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OCM

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Looking to the future, with eco etc, is it possible to hybridise a Beta Marine 43 engine, in mint condition. Is it a big job and what would the cost be approx, 58ft boat?

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1 hour ago, OCM said:

Looking to the future, with eco etc, is it possible to hybridise a Beta Marine 43 engine, in mint condition. Is it a big job and what would the cost be approx, 58ft boat?

 

I'd suggest yes it is possible if you have the technical expertise, yes it is a huge job and going 'off piste' with a DIY hybridisation would end up being almost as expensive as a new Beta 'off the shelf' installation and prone to unexpected cock ups. 

 

A better idea would be to buy a new hybrid system from Beta Marine built up onto a new Beta 43 engine, then sell your existing Beta 43. 

 

I think the whole project will possibly set you back by about £40k, buying and fitting an off the shelf system from Beta and selling your existing Beta.

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30 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

I'd suggest yes it is possible if you have the technical expertise, yes it is a huge job and going 'off piste' with a DIY hybridisation would end up being almost as expensive as a new Beta 'off the shelf' installation and prone to unexpected cock ups. 

 

A better idea would be to buy a new hybrid system from Beta Marine built up onto a new Beta 43 engine, then sell your existing Beta 43. 

 

I think the whole project will possibly set you back by about £40k, buying and fitting an off the shelf system from Beta and selling your existing Beta.

Going by the quote I had, should be under £30k allowing for selling your existing Beta 43. Hybridmarine.co.uk will also do conversions, suggest asking them which is cheaper.

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57 minutes ago, IanD said:

Going by the quote I had, should be under £30k allowing for selling your existing Beta 43. Hybridmarine.co.uk will also do conversions, suggest asking them which is cheaper.

 

Did your quote include the installation work then? I thought it was just for the gear. 

 

I guessed the OP's installation work would be broadly funded from the sale of the existing nearly new Beta 43.

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I think a big consideration in taking this route of adding/swapping in parallel hybridisation is where are the batteries going to go? No matter what battery technology you use they will take up a fair chunk of space.

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Interesting project. If it was me I think I would a) Not bother, or b) install all the  new installation alongside the original engine and fit a multi belt drive to the shaft. I don't think it would harm the gearbox. Much of the cost is in batteries and charger so you will have to get that anyway and motor and controller too. Or, and I have seen this done, install all the electric stuff on a separate wing mounted shaft. Steering may be an issue with that though. There are many ways of looking at this. Personally I would either go all electric and fit a hefty generator or tap the local sewer for methane and bottle it and run the Beta on gas, might get a few explosions in the trial stage though.

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14 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

Did your quote include the installation work then? I thought it was just for the gear. 

 

I guessed the OP's installation work would be broadly funded from the sale of the existing nearly new Beta 43.

My quote didn't include installation but then it was also considerably less than £30k so I was allowing for this.

 

14 minutes ago, jpcdriver said:

I think a big consideration in taking this route of adding/swapping in parallel hybridisation is where are the batteries going to go? No matter what battery technology you use they will take up a fair chunk of space.

 

Not just the batteries -- which if the OP uses lead-acid traction (hybridmarine's preferred solution) will take a *lot* of space, and be *very* heavy -- but the hybrid engine is longer than a Beta 43 and may not fit if there isn't enough space between the existing engine and bulkhead. I think they also normally use an Aquadrive which adds even more to the required length.

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Has anyone thought aabout contacting Beta Marine? They offer a hybrid version of the 43 and 50 engines - and knowing them there will be a kit list of parts that they may be willing to sell you if you're very polite...

There have been a lot of time wasters in the past...

Have a look on their website where there's a lot of detail..

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I do not know why everyone is bothering with hybridisation or Telsa or anything else that purports to save the planet. It's either doomed or it isn't no matter what paltry contributions we make. Big businesses are not going to stop shipping your iphones and all the other tech we use in great big heavy fuel oil powered ships belching out massive amounts of pollution. Nor are they going to stop using aircraft also belching out massive pollution in those pretty vapour trials everybody goes "OOOOOHHHHH" at. And that is not taking into consideration the vehicles on the roads or the industry or all the people who want to fly off to "exotic" locations around the world.

