widebeam,  a narrowboat will hold maybe 2.5kw? Maybe more if its bifacial? However a narrowboat needs way under half the power to move than I do., i would think 1000 watts would move it at 3mph and remember a full size boat should be better than say a 57 foot one and could hold more solar, and solar is cheap 

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1 hour ago, IanD said:

The problem isn't the batteries or the motor or the cost, it's where the power comes from to charge them up in the first place. What works for Peterboat (widebeam with massive solar array, only moves occasionally for a few hours cruise) doesn't work for most people. Having a diesel genny makes the whole exercise worse than pointless. The only solution is an extensive network of charging points with enough capacity to charge all the hire boats and CCs in the summer holidays, which is technically possible but would cost a lot and has to be paid for somehow...

 

Thanks Ian. You saved me the effort of typing, and you were pretty much word for word what I wanted to say.

 

Peter is an electric boat evangelist, and good for him.  I'd quite like one, but need to know for sure I can move it tomorrow ...

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11 hours ago, wandering snail said:

We were quoted £30000 a few months ago to do this on our 70' nb. A proportion of that cost is for a generator, run on diesel, to provide electricity, to charge the batteries.... so that you can then use them to cruise without using diesel. 

And we were quoted £35000 for a 60 X 10 parallel hybrid drive and more for a serial hybrid.

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We are in the early adopter phase at the moment.. Expensive if you want a commercial system as you are paying their development costs. Cheaper if you have good engineering skills, or know someone who does. No charging network on the waterways, so only suits certain cruising patterns. Unless this is you, then it is worth waiting a few years and benefit from all the early adopters hard work.

 

A bit like buying a CD player in the mid 80's. Very expensive and only a few people had one and would play you Vivaldi's Four Seasons on their stereo when you visited as that was all there was available. A few years later they were cheap as chips and everyone had one and all albums were available in the format. Continuing the analogy, now CD players are landfill and people buy vinyl and turntables, so in the future, perhaps people will rip out their batteries and electric motors and install diesels 'cause they reckon the sound is warmer?

 

Jen

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11 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

We are in the early adopter phase at the moment.. Expensive if you want a commercial system as you are paying their development costs. Cheaper if you have good engineering skills, or know someone who does. No charging network on the waterways, so only suits certain cruising patterns. Unless this is you, then it is worth waiting a few years and benefit from all the early adopters hard work.

 

A bit like buying a CD player in the mid 80's. Very expensive and only a few people had one and would play you Vivaldi's Four Seasons on their stereo when you visited as that was all there was available. A few years later they were cheap as chips and everyone had one and all albums were available in the format. Continuing the analogy, now CD players are landfill and people buy vinyl and turntables, so in the future, perhaps people will rip out their batteries and electric motors and install diesels 'cause they reckon the sound is warmer?

 

Jen

You have an early adapter there though Jen, he seems to be enjoying himself.  I suspect he will have an issue with his motor as it looks like a pump motor which doesn't have a good 1 hour rating! Still he is enjoying yourself and that is all that matters 

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9 hours ago, peterboat said:

I have nearly 5kws on the roof it's a widebeam,  a narrowboat will hold maybe 2.5kw? Maybe more if its bifacial? However a narrowboat needs way under half the power to move than I do., i would think 1000 watts would move it at 3mph and remember a full size boat should be better than say a 57 foot one and could hold more solar, and solar is cheap 

Our 70ft boat weighs 26tons and would weigh even more with all the batteries it would take to fuel it and service our systems, also a large enough gennie would go some way to counteract the loss of weight of the current engine which wouldn't help matters. By the way, just thought of another use for the gennie - it could heat the water that the engine would no longer be doing! We are not going to be early adopters for once but wait as Jen points out. 

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7 minutes ago, peterboat said:

You have an early adapter there though Jen, he seems to be enjoying himself.  I suspect he will have an issue with his motor as it looks like a pump motor which doesn't have a good 1 hour rating! Still he is enjoying yourself and that is all that matters 

Yes, he is having a lot of fun in the process. I've seen it go by on test runs and sometimes come back under tow from a diesel boat!

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2 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Yes, he is having a lot of fun in the process. I've seen it go by on test runs and sometimes come back under tow from a diesel boat!

But I haven't and I have been all over the place,  my first run out was Thorne and the flight numerous times as you know 

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1 hour ago, wandering snail said:

Our 70ft boat weighs 26tons and would weigh even more with all the batteries it would take to fuel it and service our systems, also a large enough gennie would go some way to counteract the loss of weight of the current engine which wouldn't help matters. By the way, just thought of another use for the gennie - it could heat the water that the engine would no longer be doing! We are not going to be early adopters for once but wait as Jen points out. 

