Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 271 Old 01-01-2019
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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Khaleesea is Hunter 29.5. She'll probably never leave the Chesapeake Bay, and she's definitely not a blue water boat, so range isn't really an issue. Even so, if my math is correct, I should get 5kts for about 8 hours with the battery pack I'm putting in (16kWh).

With the charger I'm going to install on the boat, I should be able to full charge from dead empty in a day-ish.

I am reducing the amount of pollution I put into the Bay.

I'd like for my boat to be as quiet under power as under sail.

Sailing the bay, I should be able to get a week out of the batteries, provided I'm not trying to travel directly into the wind. If I'm sailing most of the time, the regen should cover any house battery usage and then some. I won't know for sure until I start collecting data, though. That's part of what this is about - learning what works and what doesn't.

Electric motors are *far* more reliable than even the most robust diesel, don't need reconditioning, maintenance, or winterizing, and weigh far less. The motor I'm putting in my boat weighs 35 lbs, making it easy to replace if necessary.

I'm planning to retrofit a catamaran for a circumnavigation some time in the future using a similar design. This is the prototype. Better to screw things up with a $3k system than with a $30k system.

Lastly, I have a bet with a friend that I can outrun his 33' hunter under power once the conversion is done. Since I'm more than doubling the available HP on the boat, that should at least make me competitive.

So yeah, there are a lot of reasons.
So your reasoning seems fairly sounds:


1. Lower noise - unquestionable (depending on the drive system).

2. More robust and reliable - questionable (risk of design and installation error, and huge risk of poor electrical connection causing a major melt-down).

3. 5 knots for 8 hours - highly questionable (in anything less than 2 knot favourable current and 20 knot tail wind.)

4. Lighter - questionable (while the engine will be, the battery bank will likely be heavier than the diesel engine and fuel tank taken out).

5. Less pollution - questionable (pollution generated by motor and battery production and transportation from source to vessel, and spent nuclear fuel rods to recharge the batteries is potentially far worse for eco-the planet than any fuel a small diesel could burn.
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post #32 of 271 Old 01-01-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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So your reasoning seems fairly sounds:


1. Lower noise - unquestionable (depending on the drive system).

2. More robust and reliable - questionable (risk of design and installation error, and huge risk of poor electrical connection causing a major melt-down).

3. 5 knots for 8 hours - highly questionable (in anything less than 2 knot favourable current and 20 knot tail wind.)

4. Lighter - questionable (while the engine will be, the battery bank will likely be heavier than the diesel engine and fuel tank taken out).

5. Less pollution - questionable (pollution generated by motor and battery production and transportation from source to vessel, and spent nuclear fuel rods to recharge the batteries is potentially far worse for eco-the planet than any fuel a small diesel could burn.
1) I think you would be hard pressed to find an electric drive system noisier than a marine diesel. They're notoriously loud. My Yanmar is easily twice as loud as either of my cars with the hood open.

2) All things being equal, electric propulsion spanks internal combustion in the reliability department. To oversimplify, fewer moving parts means fewer things go wrong.

3) We'll see. I'll have a monitor on the controller that will tell me exactly how much power I'm using at any given moment. I'll be reporting my results once I have everything installed and running. Much will depend on just how big a prop I can put on my boat.

4) At worst, I'll beak even with weight. The battery pack will be about ~220lbs. The motor itself is only 35 lbs. About 20lbs for the bracket and gear reducer, controller is about 5lbs, plus wires, bus bar, new inverter and misc other stuff. My ballpark is 400lbs of weight will be removed.

5) HAH! I see you've fallen prey to some common myths. I suggest you do some research on the pollution output of a marine diesel per unit of fuel consumed, then compare that to average pollution output per kWh of electricity produced. It's not even close, as marine diesels are one of the worst polluting engines one can own. You also make the assumption that I'm going to be using nuclear based electricity to charge my boat. BG&E allows me to run on just renewables, making my pollution output effectively zero.
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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1) BG&E allows me to run on just renewables, making my pollution output effectively zero.
As consumers in the era of deregulated power production, all of us (well those of us in the northeast anyway) have the option of choosing the generator of our power. If you will be recharging the batteries from shore power hooked up to a source you control (e.g., a dock at your house), then so long as you are willing to pay the premium that most vendors charge for renewable energy, you can choose your electric power vendors and specify the source of the power: wind, solar, hydro, etc. However, if you will be recharging at a marina, then you will have no choice in the generators of the electricity purchased by the marina.

This sounds like a great project; all of us at one time or another have been the victim of a balky internal combustion engine. I am grateful there are beta testers such as you willing to test out the emerging technology.
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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As consumers in the era of deregulated power production, all of us (well those of us in the northeast anyway) have the option of choosing the generator of our power. If you will be recharging the batteries from shore power hooked up to a source you control (e.g., a dock at your house), then so long as you are willing to pay the premium that most vendors charge for renewable energy, you can choose your electric power vendors and specify the source of the power: wind, solar, hydro, etc. However, if you will be recharging at a marina, then you will have no choice in the generators of the electricity purchased by the marina.

