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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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People forget that you still have to generate this electrical energy.

Are you going to cover your boat with solar panels.

On land nuclear is the ONLY realistic alternative for large scale 24/7 energy generation. If we switch off every dead dinosaur engine we are going to need a s*** load of alternative energy if we want to drive around with the AC on and have AC in summer and heat in winter in our homes.
If by realistic you mean horribly expensive with incredibly long build times, then yes, you're right. Building a nuclear power plant is a massive expenditure of time and money, and it's always financed by the public. Sometimes they don't even get fully built due to insane cost overruns. The VC Summer reactors are case in point: the projected cost was $5.1 billion. $9 billion later, they're still not finished and 5 years behind schedule, with a revised cost of $25B. The project was abandoned.

MW per MW, you can build solar farm capacity 5-6x faster than you can build nuclear capacity. Plus, solar PV is upgradable - if better panels come along, you can swap them into the existing infrastructure, provided you've built in enough excess carrying capacity.

I agree that we're going to need something, probably gigantic batteries, to level out the current for when there are cloudy and less windy days. Since it takes, at minimum, 10 years to build a nuclear power plant, I'm certain that in that time a better solution will come along.
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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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I agree that we're going to need something, probably gigantic batteries, to level out the current for when there are cloudy and less windy days. Since it takes, at minimum, 10 years to build a nuclear power plant, I'm certain that in that time a better solution will come along.
You obviously have been drinking the renewable energy KoolAid. Wind and solar are great additions to the electric energy production arsenal. But the intermittent nature of the production is a HUGE disadvantage. I don't think you have a clue as to how big the energy storage issue is. Maybe a reasonable solution will come along in a few decades, but I think even that may be optimistic. Until then, natural gas is going to remain the logical solution for base load power.

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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

Natural gas is great because it can be ramped up and down quickly to respond to need, whereas nuclear and coal are more fixed. Hydropower can also be ramped up and down quickly.

However solar and wind aren't as intermittent as you might think, because the electrical grid can smooth out shortages in one area by bringing in electricity from another. Advances in grid technology will open up other options for regulating power, like demand pricing.

I work at a manufacturing plant that uses a fair amount of electricity and right now we have a fairly crude system of demand pricing: if it's going to be a high demand day they call us and ask us to shut down a certain amount of load. We can opt to go over that, but we pay a significant fee.

I can imagine systems where you'd plug your car or boat in, but set it so that it won't start charging until the price of electricity drops below a certain threshold (which would probably be sometime in the middle of the night). High electric consumers like aluminum manufacturing would vary production based on price.

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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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Natural gas is great because it can be ramped up and down quickly to respond to need, whereas nuclear and coal are more fixed. Hydropower can also be ramped up and down quickly.

However solar and wind aren't as intermittent as you might think, because the electrical grid can smooth out shortages in one area by bringing in electricity from another. Advances in grid technology will open up other options for regulating power, like demand pricing.



I can imagine systems where you'd plug your car or boat in, but set it so that it won't start charging until the price of electricity drops below a certain threshold (which would probably be sometime in the middle of the night). High electric consumers like aluminum manufacturing would vary production based on price.
Exactly. Not only does production tend to balance out over larger regions but demand does too (i.e., California uses a ton of power for AC in summer, when power demands are relatively low in the PNW - summer is when we generate a lot of solar in the NW and don't need all of it. similarly CA is still producing solar power in winter when we need it for heating and they don't so much). We just need a good grid to move it round.

Also, charging your car at low-demand times is doable (and done) now. That makes a ton of sense where the base power production is on all the time but not heavily used at night.

As others have noted, the range issue has largely been solved for EVs. A 300 mile range is more than enough for almost anyone so long as rapid charge stations are available along highway for long road trips, and they are being installed fast (especially if you own a vehicle made by the "half-baked startup" that someone mentioned, which is building its own network). We have a Leaf with a 107 mile range and even that is enough for almost everything we do in the urban area.

But the difference between cars and boats, and the real problem for electric boats, is that by the nature of a car you are almost always going to be somewhere you can recharge on a daily basis. Not so much the sailboat. It's hard to imagine using one for anything but short trips without some way to recharge, like a genset. That in itself is not horrible - you would in effect be operating like a plug-in hybrid car, which saves a ton of fuel. I know someone with a plug-in Prius who gets gas every 2-3 months.
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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

IMHO the really scary thing about nuclear power is the time it takes to build a power station. Sure the current time is around 10 years that is 6 months to a year of work and 9 years futzing around with politics and health and safety.