 

Some of the ships on our oceans at the moment and aircraft in the skys....... Think about it.

ships.jpg

flight.jpg

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22 minutes ago, pete.i said:

Big businesses are not going to stop shipping your iphones and all the other tech we use in great big heavy fuel oil powered ships belching out massive amounts of pollution.

Ah, the nihilistic approach. We shouldn't do anything because no one else is. Big businesses are doing something. Mostly it is bribing politicians to delay curbs on emissions as long as possible and having a publicity green washing demonstrator ship, or aeroplanes, but some of them are starting to realise the game is up and they are going to have to change.

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53 minutes ago, Bee said:

Interesting project. If it was me I think I would a) Not bother, or b) install all the  new installation alongside the original engine and fit a multi belt drive to the shaft. I don't think it would harm the gearbox. Much of the cost is in batteries and charger so you will have to get that anyway and motor and controller too. Or, and I have seen this done, install all the electric stuff on a separate wing mounted shaft. Steering may be an issue with that though. There are many ways of looking at this. Personally I would either go all electric and fit a hefty generator or tap the local sewer for methane and bottle it and run the Beta on gas, might get a few explosions in the trial stage though.

I understand that Hybrid Marine are no longer keen to be involved with retrofit parallel hybrid systems. As has been said, the way to go is to a serial hybrid system so junk the engine (you'll get a good price for it) and replace it with an electric motor. This is something I (amongst quite a few others) am looking at and at Crick it was interesting to see the choice, and to price up the exercise. I reckon  £20,000 would be a realistic figure for a basic conversion, from which you can deduct the value of your existing diesel.

 

As a member of the IWA Sustainable Boating Group (albeit with responsibility for HVO) the best advice I've obtained from my 'electric colleagues' is to not buy the whole package from one manufacturer. I'm strongly advised to have the confidence to mix and match with the possibility of saving up to a third on the total price. I'm assured that it's not rocket science and that a half decent marine electrician can specify and fit the right combination of kit.

 

You can certainly spend another £10,000 if you want to go down the lithium route but if you look around at the current parc of electric narrowboats, by far and away the majority them have chosen the half way house of lead carbon batteries for a whole raft of good reasons.

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49 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

Has anyone thought aabout contacting Beta Marine? They offer a hybrid version of the 43 and 50 engines - and knowing them there will be a kit list of parts that they may be willing to sell you if you're very polite...

There have been a lot of time wasters in the past...

Have a look on their website where there's a lot of detail..

Beta Marine will probably refer you to hybridmarine.co.uk who actually developed, market and support the hybrid system for Beta...

 

[except just saw the post above about them not wanting to support conversions any more]

 

I'd agree with the comment that a series hybrid is probably the way to go. The cost very much depends on whether you want a lower-power cheapest-possible solution (various geared motors available) or a higher-power direct-drive motor, and whether you want to put everything together yourself and get it to work or buy a ready-to-install supported solution. £20k for a basic lower-power geared-motor conversion is probably about the best you can do by the time everything is included, assuming you use new parts not secondhand/recycled. For a more capable direct-drive solution with lithium cells you won't get away much short of £30k. Don't forget that just a new cocooned diesel generator is getting on for £10k...

 

When I last looked at this, for direct drive buying a ready-to-go drive solution from Waterworld was about £6k for the 15kW version, not that much more than buying all the bits separately and you don't have to integrate all the software/display/controls/protection yourself.

 

https://www.energy-solutions.co.uk/products/waterworld

 

What you then spend on top of this for the rest of the system (batteries, inverter, solar, MPPT...) is up to you, more power/energy costs more, lithium costs more than lead-carbon which costs more than traction cells.

 

Whatever you choose, it's going to be expensive unless you DIY using secondhand parts...

Edited by IanD
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8 minutes ago, Up-Side-Down said:

it's not rocket science and that a half decent marine electrician can specify and fit the right combination of kit.