This sounds like a great project; all of us at one time or another have been the victim of a balky internal combustion engine. I am grateful there are beta testers such as you willing to test out the emerging technology.
I'm not paying the Marina for power - I get that separately. Each slip has a separate hookup for BG&E, and they allow me whatever power mix I want.

Funny that you mention emerging technology - there's really nothing I'm installing in my boat that is new. Electric motors have been around even longer than internal combustion, and batteries have been around even longer than that. All I'm doing is adapting existing tech to fit my needs.

I admit I don't have a lot of experience with boat engineering, but I think that works in my favor - I'm not locked into a lifetime of "that's just how it's done". Since I don't know "how it's done" it allows me to experiment and come up with my own solutions. One of the things I found interesting in my research is that a lot of electric boat owners came into their first boats with the express intent of going electric, so they've never even had to deal with diesels before.

Besides, I get to play mad scientist a bit, and that's always been fun for me. Now if only I can avoid massive cost overruns...
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post #35 of 271 Old 01-03-2019
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

Why did you give up on a direct drive solution? Were you unable to find a motor to spin slowly enough?

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post #36 of 271 Old 01-03-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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Why did you give up on a direct drive solution? Were you unable to find a motor to spin slowly enough?

thansk,
Hugh
I discovered that I had two options if I wanted a direct drive. 1) Get an EV motor rated for far more power than I need and run it slow, or b) get a slow-turning motor. Either option would have added thousands of dollars and at least several hundred pounds to the weight of the boat, for no real gain in motive power.

The motor I'm going with, the Motenergy 1115, weighs 35 lbs. I could run it as a direct drive, but since it's only going to turn at about 1000rpm, it won't turn fast enough to cool itself and I could easily burn it out. So I'll put a gear reducer on it so it runs about 4000 at hull speed, keeping itself cool while giving me what I need. I could go with a water cooled model, but that adds more complexity that I would like for this project. Once the system's finished I can always retrofit if I find that cooling is an issue. The motor comes with a built in temperature sensor so I can monitor it via the motor controller.
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post #37 of 271 Old 01-03-2019
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

The option the utilities give you to 'select" a generating source is a bit of a sham. They have a given amount of renewable generating capacity. It goes into the grid and gets used by everyone that's connected. Those electrons don't go to you because you signed up for that program. Any charge for the program is just a way to fund the renewable energy program.

And boatsurgeon's comment about the impact of the production, shipping, replacement and and (hopefully) recycling of the batteries is valid.

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post #38 of 271 Old 01-03-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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The option the utilities give you to 'select" a generating source is a bit of a sham. They have a given amount of renewable generating capacity. It goes into the grid and gets used by everyone that's connected. Those electrons don't go to you because you signed up for that program. Any charge for the program is just a way to fund the renewable energy program.

And boatsurgeon's comment about the impact of the production, shipping, replacement and and (hopefully) recycling of the batteries is valid.
Batteries are, at least for the moment, the most expensive part of the car, both pollution wise and cost wise, though both of those are dropping as the technology improves. Just like catalytic technology, it will continue to be refined for decades to come.

For me, I'm replacing a pre-2000 marine diesel with no emissions equipment, which means a full 22lbs of carbon is released per gallon of fuel burned. I don't know the actual thermal efficiency of the motor, but at 40% efficiency, that's about 5 lbs of carbon per kWh of useful energy produced.

Compare that with an electric motor, powered by the worst possible electric generator - a coal fired plant. In MD, this means about 2.1 lbs per kWh produced. So even in the worse case, I've cut my emissions in half. Since the average for MD is .7 lbs per kWh, I've cut it by 80%, even if I wasn't buying just renewable energy.

I doubt I'll ever find out the carbon cost of producing the Yanmar based powertrain vs the one I'm installing. One thing is certain - the ongoing carbon cost of using the system is far less than the one I replaced. And the fuel is *way* cheaper.
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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The option the utilities give you to 'select" a generating source is a bit of a sham. They have a given amount of renewable generating capacity. It goes into the grid and gets used by everyone that's connected. Those electrons don't go to you because you signed up for that program. Any charge for the program is just a way to fund the renewable energy program.

And boatsurgeon's comment about the impact of the production, shipping, replacement and and (hopefully) recycling of the batteries is valid.
While I agree that all of the electrons generated go into the grid, I don't think the selection of renewable energy is a sham. When you select an energy source, what actually happens is that you are buying energy from a middleman, a retail provider. He has already gone out and purchased the output from various generation sources, and that middleman sells you the power at retail. The utility just delivers the power to you; they aren't generally allowed to own generation sources anymore.

So when you purchase renewable energy, you are actually repurchasing power through a middleman. The more renewable energy that is demanded, the more it will create a market for that product, which will then displace more conventionally-generated power on the grid. If your goal is to ultimately displace fossil fuels with renewables, we have a looooong way to go. However, the market for renewables keeps going up, and the share of renewables on the grid is increasing. In some areas where hydro and nuclear power are available, the market share is I believe over 40%. I know, nukes aren't renewable - but they are "non-fossil". Ironic, no?
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post #40 of 271 Old 01-03-2019
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

I commend you on the work you are doing to get electrified. I hope I can find an electric outboard when my gas engine bites the dust.
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