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post #31 of 63 Old 03-01-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

I would be curious to know if the startups have considered the size of their target market(s) verus the size and capacity of the product.

On a 45' boat there's plenty of room for a large suitcase. On a 28' boat, there's hardly room for a shoebox. The power needs of the two will be radically different, and the market is also very different. 90% of the sailboats sold in the US (a market which may differ from the EU) are something like 26' and under. And the total number of recreational sailboats sold in a good year will still be in the low 4-figures. Very low, IIRC.

Which means there may or may not be a market for 100 of these boxes, in the EU or the EU, in any given year, if they can gain a 10% market capture. Even if these numbers are off considerably...You'd need a very small box with very high output power, to be able to cover both ends of the tiny marine market with it.

Have they given consideration to that? Not "how much power, what size" but "how much power, what size, for which of the tiny markets?" And at what cost, for a complex(?) device compared to a simpler solar panel?
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post #32 of 63 Old 03-01-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

[QUOTE=bobmcgov;1474386]It's good exercise, mind you; and in the RE world, some Watts is better than no Watts, as long as the means of generating them don't excessively ruin other aspects of the boat, like weight distribution, windage, stowage room, or cruising budget.

No surprise that, faced with depleted batteries and set of bicycle pedals, most sailors would reach for the ignition key.[/QUOTE

That was a post to break the monotony and think a little more radically on RE sources beside solar, wind, kinetic.

A while back I was invited to an investment seminar in Seattle from one of my associates whose brother is an inventor/entrepreneur and he was giving us his pitch on an salt/air battery which would use 20-25% concentration of salt with magnesium/iron plates for the electrodes and in a similar battery configuration... looked promising and there are companies already looking at providing these... of all them the molten salt/oxygen batteries hold the most promise, they are rechargeable and hold the most Whr/kg. I think tapping the energy potential in seawater is the best way to self power our needs, not to mention the planet.

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post #33 of 63 Old 03-01-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

I'm a big fan of Edison batteries. They last forever. And as long as you don't overcharge them, are perfectly safe. (IIRC, you can overcharge them 25% - and some people do, on purpose -- but more then that is dangerous.)

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post #34 of 63 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

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Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
I'm a big fan of Edison batteries. They last forever. And as long as you don't overcharge them, are perfectly safe. (IIRC, you can overcharge them 25% - and some people do, on purpose -- but more then that is dangerous.)

Regards,
Brad
I never heard of them before so did a little research and found this:

Nickel Iron Battery

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It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.
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post #35 of 63 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

I have two 100w panels, mounted on completely adjustable pivots. Combined with a small Isotherm SP fridge unit and all LED lighting, they supply more than enough wattage for everything, including the SSB and computer. These last two units are the biggest draw and have to be rationed but that has not been a problem. Even on cloudy days they produce a surprising amount of energy. IMO, this system would be hard to beat. It is virtually maintenance free, completely quiet, and effective. To me, the whirlibird wind units are totally obnoxious and an infringement on everyone's "sound space."

As there is almost always current running at anchorages, it would be nice to see someone invent some sort of collapsible water wheel to take advantage of it.

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post #36 of 63 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

How about a big piezoelectric unit serving as a mast compression post?

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post #37 of 63 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
As there is almost always current running at anchorages, it would be nice to see someone invent some sort of collapsible water wheel to take advantage of it.
Once again, we're stuck with the physics of the thing. Lets imagine a 3kt tidal current at anchorage (that's quite a lot) and pretend our collapsible water wheel is 3' in diameter and perfectly efficient at capturing the moving water's energy. 3kts=5 ft/sec; circumference of wheel is 9.4ft; wheel turns about 30 rpm. Ain't no alternator under 5,000# produces meaningful amps at 30rpm. A 16" axial flux unit with rare earth magnets starts producing well around 300 rpm, tends to hit its peak around 500rpm. You need lifting blades that can spin faster than the fluid to get that sort of hub speed -- and no, you can't use gearboxes or pulleys with a fractional horsepower generator. You're not producing enuf torque for that, and you'll lose over half your output to friction.

Wind turbines don't need to be noisy, but the only way to get decent amps out of small ones is to spin them very fast; that's the root cause of the noise. When you have 2' blades and only 13 sqft of swept area, plus a small (light) alternator, there's very little power or torque to draw from. You need to design your blades to spool the alternator up to peak speed very quickly -- tip speed ratios of 13 are normal on units like the AirX. You gain output in lower winds that way, but you also reach blade overspeed at about 14kts. Then they start to hammer. Units with more, fatter blades (like the Ampair or smallest Kestrel) run slower, produce more torque, and are generally quieter, but their light air output is poor.

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post #38 of 63 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

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Once again, we're stuck with the physics of the thing. Lets imagine a 3kt tidal current at anchorage (that's quite a lot) and pretend our collapsible water wheel is 3' in diameter and perfectly efficient at capturing the moving water's energy. 3kts=5 ft/sec; circumference of wheel is 9.4ft; wheel turns about 30 rpm. Ain't no alternator under 5,000# produces meaningful amps at 30rpm. A 16" axial flux unit with rare earth magnets starts producing well around 300 rpm, tends to hit its peak around 500rpm. You need lifting blades that can spin faster than the fluid to get that sort of hub speed -- and no, you can't use gearboxes or pulleys with a fractional horsepower generator. You're not producing enuf torque for that, and you'll lose over half your output to friction.

Wind turbines don't need to be noisy, but the only way to get decent amps out of small ones is to spin them very fast; that's the root cause of the noise. When you have 2' blades and only 13 sqft of swept area, plus a small (light) alternator, there's very little power or torque to draw from. You need to design your blades to spool the alternator up to peak speed very quickly -- tip speed ratios of 13 are normal on units like the AirX. You gain output in lower winds that way, but you also reach blade overspeed at about 14kts. Then they start to hammer. Units with more, fatter blades (like the Ampair or smallest Kestrel) run slower, produce more torque, and are generally quieter, but their light air output is poor.
How large a wheel circumference do you think would be necessary in order to gear it up to a useful RPM, a 400:1 ratio or thereabout? How many pounds of torque could a couple of reasonably sized paddles produce with a 2 knot current? Except for slack tide, they could turn continually.

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post #39 of 63 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

Within the stated limits my answer is:
#1) assuming measurements are in mm, a. If cm, b or c.
#2) a,b or c are all acceptable to me.
#3)b.
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post #40 of 63 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

All the calculations done in earlier posts are great - thanks - I learned something today.

Here's the first calculation I would have done:

1) Amp hours drawn per day all systems = Approx 120
2) No. of hours spent on anchor = 24
3) No. of hours spent trying to make sure we have total peace and quiet in the anchorage = 24
4) Resultant movement of vessel in any given direction: If No. 3 is done to any level of success = Zero (assuming tidal rise over 6 hours is ignored)
5) Energy produced at any output and from any location you choose to mention = Zero.

Thanks but my solar array at least works for half the day and the wind gen for the other half and that's good enough for me.

Sorry if I'm a bit of a pessimist in this debate.


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