I'm very new to the forums and have looked around on this subject. I could only find a few references about Nigel Calder writing an article about hybrid/electric conversions on boats for Proffesional Mariner that I had trouble tracking down.
But: Does anyone have opinions on the aspects of converting a bluewater cruising/liveaboard to generated electric propulsion from diesel?
Here's my vision, I hope it catches some folk's imagination:
Something like a heavier displacement 36-43' type Ingrid style bluewater boat. Electric motor for propulsion. Trying to make it work without refrigeration (we live on a Cal 29 in Vancouver Island and use an uninsulated quarter berth locker as a cool pantry, but have to re-think for the tropics). LED lights all around... interior and for nav. Wind vane steering, no electric hot water (maybe on-demand propane), no microwave, manual windlass, manual water system pumps, manual head.
Sort of minimalist--I like simple and strong, easy-to-fix a long way from port type solutions. My girlfriend and I are young, have been offshore a few times.... and are only in our early thirties, so we're forced to enjoy some of those challenges that keep us on low consumption and a low budget.
Can I get some ideas or opinions on if a simple and strong boat like this could go offshore with wind/solar/towed array and an electric motor? I would also be conservative and bring aboard a generator... How does the math work with demand between battery amp-hours and what the motor would draw... I'd be going with just to start (but open to all suggestions) say--an ASMO electric motor. I guess 'cause I'm new I can't post links but asmo marine one word dot com does the trick for some interesting electric motors.
I'm looking at the spec sheet for a 48 volt "Thoosa 9000" which should replace a 17-25 HP engine. Underpowered? Many of those lovely Cape George 36's built in WA came with an 18hp Saab Diesel... I think the displacement is in the neighborhood of 24 000 lbs. Anyway, this Thoosa 9000 has a peak current of 400 Amp, it's a 48v engine. Does this mean I need a generator on and putting out 19 200 watts when I start accelerating? (I don't think I'll get that from a panel, even if I use the solarstik and change the panel orientation 3 times a day...
The real world application: could I cross the doldrums on water/solar (solar panels array say 150 watts just to start somewhere) and an hour or two of generator running? and get just 2 or 3 knots of a slowly turning electric motor to help me get through the calm bits getting a boost of 30-50 miles a day...
I hope I'm drawing this situation clearly. I think I could figure out the solar and wind aspect... but what are electric motor options? How about batteries? Any ideas on how far we're away from workable (non explosive!) large Lithium Ion batteries or Nickel Metal Hydride or any of those light, fully dischargable and low-memory miracles?
I want to explain this vision well enough. Unfortunately I'm away from the computer for weeks at a time so I'll have to pick the thread up only sporadically, but I've been reading the wealth of technical and mathematical information available at this forum and I hope some folks around here get to thinking about it. With all the hybrid car technology being mass produced and gaining in popularity, isn't it possible for us sailboaters to take some of the same lessons?
We want to upgrade our Cal 29 to something beefier and are looking at boats like Ingrids or Bristol 40's or Valiant or Pearson or something the great Mr. Calder may smile upon... full skeg, heavy displacement, cutter rig, good reserve bouyancy, not a pounding or skittish boat, but that could sail so the generator aspect of the motor could have a chance. I'm thinking about purposefully going for a boat with an engine on it's last legs... like a beat up old Volvo MD3B and installing the electric instead, small genset, batteries instead of some of the fuel tanks. Could I get away with a gas powered four-stroke generator... 2000 watts? I'd like some help on the math here.
Any thoughts, references, articles or information would be much appreciated.
Thanks everyone. All my girlfriend and I will need next is gills on our neck and we'll be right there with Kevin Costner in Waterworld. See you somewhere waaaay off the Midways, feasting on algae and tuna.