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Electric boats - the future???


MJG

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The Amsterdam boats are a prime example of why the infrastructure has to be developed in parallel with the boats' propulsion systems. The costs will be recouped, but only in the long term. Given that our government cannot even plan for six five months hence, I don't hold out much hope. 

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The issue is not the cost of going electric but of charging after travelling.  You will use a few kW  to move so if you move a few miles you will may use 10 kW hours. Solar can give a few kWatts in summer on a sunny day moored in the sun.  A diesel generator for a few hours can provide the power  but you may as well connect a propeller to the diesel.  Without shore power e!electric boats really are limited to weekend trips and sit in the sun for the rest of the week to recharge. In winter charging could take several weeks!

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I went into the design of electric boats 30 years ago. Cost was comparable to a diesel engine if installed at the outset. But the practical problem was lack of available components and charging facilities - that were promised everywhere. Where are they ???

So I designed a boat with an electric drive and an in-board diesel driven charger, but never got round to it, and a long story that I wont go into, except to say with today's bow-thrusters and additional electrical equipment to run - where a generator is likely to be required - the cost is largely covered.

However it boils down to total boat electric power and just adding the propeller motor to it.

Separate to which are the composite controls for speed and direction, generators, and battery management - chuck in a few solar panels and windmills - all to work in conjunction with shore based power supplies.......

 

However, if the Dutch have already done this then their costs are unbelievable - and to my mind totally avoidable and unnecessary, but  based on a decision logic that requires a bit of forward and lateral thinking.

 

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Horace42 said:

However, if the Dutch have already done this then their costs are unbelievable - and to my mind totally avoidable and unnecessary, but  based on a decision logic that requires a bit of forward and lateral thinking.

The costs look to be mainly for the batteries.  66 LiFePO4’s per boat is probably not that cheap!

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15 minutes ago, Horace42 said:

>>based on a decision logic that requires a bit of forward and lateral thinking.

Exactly my point, but it applies equally to the boats and the infrastructure.

If diesel fuel were to become near-unobtainable, we would all very soon stop driving our diesel cars (and boats).

 

(for the avoidance of doubt, I am not advocating this as a management strategy)

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It depends on how much solar you have doesnt it? I have over 3kw so in reality can run in the sun for free and not need to use the batteries at all/ Every lock the motor is turned off so no power consumed so for the couple of hours I want to travel daily it works, I have plans to add another 1,2kw on the wheelhouse roof next year just for the domestic side of things, at least I will know that my boating isnt killing and maiming children wont I?

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7 minutes ago, StephenA said:

We've had diesel electric trains for decades. I suspect the obvious way forward is an engine running at an optimal speed for charging with a battery pack to provide surge current and also power when not moving.

The first boat I drove was electric Image result for lowestoft electric boats pakefield

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1 hour ago, peterboat said:

It depends on how much solar you have doesnt it? I have over 3kw so in reality can run in the sun for free and not need to use the batteries at all/ Every lock the motor is turned off so no power consumed so for the couple of hours I want to travel daily it works, I have plans to add another 1,2kw on the wheelhouse roof next year just for the domestic side of things, at least I will know that my boating isnt killing and maiming children wont I?

I am so pleased to hear that you always have a clear blue sky and never have to travel in the shade of trees.  .... might have worked for a couple of months this year, but not realistic during a typical summer.   .... and of course totally unworkable during the winter.

 

I have 500W on my little electric yogurt pot, and reckon to manage max 200W at noon on  sunny day.   

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I

2 minutes ago, Murflynn said:

I am so pleased to hear that you always have a clear blue sky and never have to travel in the shade of trees.  .... might have worked for a couple of months this year, but not realistic during a typical summer.   .... and of course totally unworkable during the winter.

 

I have 500W on my little electric yogurt pot, and reckon to manage max 200W at noon on  sunny day.   

I had the best part of 50 amps going into the batteries today, same tomorrow I believe overall for my usage it works fine. I could if I wished charge from powerpoints that are on our section of canal but prefer solar

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3 minutes ago, roland elsdon said:

Given that many people seem to spend all day/ night generating from engines / generators for domestic usage , propulsion without burning fossil fuels , is impossible. 

I will have to tell my two boats that they dont work then wont I! One of them has been on the go nearlt two years now so he will be most disappointed about it

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Ok I will rephrase.

the way that many people ( including myself ) use their boats means electric is not currently viable.

until you can ' plug in' everywhere, and carry enough energy to get you to your next plug in point it can't work, if you wish to move in a random fashion ( or navigate according to cc legislation.) 

 

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2 minutes ago, Cheshire cat said:

The other issue is the cost to human life in producing the solar panels albeit on the other side of the world.

Mine were made in France thats across the channel I think? Also how many lives does your diesel engine cost? thousands, millions? a lot a very lot that is proven by the ongoing legislation across the world against them

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1 hour ago, Murflynn said:

I have 500W on my little electric yogurt pot, and reckon to manage max 200W at noon on  sunny day.   

if that is the case then either your batteries are fully charged or there is something wrong with your setup

on a single 140w panel I get between 100w and 120w in summer sun, I would expect yours to produce somewhere around 400w

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17 minutes ago, roland elsdon said:

Ok I will rephrase.

the way that many people ( including myself ) use their boats means electric is not currently viable.

until you can ' plug in' everywhere, and carry enough energy to get you to your next plug in point it can't work, if you wish to move in a random fashion ( or navigate according to cc legislation.) 

 

Roland in two hours I can move five miles or more if you try and tell me that isnt enough I will show you London where they move much less!

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2 hours ago, StephenA said:

We've had diesel electric trains for decades. I suspect the obvious way forward is an engine running at an optimal speed for charging with a battery pack to provide surge current and also power when not moving.

This is precisely the technology that was used on the  Broads 10 years ago on the trading wherry the White Moth . As the boat was on hire with a crew it provided silent propulsion for the times when wind and tide were against them, after all you couldn't have the hirers quant poling when they had paid £1200-00 for 3 days.

Phil 

Edited by Phil Ambrose
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3 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Interesting article. It raises a question: I have recently replaced a lithium laptop battery which has swelled to double size - what should I do with it?

Throw it in the bin like 99 percent of people do, especialy the ones who claim to be green!! ?

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