First find your competent Marine electrician.
As someone who design electrical drive systems many items will not talk to each other, that in my opinion is why always buy your system from one supplier it may cost a little more but it will work straight of the box.

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4 minutes ago, Keith M said:

First find your competent Marine electrician.
As someone who design electrical drive systems many items will not talk to each other, that in my opinion is why always buy your system from one supplier it may cost a little more but it will work straight of the box.

Yes and no. Obviously motor and controller is best bought from the one source but batteries, charger, generator and inverter can be sourced separately. Simply purchasing a cocooned generator without the word 'marine' in its title can half the cost of that item! 

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35 minutes ago, Up-Side-Down said:

Yes and no. Obviously motor and controller is best bought from the one source but batteries, charger, generator and inverter can be sourced separately. Simply purchasing a cocooned generator without the word 'marine' in its title can half the cost of that item! 

 

Not just motor and controller, you also need a display to see what's going on with the motor and batteries, and a CANbus BMS which can manage charging and talk to the inverter/MPPT etc. They don't all have to come from the same supplier, but they do need to talk to each other, and this can be the biggest obstacle unless you're willing and able to dive in and do all the coding and integration yourself like Nick did -- and a hybrid drive system is more complex than just adding lithium batteries. It's not just a typical "marine electrician" job of connecting everything up -- there may be some who can do all the integration work, but many won't have the knowledge.

 

Some suppliers have already done this work, buying all the bits from them doesn't necessarily cost more than sourcing them separately (I looked into this), and you get support if there are any problems -- this *really* shouldn't be underestimated unless you understand these systems inside out. The attached drawing shows the kind of thing that is needed, quoted cost for this was about £30k+VAT (of which £10k was the generator, and £2k was solar).

 

The generator comment doesn't stack up with what I found, assuming you're looking for a quiet diesel generator. Unless you also mean one which doesn't use skin tanks for cooling, which means they need to be provided with huge amounts of cooling air, which is easy on a festival site but not so easy on a narrowboat. Do you have any examples in mind?

Waterworld-15_kW_Series_Hybrid–Inland_Waterways_with_Solar_(Lead_Acid)_20-1008.pdf

Edited by IanD
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36 minutes ago, Up-Side-Down said:

Yes and no. Obviously motor and controller is best bought from the one source but batteries, charger, generator and inverter can be sourced separately. Simply purchasing a cocooned generator without the word 'marine' in its title can half the cost of that item! 

And what do you do when the battery charger does not work because the use of an incorrect generator.

I have experience this situation many times.

Edited by Keith M
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It's very valuable to open up this debate as there needs to be a way to make electric boating financially accessible if it's to really take off. The parallels with BEVs is obvious! HVO is but an interim solution on the road to 2050 and carbon neutral boating. My knowledge and experience relates pretty much to this interim solution and I make no pretence beyond this. However, I've asked one of the members of the IWA Sustainable Boating Group with 6 years of electric narrow boating experience to hop onto this thread to share his knowledge and perceptions. Hopefully he'll appear soon and support my general assertions and observations with hard fact, rather than have me acting as a conduit. 

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Why not join the Electric Boat Association.

A wealth of knowledge. 

39 minutes ago, IanD said:

They don't all have to come from the same supplier, but they do need to talk to each other, and this can be the biggest obstacle unless you're willing and able to dive in and do all the coding and integration yourself like Nick did -- and a hybrid drive system is more complex than just adding lithium batteries. It's not just a typical "marine electrician" job of connecting everything up -- there may be some who can do all the integration work, but many won't have the knowledge.

You are perfectly correct.

As most builders are using Victron and they do let have access to there soft ware. 

I do not see how you can start.
 

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12 minutes ago, Up-Side-Down said:

It's very valuable to open up this debate as there needs to be a way to make electric boating financially accessible if it's to really take off. The parallels with BEVs is obvious! HVO is but an interim solution on the road to 2050 and carbon neutral boating. My knowledge and experience relates pretty much to this interim solution and I make no pretence beyond this. However, I've asked one of the members of the IWA Sustainable Boating Group with 6 years of electric narrow boating experience to hop onto this thread to share his knowledge and perceptions. Hopefully he'll appear soon and support my general assertions and observations with hard fact, rather than have me acting as a conduit. 