Waterline length and 7 foot wide help you against 57 x 12. I can assure you when I removed the engine and fitted batteries and  motor boat was higher at the stern! Lithium batteries don't weigh a lot and your boat would hold a lot of solar, in the summer my hot water is done by solar via the immersion heater, winter Rayburn via backboiler sorts it outAs an afterthought I am seeing 60 amps coming in from my solar at the moment as its a sunny day here, and the boat is toasty

Edited by peterboat
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All of which ignores the fact that an all electric boat is only one solution to the problem of eliminating fossil fuel usage by 2050. What about hydrogen power? Make the hydrogen using renewable energy, deliver it in tankers to boatyards, fill up your boat’s hydrogen tank and off you go for a couple of weeks. With weight of the pressure tank not being much of an issue for boats, and the probability of a high speed accident rupturing the tanks almost zero, it seems to me that boats are an ideal vessel (pun intended) for hydrogen power.

Edited by nicknorman
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So if it is the "drive" that has to be electric!?....I can disconnect the prop. from my engine,and use the engine to charge the batteries for an electric drive system that is connected to the prop!??....?

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12 hours ago, peterboat said:

It's not that expensive Alan honestly but it does require lateral thinking and some good friends who all network together to help others 

From previous debates on here, I think that you are not really comparing like with like. The OP was looking at the cost of going electric whilst still retaining all the functionality and usage patterns of his diesel engine. Your previous contributions seemed to suggest that the costs were achieved by also changing the requirements to a lower level of energy demand (not necessarily a bad thing, but something different)

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6 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

All of which ignores the fact that an all electric boat is only one solution to the problem of eliminating fossil fuel usage by 2050. What about hydrogen power? Make the hydrogen using renewable energy, deliver it in tankers to boatyards, fill up your boat’s hydrogen tank and off you go for a couple of weeks. With weight of the pressure tank not being much of an issue for boats, and the probability of a high speed accident rupturing the tanks almost zero, it seems to me that boats are an ideal vessel (pun intended) for hydrogen power.

Its not a good option Nick, if one kilowatt of electricity moved a boat a mile it would take 4 kilowatts of electric to make the hydrogen to do the same, also you then have all the energy transporting the Hydrogen pumping it etc and the dangers of it. The science is now to move  hydrogen as ammonia as its safer, but this doesnt alter how energy inefficient it is especially the fuel cells, also factor in Hydrogen likes to crack metal and then leak! Its not for me but it will be good for real ships and HGV., The plan is instead of turning off wind turbines they will produce hydrogen with the electric instead of paying the companies to have turbines stood still, a win win

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11 hours ago, peterboat said:

I have nearly 5kws on the roof it's a widebeam,  a narrowboat will hold maybe 2.5kw? Maybe more if its bifacial? However a narrowboat needs way under half the power to move than I do., i would think 1000 watts would move it at 3mph and remember a full size boat should be better than say a 57 foot one and could hold more solar, and solar is cheap 

So let's do a power audit for an electric narrowboat using solar power...

 

A 57 foot boat would have a job getting more than 6 panels (1.8m x 1.2m) on the roof by the time you allow for hatches and roof fittings (and of course this means no plants, wood, canoes or anything else that many people like to keep on the roof) which is about 2kW rated power. The best-case yield data for solar in the UK is shown below:

 

monthly-energy-output-uk.png.5c5edce72e3f4a5d4d07a89f586ed249.png

 

This is about 7.5kWh/day for a 2kW system, but assumes perfectly angled unshaded south-facing panels, so let's assume 80% of this for a narrowboat which is typically 6kWh/day in summer and 1.5kWh/day in the depths of winter -- note that this means one of those big 6" x 4" panels only puts out 1kWh/day even in summer...

 

Peter's number of 1000W to propel a narrowboat on the narrow canals is way too optimistic compared to his widebeam boat in deep water, figures from electric/hybrid narrowboats suggest an average of about 3kW into the batteries is needed to maintain charge when when cruising along at 3mph (less past moored boats, almost nothing in locks) -- allowing for inefficiencies in charging/discharging, motor and controller and belts, this corresponds to about 3hp at the prop.

 

So this suggests that in summer two days of charging will pay for one day of motoring, but this ignores the power needed to run everything else on the boat. Even for a very abstemious owner (just fridge and LED lights and a few low-power things like chargers, and the drain of a small inverter) I doubt that this would be less than 1.5kWh/day, which is only 60W averaged over 24h. So this leaves 4.5kWh per day (in summer) which will drive the boat for 90mins -- but this falls in spring and autumn (~60mins/day) and to zero in Jan/Dec (1.5kWh/day all used up) so you can't move for 2 months.

