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T37Chef 03-25-2012 12:16 PM

Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
I have been interested in hybrid systems for our boat as we consider a re-power, this one from Beta Marine looks very interesting...it could be a perfect set up for our application...

Beta Marine US Ltd. Distributors for Kubota based marine

http://www.betamarinenc.com/images/B...0low%20res.pdf

klem 03-25-2012 01:33 PM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
I have said this on another thread about these beta hybrids but in my opinion, they do not make sense for most cruisers. The reason that people buy hybrids is to lower fuel consumption, lower costs, or lower noise. For the way most cruisers use their engines, it only succeeds at lowering noise in certain circumstances. Of course, there will be exceptions, but I don't feel that it makes sense for most people.

Sailboats tend to either operate for long periods of time at steady state or short periods of time in transients modes (docking). From an efficiency and cost standpoint, parallel hybrids make absolutely no sense unless it is operated as a plug-in hybrid. The problem is that at steady state, the motor/generator will be doing nothing and adding a bit of parasitic loss. If you were to use the motor to add power so that you could decrease the fuel consumption, this would mean that your batteries would be discharging. Unless you recharge them using shore power, you will need to burn even more fuel to recharge the batteries because every time energy is converted, you loose a bit. Therefore, at steady state, the motor does nothing unless you are using it as a plug-in hybrid with a large battery bank that you charge up on shore power and deplete when cruising. This could work for several hours of motoring but for people who may need to motor for 10's of hours, the battery bank would be prohibitively large. Unfortunately, we haven't come up with a denser way of storing energy than liquid fuels yet.

The reason that parallel hybrids work in cars (think prius, the volt is series), is that the cars are in a transient state most of the time and have proportionately more power. By operating in a transient state, you can use the electric motor where the gas engine is inefficient but even more importantly, you can recapture kinetic energy and store it in the batteries when slowing down. In a boat, you almost never "brake" and when you do, regen would not be enough so you will never capture any of the energy back. Also, because of consumers demand for acceleration, engines in cars operate at 5-25% of maximum power output when the car is cruising at steady state. Therefore, the engines are way too large to be efficient at these steady state power outputs. By using a hybrid system, the engine can be a much more appropriate size and the electric motor can make up for the lack of power during brief periods of acceleration. On a boat, the engine will be at 60-80% of full load where it is already very efficient and going to a smaller engine will not really help. The exception to this might be the cruiser who doesn't mind motoring very slowly but wants tons of power when docking but I have never really met this cruiser.

The person that I can see this making sense for is the one who goes on very short trips all the time and uses it as more of an electric drive than a hybrid drive. This would mean having a large battery bank that is recharged using shore power every night. Whether this makes financial sense depends on how much the person uses the system, the capitol cost, the cost of shore power and fuel costs. Environmentally, if you used the system enough to overcome the embodied energy, it would be better. The impact would certainly be effected by where you got your power from. Unfortunately, if you motor a lot, solar or wind are simply not going to be viable ways to charge because they will make up such a small percentage of your demand. You would also need to find a way to carry a lot of batteries which take up a lot of space and weigh a lot.

If you operate at steady state most of the time and have a well thought out diesel propulsion system, it will be very hard to beat because every time you do an energy conversion, your efficiency goes down. I would love to come up with a better propulsion system than a diesel but I don't think that it exists yet for a serious cruiser (electric makes sense for daysailors if they have a way of recharging). I have built 3 electric cars and 2 hybrid racecars and hybrid technology would simply not make sense for the way that my friends and I cruise.

JimsCAL 03-25-2012 11:14 PM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
Good analysis klem. I find it hard to come up with a situation where a hybrid system makes economic sense.

davidpm 03-25-2012 11:50 PM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
The place it has found a home is on certain catamarans where you can replace two gas outboards with one diesel inboard and two electric motors. The diesel gives the owner charging capacity and reliability and no need for gas.
It seems to work really well in this situation. But of course this is not a hybrid.
\

Rockter 03-26-2012 02:00 AM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
Remember that we are sailboat owners.
We use our motor to get us to and from the dock.
When there is no wind, or light adverse winds, we motor.
When we motor for any appreciable distance, we need a lot of energy. I need about 3 or 4 gallons of diesel to get the full length of Loch Ness. The battery bank to deliver on that would have to be enormous. As for the battery bank to deliver on a 25 gallon motor session, well, have a wee think about that.