But if the lights start going out and people are facing rolling power cuts and industry has to shut down I bet there will be some fast tracking and the risks will go up, way up especially as there will be less training time.

BTW The French have 68 working nuclear power stations.

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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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An all electric boat can generate fuel via wind, solar, or propeller drag while under sail.
Actually my boat can also do the first two of those and thatís why I know how hopelessly inefficient it would be to replace diesel.

My watermaker has a 1.5hp electric motor and the only way I can run that for an hour or more is to run the diesel at the same time. The current draw from my house bank is about 160A when itís running at 850psi.

And thatís a baby electric motor compared to a primary drive motor.
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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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Actually my boat can also do the first two of those and thatís why I know how hopelessly inefficient it would be to replace diesel.
But that's only generating fuel (energy) for your electric system not fuel for propulsion as in an EP system. With an EP system you are generating energy for both using solar and wind and also underway with regen. They continue making energy while at anchor and the EP battery bank can be tapped as needed for heavy use too. Or a small generator can be had as a back up when needed.

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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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But that's only generating fuel (energy) for your electric system not fuel for propulsion as in an EP system. With an EP system you are generating energy for both using solar and wind and also underway with regen. They continue making energy while at anchor and the EP battery bank can be tapped as needed for heavy use too. Or a small generator can be had as a back up when needed.
I must confess to not having done any research into a subject in which my interest is very peripheral but I suspect that an EP requires a lot more that 1.5hp. Maybe 10 times as much? More?

What evidence suggests that my passives, which canít keep up with a 1.5hp electric motor are going to keep up with a vastly bigger electric motor irrespective of battery chemistry. Unless there has been some incredible advances in battery and electric motor technology that Iíve missed, power draw is power draw.

Also, regeneration off the propshaft is not really fireworks, probably not more than a decent solar array and generates nix when anchored.

Maybe I shouldnít make assumptions I know nothing about.
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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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I must confess to not having done any research into a subject in which my interest is very peripheral but I suspect that an EP requires a lot more that 1.5hp. Maybe 10 times as much? More?

What evidence suggests that my passives, which canít keep up with a 1.5hp electric motor are going to keep up with a vastly bigger electric motor irrespective of battery chemistry. Unless there has been some incredible advances in battery and electric motor technology that Iíve missed, power draw is power draw.

Also, regeneration off the propshaft is not really fireworks, probably not more than a decent solar array and generates nix when anchored.

Maybe I shouldnít make assumptions I know nothing about.
No problems EP can be counter intuitive. Though it is useful in many more ways on board than diesel as I have found out over the years. When I converted to EP back in 2008 it was more a leap of faith since there were not any boats that were comparable to mine that I could find that had converted to Electric Propulsion. Doing my annual harbor tests: https://biankablog.blogspot.com/2015...test-2015.html
I discovered the sweet spot for the hull is three to four knots using around 900 watts of power. While at around 2.5 knots I only need about 480 watts. My next goal for my system is adding enough solar to operate entirely on solar at that speed. I already have 120 watts on board so I'm keeping an eye on solar panel tech improvements. In the meantime I am totally happy with my EP system as is. But, the beauty of EP is it is easy to upgrade as the technology improves.

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Re: Crazy Propulsion idea for next cruiser... Thoughts...

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.....While at around 2.5 knots I only need about 480 watts. My next goal for my system is adding enough solar to operate entirely on solar at that speed. I already have 120 watts on board so I'm keeping an eye on solar panel tech improvements....
You're a frontiersman for sure and I'm glad you like your EP. Just to understand, you're hoping to add enough solar to make 2.5kts, without need to recharge? If so, this essentially makes the point about it being a tough cruisers choice. That speed would be a dead stop in the face of some conditions. As I'm sure you know, in order to get a continuous reliable 480 watts of solar PV production, you'll need substantially more capability. Of course, it will do no good at night or in a storm.

I'm not arguing against your path, just pointing out the shortcomings for long distance cruising. The hybrid approach, I know you also employ, does make it a bit more feasible, but the OP was about a "one fuel" cruising system. Curious what solar tech improvements you're waiting for. I see it getting less expensive, but I'm not reading about any imminent significant efficiency per PV sqft or other such improvements.
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