 

It's true that this is a lot longer past moored boats and waiting in locks, but also note that going upstream in a river (like I did on the Trent recently, or the Soar, or the Avon, or...) puts the power demand up a lot -- looking at typical revs I saw and working back to propeller load, I reckon the demand is around 9kW (~10hp at prop), at least doubling (~20hp at prop) if the river is fast-flowing but still open. This means 1 day of solar in summer will drive you up a river for 30mins, or 15mins if it's fast.

 

Yes you could get another couple of panels onto a full-length boat which will help, but equally 60W average is a very low power drain, you only have to do something for a few hours that uses power (TV, laptop) to double this which pushes the numbers back the other way, so I think these are reasonable guesses -- feel free to disagree, but you need to crunch the numbers.

 

So the end conclusion is that on a narrowboat one day of solar power (6kWh from the panels) typically lets you do the following:

 

Summer : cruise for 90mins at 3mph, 30mins up a river, 15mins if fast-flowing

Spring/autumn : cruise for 60mins at 3mph, 20mins up a river, 10mins if fast-flowing

Jan/Dec : stay moored up

 

For a wideboat like Peter's with 5kW of solar these times are ~3x longer which is why it works for him. But any significant energy usage for appliances above the minimal levels I assumed (only 60W average!) will completely wreck even these assumptions.

 

No doubt there are plenty of power-frugal people who mostly stay moored up and only cruise for a couple of hours at a time or every few days for who this might still work, at least in summer, though they'd be stuck in winter. Anyone who wants to put in what I'd call a solid day of cruising -- either to get a fair distance from A to B, or with any significant time upriver, or most hire boats -- will probably be able to cruise for 1 day (assuming big enough batteries) but will then have to stop for 2 days to recharge.

 

So pretty much the entire narrowboat hire business on the canals (which pays a lot towards keeping the system going) would be killed -- all the routes like the rings (Cheshire, Four Counties, Stourport, Warwickshire...) which people now do in a week (6+ days travelling) would take 3 weeks.

 

Other than charge points round the system, the only way this would work for hire boats would be to fit *huge* battery banks -- a week's cruise would need ~80kWh usable so a ~100kWh battery, similar size to the biggest Tesla ones) with all the same consequences (massive cost because they *have* to be lithium, HV systems running at ~400V DC), with charging back at the base during turnaround so a boatyards of any size will need a hefty mains supply. Trips longer than a week would need a recharge every week. Of course if all hire bases adopted this you could stop at ones you pass and recharge, but this is a hidden way of getting recharge points around the system...

 

[BTW, I cross-checked all these power and energy use numbers back against typical diesel fuel consumption (and diesel fuel energy content and engine efficiency) and they stack up]

 

All of which comes back to the fact that electric boats and solar power look like a great idea, but for a lot of people (the majority? don't know how many are stayers/movers/hirers) and the entire hire boat industry the only way to make this work is charging points around the system -- the problem is simply that solar panels that will fit on a narrowboat in the UK can't keep up with energy demands for propulsion and (even small ones) for onboard living, unless you spend most of the time (or all of it in winter...) stationary ?

Edited by IanD
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18 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

All of which ignores the fact that an all electric boat is only one solution to the problem of eliminating fossil fuel usage by 2050. What about hydrogen power? Make the hydrogen using renewable energy, deliver it in tankers to boatyards, fill up your boat’s hydrogen tank and off you go for a couple of weeks. With weight of the pressure tank not being much of an issue for boats, and the probability of a high speed accident rupturing the tanks almost zero, it seems to me that boats are an ideal vessel (pun intended) for hydrogen power.

Indeed the Government is planning on various 'technologies' even to the extent of Hydrogen being distributed in the Gas-Main system

 

 

 

Screenshot (271).png

Screenshot (272).png

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1 minute ago, peterboat said:

Its not a good option Nick, if one kilowatt of electricity moved a boat a mile it would take 4 kilowatts of electric to make the hydrogen to do the same, also you then have all the energy transporting the Hydrogen pumping it etc and the dangers of it. The science is now to move  hydrogen as ammonia as its safer, but this doesnt alter how energy inefficient it is especially the fuel cells, also factor in Hydrogen likes to crack metal and then leak! Its not for me but it will be good for real ships and HGV., The plan is instead of turning off wind turbines they will produce hydrogen with the electric instead of paying the companies to have turbines stood still, a win win

Most so-called zero carbon solutions to boat energy are far from that as they utilise technology that currently displaces the carbon from the boat to on shore. In addition, solar panels and batteries are consuming rare resources at an alarming rate, so  much that the retrieval of quite tiny amounts from recycling is becoming economically viable. What they do have is a much better emission profile even if, again, some of that is by displacement.

 

I very much look forward to the day when energy production and consumption is much more compatible long term with the maintenance of our environment but this will only happen when total systems analyses are done, rather than local sub optimisations (look how good I am, no smoke - at least not visible here) In the end we cannot escape basic physics regarding entropy! 

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