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post #51 of 63 Old 03-03-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
I'd heard about that years ago. Every time I look at one of those GIGANTIC container ships, it occurs to me that if the energy in their displacement being moved up and down by the rise and fall of tide, could be somehow converted to mechanical rotation, it'd have to be a lot of ergs.
exactly there is a huge amount of energy in this. An idea I've had for some time is this. Follow me now!! two steel barges say 30 feet long each. Hinged together. in an area where there is wave action. put a strong tower on top of each barge with a pivot on top of each one, say 30 feet tall each. Between the two pivot points install a large hydraulic cylinder which would be configured with valves so it would pump hydraulic fluid as the wave action tilted the towers back and forth. hydraulic hoses come down to a hydraulic motor which turns a generator.

Everything is above the water and easy to access. Could be scaled up to any size needed.
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post #52 of 63 Old 03-03-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

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" There's probably not much elevation change along the E. River to get a decent head of water in either direction "
The East River isn't really a river and it is pretty much all always at sea level, as is the Hudson off Manhattan. But elevation isn't needed, there's about a 3 knot reversing current all day and all night, from tidal changes in the "flooded estuary" which is what all the waters surrounding NYC actually are. Most of the time, you can actually observe a tidal bore going up the Hudson twice daily, as the incoming ocean waters push up and inland.
Enclosed turbines are fine for stream generators, but this ain't no stream. (G)
Seems to me that if water is running in any direction, there is change in elevation, even if the change is caused by rising tides. Water runs for one reason:gravity. There just isn't a quick enough change in elevation over the length of the East River to be practical. I've been up and down the Hudson many, many times and appreciate the nature of the tidal estuary. I wonder what the seabed elevation is at Albany, where there is still a hefty (3-4')tidal range, as compared to the seabed elevation at The Narrows??? Since there is tidal action, is the mean elevation at Albany at 0 feet? Albany/Troy one would think, are much higher in elevation than NYC. Going to have to pull out some topo maps.

Looked this up and Albany IS at 0' elevation!

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Last edited by smurphny; 03-03-2014 at 07:54 PM.
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post #53 of 63 Old 03-03-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

Ive got a 38' Morgan 383 i run three 100 watt solar panels and a 300 watt wind. between them i run everything on my boat well. Now i have looked in to a pull behind for power but the consensus i have seen thus far is little power production,noise and lots of drag " loss of speed". My solar works by day keeping my battery's at top mark and the wind carry's me through the night. I am interested but the unit would have to be light , have a non fouling rotating system, easy to deploy and be worth the time and cost of deployment.
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post #54 of 63 Old 03-04-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

Here's an inherent difficulty of tidal generators: you know how a tide chart is basically a sine wave, showing min/max peaks every six hours? There's another sinusoidal graph about 90 degrees out of phase with that chart representing speed of the water. Its peaks coincide roughly with the midpoints between high and low water. Like tossing a ball into the air: it's moving max speed when it leaves your hand, then it slows and slows until it nears its peak, then it stops and seems to hang there for a bit, then it begins accelerating until it reaches its initial speed as it passes your hand. If you were standing on a cliff edge and the ball were on a bungee cord, it would perform the same trick downward: max, fast, slower, slow, stop, slow, faster, fast, max....

Why does that matter? It means in a location prone to 5kt tidal rips, the water will spend almost all its time moving slower than 5kts. Most of its time moving much slower than 5kts. Power available in a moving fluid is the cube of the fluid's velocity -- air moving half as fast has one quarter the kinetic energy and one eighth the power. So when that tidal rip is below its peak (moving 2.5 kts, say), it just doesn't have very much power in it for you to gather, by any means you can think of. Output falls off very steeply as fluid speed diminish; and as mentioned above, tides spend most of their time moving slower than peak speed. A tidal generator will spend 1/3 of its life doing nothing at all, 1/3 doing a little bit, and 1/3 cranking like a sumbitch. Will that last third make up for the other 2/3rds?

That's why you need to ignore peak output on wind turbines (or the OP's device). Don't be too impressed by that instantaneous amp meter reading as the turbine maxes out in 25kt winds or the Magic Box pendulum achieves peak acceleration. What really matters is output over time in a given regime. How much power will the Magic Box generate in a moderately sheltered anchorage in 24 hours of normal swell? How much juice will the wind turbine generate over one month in a location with mean wind speeds of 10kts?

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post #55 of 63 Old 03-19-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Alternative to Solar

Dear community,
thanks a lot for your very detailed and technical answers.
There was a long discussion wether to put the device on the top of the mast or outside the boat. We tried these two approaches already and learned that the mast option is not commercially feasible. Furthermore the out-side approach could cause damage to the boat so we rejected both of these ideas. (The device is actually designed to produce more energy when sailing!)

Moreover, it is quite obvious that the power output goes down when the boat is moored, but still the device is also capable of producing energy although there is only a small movement.
In general I have to say that of course the average output of 36Ah does not fully meets all the needs of a sailor but it helps. So for me it would be interesting to know if people would actually value the additional amount of energy they can consume with this sort of device.

Finally, a few people posted that the size/weight would really matter, so could a possible option be to install a device that generates 120-200 Amp. (for instance) which ways between 100 and 200 Kilo? (the price for such a device would be around 1500-2500 Euro)

Thanks a lot again for all the constructive feedback. It is really helpful to talk to this community and I am continuously trying to improve the technology.

kind regards,

Maximilian Allmayer-Beck
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post #56 of 63 Old 03-19-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

" of course the average output of 36Ah "
But 36 Ah is not an output or output rate. It is just gibberish unless you say "36Ah at 14 volts over a 24 hour period" or something similar.

Output power needs to be expressed in watts, as a constant or average. It would be interesting to know how big and heavy the device has to be, to have what output power over what time period.

Absent that? Meaningless gibberish.
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post #57 of 63 Old 03-20-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Alternative to Solar

That is completely right! I am sorry. We are working with 12V batteries, since they are commonly used in most of the sailboats in Spain.
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post #58 of 63 Old 03-20-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

I think it would be an awesome device to incorporate into a sailboat design intended to have an electric motor. Going green all the way. Then you could make it really heavy and place it close to the keel where it would do most good. Have you tried talking about it to any active sailboat designers? There has to be a market for it. If I was wealthy I would love to have a boat like that.
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post #59 of 63 Old 03-20-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

I once read about an engineer crossing the Atlantic who used a larger copy of the mechanism in a self winding watch to charge his batteries. It was so powerful that he had to disconnect it most of the time, to prevent over charging. I was thinking of a pendulum device to generate such power ,but along came LED's reducing my power needs to microscopic . Then my neighbour gave me his old solar panels ,capable of generating far more than I will ever use.
As no two boats will use the same amount of power, some will use only lights, others will have every kind of electric gadget they can buy, I suggest you offer your product in a series of different sizes , starting small. As there is no shortage of wave energy at sea, and in some anchorages ,I think you are onto a great idea.
Good luck!
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Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"
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post #60 of 63 Old 03-20-2014
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Re: Alternative to Solar

Just curious Allmeyer-Beck are you an engineer/inventor or data mining ideas here?
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battery charger , renewable energy , solar panel

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