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Classic30 08-03-2008 11:08 PM

Gas Engines?
Dunno why I'd never thought about it before, but an editorial in the latest issue of "Ausmarine" asked the question:

Given that a large percentage of cars and taxis the world over are running on LPG as a relatively non-polluting and inexpensive fuel for internal combustion engines, and that the Norwegians have recently introduced a number of gas-fuelled ferries, given the current price of diesel, why aren't we seeing conversion kits for marine engines and outboards?

I'm guessing that fiddly connections might be an issue for outboards and the increased risk of gas in the bilges might worry some - but most people use gas stoves (and have done for years) and have bilges alarms already.

Apart from needing a bigger gas cylinder - if LPG was readily available, is there any reason not to convert a diesel inboard to gas???

brak 08-03-2008 11:14 PM

lpg being even more volatile and dangerous than gasoline?

RXBOT 08-03-2008 11:30 PM

More suitable
I think converting a gas engine to Lpg would make more sense, but there aren't that many gas engines (marine) out there. Deisels are high compression not requireing spark for ignition. They are built heavier to withstand compression loads. A lot of forktrucks use propane engines, I'm sure if there was a demand propane engines would be availeble for boats.

SEMIJim 08-03-2008 11:51 PM


Originally Posted by Hartley18 (Post 349411)
Dunno why I'd never thought about it before, but an editorial in the latest issue of "Ausmarine" asked the question:

Given that a large percentage of cars and taxis the world over are running on LPG ...

LPG or LNG? I had thought cars in Europe and elsewhere that were running on gas, as opposed to gasoline, were running on liquid natural gas. But it's been quite a while, and I could well be wrong.

Scary thought, to me, motoring or sailing around with a large quantity of compressed-to-liquid gas right under/next to me, I gotta tell ya. There was a gas tanker, don't recall if it was propane or natural, that blew up off the coast of Spain quite some years ago. I'll never forget the pictures of the beach taken afterward. One of them was of somebody who'd been sitting in a beach chair, reading. The charred remains of that person were still sitting in the charred remains of that beach chair, holding the charred remains of the book. *shudder* Several years later there was a fire at a down-river refinery. That refinery has a big, ball-shaped liquid something-or-other gas storage tank on-site. (Used to be called "the baseball," because the refinery used to paint it white with baseball stitching.) It was touch-and-go for a while. (How touch-and-go, you ask? Well, the tank was scorched up 1/3 or so of one side.) The disaster people said if that tank had gone up, it would've taken a goodly portion of south-west Detroit out with it, and all of several smaller communities to the south and west. I regard myself as a (usually) rational person, but ever since those two incidents, every time I get near a liquid whatever gas truck, I mentally breath a small sigh of relief when it's out-of-site again.

Would have the advantage, on a boat, of being able to power both your engine and your stove, tho :). A heater, too, were one so-inclined.


RXBOT 08-04-2008 12:08 AM

Doubt LNG will be readily available at most marine fueling stations.

sailingdog 08-04-2008 12:12 AM

One word-one reason: KABOOM!!!!

scottyt 08-04-2008 12:21 AM

do a search for cng tanks they cost almost as much as an engine

Classic30 08-04-2008 01:26 AM

For the record: We're talking about Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) known to some as "Propane", but usually a mix of liquified propane, butane and various additives and, unless you have a metho stove (like we do! :D ), the same stuff you use on the boat already... ;)


Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 349439)
One word-one reason: KABOOM!!!!

And exactly how is that different what you use now to heat up the dinner whilst anchored for the night?? :confused:

Maybe you think you're not carrying as much gas now (what, say 14lb?) as you might need to run the engine for a week - but do you honestly think a 14lb gas cylinder won't make a bang big enough to fragmentize your pocket-maxi under the wrong circumstances?? Of course it will. :) :D :D

So how much gas is too much to have on board?? One cylinder? Five?? Does it make a difference?

negrini 08-04-2008 01:52 AM

Sorry SD, my one word-one reason: COST. I converted my V6 Chev Blazer from gas into LNG, back in 2001. Used the car for 2 years, and found it acceptable the loss of 20-30% in power, cheaper than gas, but hard to find LNG stations and limited range, moved me away. Today, almost 70% of gas station does offer LNG, but actual prices plus conversion kits plus low mileage rage plus compression rate increase plus space taken on trunk, make it not acceptable. Ethanol (now widely offered) os far more cost effective. This month's BOAT US issue presented a simple energy balance showing that the almost 40% less BTU power per gallon of LPG, wouldn't make it a cost effective (they also presented a veggie oil note also). About safety, good engineering can make a very safe installation; although ABYC doesn't have any standard for LNG engines, automotive usage of such combustible is far well know and good industrial standards would prevent disasters (what about nuclear power on ships ?). With today's technology and fuel prices, consider how many engine hours you run yearly, and the economy you make per gallon .... that will take centuries to recover the investment.

SEMIJim 08-04-2008 09:35 AM


Originally Posted by negrini (Post 349476)
Ethanol (now widely offered) os far more cost effective.

That's only because its production is heavily subsidized. Take away the subsidies and discover ethanol's real cost. Furthermore: Some question ethanol's touted "carbon neutrality," indicating ethanol may take more energy to produce than it creates. Meanwhile: Human and animal food crops are being turned into internal combustion engine "food," creating shortages and raising prices.

Ethanol as a solution to energy needs and pollution may well be a chimera.


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