The biggest problem with making "electric" boats affordable in the near future is the lack of charging points. The reason that BEVs are becoming affordable (predicted to cross over with ICE in cost around 2025) is that they don't have to include an expensive diesel generator -- not just the engine but also the alternator and control circuits -- which on its own costs more than a diesel engine. Today this typically contributes around a third of the cost of a hybrid boat installation, and this amount will only rise as the cost of the electric drive/batteries drops driven by cheaper components (especially batteries) driven by the BEV market, it will very likely end up doubling the cost.

 

When we can have real electric narrow boats (power from solar + charging points) then they will become an economical (and eco-friendly) solution, but this needs charging points, and there is no properly thought-out plan on how to make this happen on the canals...

Edited by IanD
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Do not forget that there many marinas around the system, you can stop and recharge over night.

Another good reason for joining the EBA.

 

And a well design system should not need any recharger between Mid-March and late October to date I have five systems function with out the use of plugging over night.

Edited by Keith M
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16 minutes ago, Keith M said:

Do not forget that there many marinas around the system, you can stop and recharge over night.

Another good reason for joining the EBA.

 

And a well design system should not need any recharger between Mid-March and late October to date I have five systems function with out the use of plugging over night.

There are not enough marinas with recharging points, they don't cover anywhere near the whole system especially in the North, and they only have a few charging points.

 

If you don't cruise much in summer or only for short days I agree that solar can provide enough power. For many hire boats and people who want to cruise for long days several days in a row, this is not the case, as a simple power audit will show. And anywhere from late autumn to early spring solar doesn't provide enough power. All this assumes a narrowboat with restricted roof area, a wideboat is better but solar is still not enough in the depths of winter -- which of course doesn't matter if you don't cruise then.

 

So for many hybrid boaters an onboard generator is essential, and will be for a long time -- the cases where a generator is not needed are pretty restrictive, even if this is the case for you it won't work for an awful lot of people, especially if they actually want to be able to cruise round the canal system.

 

Joining the EBA won't change this... 😞

Edited by IanD
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12 minutes ago, Keith M said:

And a well design system should not need any recharger between Mid-March and late October to date I have five systems function with out the use of plugging over night.

 

Do tell us more! Are these narrow boats?

 

The only person achieving this here has a widebeam with space for 3kW of solar, and even then he only cruises occasionally. 

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5 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

Do tell us more! Are these narrow boats?

 

The only person achieving this here has a widebeam with space for 3kW of solar, and even then he only cruises occasionally. 

5kW IIRC, more than 2x what can be fitted on a narrowboat...

 

When I did a power audit I came up with 14kWh for a full 8h day of typical cruising (so 7kWh for half a day). Solar on a narrowboat averages about 7-8kWh/day in summer, just enough to keep up with half a day's cruising but only if you don't have any other electrical loads, very unlikely with these installations which have big battery banks and inverters. So if you're doing reasonably long days -- like many hire boats do, and also owners needing to get from A to B instead of having unlimited time to dawdle along -- you need to run a generator for about an hour a day on average, less if it's really sunny, more if you're really motoring.

 

So if you don't cruise much, or cruise for a day then rest for a couple, solar will keep you going in summer.

 

Try finding marinas (with or without charging points) on canals like the HNC and see how far you get...

Edited by IanD
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Just now, IanD said:

5kW IIRC, more than 2x what can be fitted on a narrowboat...

 

Quite. I don't think basic engineering limitations will allow a narrowboat to rely wholly on solar for daily locomotion.

 

Occasional, yes. One day cruising, five days charging seems more viable for a narrowboat, especially one with perhaps only 25ft x 4ft of spare roof space.

 

 

 

 

Scope for improvement lies in solar panel efficiency, I suspect. Current technology harvests barely 10% of the energy landing on a solar panel. If we can find a way to ramp this up to harvest say 50%, everything changes.

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