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Old 05-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #41
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Lithium vs AGM

Read this comparation, to save a little money you have to invest massive money. AND you need to keep your boat many years to make this profit OR you only loose money.
The article was true on all counts when it was written. Back then I held off lithium purchases for my EVs due to cost. That $14K price for 720 a-hr of lithium has dropped to $2240 on the Balqon clearance sale, which is when I bought my (8) LiFePO4 cells. I'm not sure anyone will be a believer in LiFePO4 till they have first hand experience. If you put a 100 amp inverter load on a 100 a-hr LA battery, you will see voltage sag from the no load 12.85 volts down to 11.5 volts under load. Then due to the Peukert effect that LA will be exhausted in 20 minutes. Now do as I did and hook up a 100 amp load to a 100 a-hr LiFePO4 and the first thing you notice is 13.1 volt no load, 13 volt under the 100 amp load. After an hour of pulling 100 amps, there is still 20% remaining in the lithium battery, and voltage is just under 13 volts.
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:12 PM   #42
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I really appreciate everyone discussing solar use here. But I would like to remind you that the topic was related to determing what it would take financially today as an investment in actual DOLLARS to run some of the major pieces of equipment some of us use on board, and how much SPACE would be needed for the panels, etc.

I too believe Big Brother has enough going on already and doesnt need to add more BS to the plate. A good example of such BS is the banning of Type I waste treatment systems in areas where treated water from waste treatment plants doesnt even meet the levels of treatment provided by a system such as Raritan's Lectra San. Until its SHOWN that there needs to be regulation to control the use of things....STOP ASKING FOR CONTROL OF IT.

As for insurance companies??????? Sorry, you can hobnob with all the insurance people you like, but they are interested in one thing only. Their pockets. And if they can find a way to deny a claim, related or not, they will. I'm in the medical field and insurance companies are the same way here. They have zero real interest in the well being of a policy holder.

So if you guys dont mind, can we stick to the topic? THANKS deckofficer, Ebaugh and all other participating. I do really appreciate it. Twistedtree, I appreciate the information you provided...5 hrs a day sunlight eh? Interesting. Interesting because it will be THE most intense part of the day usually...the part where you'll want to use A/C or have the greatest draw on it. Though I'm not sure how to factor that into the equation, it will have an impact on energy savings.

So are those watching in agreement that a 2kw system CAN be built and installed with a battery bank that CAN support the major systems used for a dollar figure in the amount of $6000 or so?

Because if so, I (and others too perhaps) can sit and examine MY electric or fuel bill and try to determine how much of it is generated during that 5 hrs peak time here in Delaware..........to see how long it might take to recoup my investment. In the "what if" world

And yes...when I talked about 8000-12,500 BTU in a/c I was thinking about keeping the boat zoned.....A/C in the area you are using. I also tend to keep my thermostat at 78-80 degrees on blistering days. Its plenty to feel cool once the humidity and a few degrees are pulled off
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:50 PM   #43
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aronhk_md, I'll stick to just the numbers and not let do gooders side track me. Just one year ago I would have said running the gen set for heavy loads would be the cheapest operation, but now that the prices have dropped on lithium cells combined with $1 per watt solar panels (thanks to China's dumping), a self sufficient solar system is now cost effective. The heart of the system is a robust battery bank, and if you want to keep it simple and stay with 12 volts instead of 48 volts, then lithium is the only thing that can handle those high current draws. I've always used 5 hours as an average year long daily exposure of sun upon the panels that covers most areas, of course the PNW is cloudy most all the time. I'm guessing that you have 200 sq ft of canopies that if covered in solar panels would be close to 3000 watts of solar, so 15 Kw-hr per day of energy. I'm not a fan of series/parallel of cells to reach rated capacity, but in your case if you want to stay with 12 volts, then (8) of the 700 a-hr cells at $560 each would give a 1400 a-hr 12 volt bank, or 18.2 Kw-hr. This size bank would run A/C at 50% duty cycle for 24 hours. Also a bank this size can be filled from an 80% DOD in one 5 hour sun day with the amount of panels you could fit. Here is a 3100 watt inverter, surge to 6000 watts. Magnum ME3112 3000-watt 12VDC/120VAC off-grid modified sinewave Inverter

It can charge your lithium bank at 160 amps from shore power or your gen set.

Even though I use a modified sine wave inverter, I'd rather have a pure sine wave inverter. This unit is full sine wave with 2800 watts output. http://www.wholesalesolar.com/produc...m_ms_2812.html

The inverter companies haven't come up to speed with lithium batteries, so it looks like outputs are limited to 2800 watts if your staying with 12 volts. A lot of inverters can be stacked so you could run two of the above for 5600 watts, surge 11,000 watts, and charging would be 300 amps which is child's play for a lithium battery.



So, $3000 for 3000 watts of solar panels, $4480 for a 1400 a-hr 12 volt LiFePO4 battery bank and $1500 for the 3100 watt inverter.
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:57 PM   #44
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I too believe Big Brother has enough going on already and doesnt need to add more BS to the plate. A good example of such BS is the banning of Type I waste treatment systems in areas where treated water from waste treatment plants doesnt even meet the levels of treatment provided by a system such as Raritan's Lectra San. Until its SHOWN that there needs to be regulation to control the use of things....STOP ASKING FOR CONTROL OF IT.