Let the motor do it with shaft power directly from the gearbox. Forget this hybrid stuff. It's otherwise known as "diesel-electric". Leave it for submarines and locomotives. They have their own reasons for using the concept, and they have nothing to do with sailing.

klem 03-26-2012 08:54 AM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by davidpm (Post 850573)
The place it has found a home is on certain catamarans where you can replace two gas outboards with one diesel inboard and two electric motors. The diesel gives the owner charging capacity and reliability and no need for gas.
It seems to work really well in this situation. But of course this is not a hybrid.
\

Yes, it does make sense in this situation. It is worth noting though that these systems are series hybrid systems unlike the Beta which is a parallel. In a series hybrid, the engine has no direct connection to the prop shaft. In the car world, this would be the Chevy Volt system.

jimrafford 03-26-2012 09:03 AM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
I think everyone is missing the point of the concept. It's not just about propulsion. For boats in his size range that would like to have the comfort of airconditioning and a microwave you need ac power. Finding enough room for a generator is not practical so your only option is a portable generator. The concept of adding a generator to the primary propulsion opens up new possibilities in my oppinion.
I personally have chartered one of the Lagoon cats w/ the salomon electric drives. Loved it.
Jim

PCP 03-26-2012 09:45 AM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jimrafford (Post 850660)
I think everyone is missing the point of the concept. It's not just about propulsion. For boats in his size range that would like to have the comfort of airconditioning and a microwave you need ac power. Finding enough room for a generator is not practical so your only option is a portable generator. The concept of adding a generator to the primary propulsion opens up new possibilities in my oppinion.
I personally have chartered one of the Lagoon cats w/ the salomon electric drives. Loved it.
Jim

Yes I agree. The advantage of this system is not in what concerns propulsion. That can be a small bonus if you have your batteries full. The advantage of this system is that you have on one single package a generator and a boat engine.

Generators are disproportionaly expensive regarding the size of the engine, hard to mount and they require space that many times is not available on a small boat, not to mention having to have maintenance with two engines.

Electrical capacity is not only needed for the ones that want to run AC but to all that want to stay out of marinas for a considerable time.

This is a very good system for any cruising boat that really cruises (out of marinas) and pretty useless for one that is used on week-ends or that coastal cruise for one marina to another.

I would like to have one of those babies on my boat even if I doubt that it would fit (too long).

If I remember correctly this has nothing to do with the Lagoon system. Lagoon had electrical motors (lower power) and a generator to charge the batteries. Here you can run your diesel engine as a conventional engine, without a significant loss in power

Regards

Paulo

klem 03-26-2012 10:49 AM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
For the people who want the hybrid for its power generation capabilities, do you have a 48V electric system which is what this runs on? It seems to me that it would make much more sense to simply put a very large alternator on. Nowadays, there are alternators that are large enough that they can output more juice than the batteries can handle. You can also control the charge rate so that you don't bog down your engine when you are powering (the beta system would do this too). With the Beta Hybrid, they are talking about 5KW of generation capabilities which is more than most battery systems can efficiently handle. Unless, you have a large battery bank, a 200A, 12V (5kw is the equivalent of ~350A @14V) alternator would do the same and be simpler.

I definitely agree though that eliminating a generator could be worthwhile on smaller vessels.

PCP 03-26-2012 11:40 AM

Re: Beta Marine - New Hybrid System!
 
With a good inverter I don't think the 48V will be a problem.

I had a look and it seems they have plenty experience with barges in canals. Of course the efficiency on the sea would be less except in settles waters (that is the case many times when there are no wind at all) but what they say is impressive:

Our parallel hybrid concept allows you to drive the propeller with the engine in the normal way or alternatively to use an efficient electric motor. When moving under engine power the motor automatically reconfigures itself as a 5kW generator. At standard canal speeds, for every hour of engine propulsion, you generate enough electrical energy to go for a further hour under clean / quiet electric drive. In general our Hybrid canal boats see a 50% reduction in engine hours. ...

The best way to use the hybrid is to fire up the engine on open stretches to rapidly charge up your batteries. When your batteries are charged you can then switch to electric drive and enjoy the countryside in complete silence. It takes about 4kW to push a 60' narrow boat at canal speeds....

...Your hybrid is a portable power station. With the powerful generator capability, a substantial battery bank and inverter technology, you have an optimum power solution. Some of our boats take full advantage of this by being all electric (no gas onboard). Every domestic appliance you use at home can now be powered on your boat : Washer/dryers, electric oven & hobs, toaster, kettle, fridge/freezer etc.

Set the boat up with a normal domestic ring main and there is no need for under powered and costly 12V appliances. For those few items of equipment that need 12V you have a step down converter capability from the main battery bank. Forget running your generator at dusk/dawn to top up the batteries. The enhanced battery bank of the hybrid supplies, in complete silence, more than enough power for the night and can be charged again when you are under way the next day.


Why fit a Hybrid? - Hybrid Electric Marine Propulsion

If I was The Chef I would talk directly with these guys for more information since it is them that are on the basis of that particular engine modification to make it an Hybrid.

NB Chelonian Hybrid


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