Join Date: Feb 2010
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I've been following the electric propulsion of boats for some time now. The problem is of couse the energy density of the batteries. Fuel is 100 or more times more dense.
You need a lot of batteries to equal just a couple gallons of gas.
For the right boat used the right way with dockside electric to charge the batteries and acceptance of very, very limited run-time between charges on the order of a few hours at best some folks have successfully implimented electric propulsion.
The problem is where to put the extra batteries so they don't change the characteristics of the boat.
So on to my question. Several popular boat designs have integrated keels, that is keels that are not bolted on but are part of the mold.
These keels are usually filled with heavy stuff, lead, iron, steel often just random sized pieces with some kind of filler like concrete.
Would it be possible to dig out the mess and make a compartment to hold batteries. The AGM batteries are sealed and need no maintanence.
I'm thinking of a good quality battery with a emergency vent connected via a hose and the terminals waterproofed. Anyone seen this done already?
Waterproofing would be tricky but possible yes?
I once saw a boat with a keel full of batteries at Svendsen's Boat Works, in Alameda. It was a kinda funny-looking boat, with a disproportionately thick and long keel to accommodate all the batteries. This was at least 15 years ago, before AGMs were nearly as common as they are today. So, I suppose the batteries were deep-cycle flooded units. Remember, as heavy as batteries are, they are not nearly as dense as solid lead, or even iron. A Trojan T105 weighs about 62 pounds, but the same volume of solid lead would weigh about 440 pounds, and solid iron would tip the scales at about 305 pounds. So, yeah it can be done, it has been done, but at the cost of having a less than ideal keel size and shape and a lot more surface area and projected frontal area (both of which add to drag).
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