So if you guys dont mind, can we stick to the topic?
Which one...regulation of sewage systems, medical insurance, or solar???

No one has advocated regulation of solar or new battery technology...other than component certification to a safety standard of some sort (not necessarily government). I have asked for better guidelines that define what constitutes a safe system, and more awareness of what is acceptable....so that regulation does not become necessary. There's a big difference.

I've actually been responding to the last paragraph of your first post, which I believe is a very real problem. Incorrect choices by the uninformed can have significant consequences.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:40 PM   #45
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There is no doubt that enough panels and enough batteries can do 12000 BTUs of A/C. I'm not convinced it can be done for less than a genset though. Assuming you have a big enough boat and want a generator anyway for other peak demands like cooking, or running multiple A/C units or recharging batteries. Then the incremental cost of the AC is mostly fuel. My 9K genset probably burns 1/4 to 1/3 of a gallon an hour at low loads servicing the refrigeration and aft cabin AC unit. You have to spend lots of nights annually to see the payback when the genset, even 24x7 costs $24 a day in fuel, maybe $40 day with extra maintenance.

Normally AC is a summertime problem at most. It's not 365 days a year, even if you live aboard full time.

One might argue noise of the genset is an issue, but that is manageable today. You can't hear mine unless you are within a boat length or two behind the boat and not al all to the side or forward. Inside, if the AC is running, you can't hear the generator.

Two exceptions might be a profile where you only want one night at anchor between marinas, or are running big alternators every day running somewhere. But this does not need solar. Or if you wanted to live at anchor all summer in some place where AC was mandatory. But those are unusual situations. In the Eastern and Western Carib, we've learned to live with good ventilation.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:13 PM   #46
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Each hour of run time time is at least $2 when you factor in fuel, oil changes, and TBO (time between overhaul) costs. I used to design stand alone power for remote home sites, and 365 day a year generator run time runs close to $20K per year. Fast payback when the outlay is $10K.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:20 AM   #47
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deckofficer - thanks, ok...so closer to $10,000, but a very capable system. Yes, I have more than 200 sq ft of canopy, I appreciate it laid out. It gives me some insight and things to investigate.

skidgear - any of the above. Big Brother has his fingers in too many places everywhere. Its self perpetuating. More regulation, more taxes to support oversight. Its sickening.

So no one has advocated regulation. At this point. But insurance companies can do what is in their best interests, and always will. Including lobby for regulation when it serves their best interests.

Your statement about asking for guidelines so regulation is not necessary leaves me unconvinced. Regulation of everything under the sun (no pun intended) is not necessary. You are assuming that regulation may be required. My research on this subject is just beginning, but already I am less convinced than before that any type of regulation will be needed, and skeptical of the need for even guidelines in the sense that you mean them.

Perhaps everyone who jacks up a car and slips underneath should have to register for a course on how to properly place jackstands under the vehicle, and what safety steps to go through from evaluating the site of the planned job to the buddy system in case something happens. Maybe it should be a card people carry in their wallet and take a refresher every 3 yrs?

Your response to my last paragraph is actually quite premature. Somehow I think you find yourself needing to be the savior of the uninformed? Thanks, but quite unnecessary. I will conduct many hours of research before committing to a plan of action. While my electrical knowledge is limited at this point, I have more experience with research and learning than most people have with over 10 yrs of postgraduate education. So I feel secure I will make informed decisions.

Or perhaps you feel the need to rescue the other uninformed people out there who may be on a similar path to mine but less likely to research and make informed decisions? I wish you luck with that. People make life changing decisions every day, many of them uninformed.

We cant regulate it all. We shouldn't regulate it all. We don't even need to spend the money for committees to produce "guidelines". Just my opinion.

Ebaugh - $40 a day equals $1200 a month. Lets just say we use June, July, August, and Sept as our heavy months for A/C use and we obtain a figure of $4800.....but we live in an area where 1/3 of the summer is cloudy and unproductive for solar generation (just to use round figures). So realistically $3000 is spent JUST over those 4 months on fuel and maintenance for a generator (maybe we should factor IN that generator's initial cost, since my boat doesn't have one and I would be purchasing?.....nah....lets leave it out for now, because I'll probably want one anyway. lol).

So even NOT counting the rest of the year where solar can be productive and energy saving, in just OVER 3 years you have your solar paid for if we use $10,000 as our cost for the system. After that we are saving $3000 a year (maybe more)

Granted, I am assuming HEAVY use of that genset in the calculation, but lets say we halve that generator useage and it takes us 6 yrs to pay off the solar...........is that a bad investment? We WILL be replacing batteries at some point, but we'll work their cost into the "free" energy of the next decade hopefully.

Just exercising the "what if?" muscles
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:43 AM   #48
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aronhk_md, that is good your going to figure battery replacement costs for the next decade. As I said earlier, one year ago at the prices then, wasn't viable for me and I ran the cost out 10 years for battery replacement at the current cost. Since none of the early adopters have had these cells for 10 years or have cycled them 2000 times, the claim of life and cycles are only proved in the lab where they fully cycle many times per day. I have a hunch that as conservative as the a-hr rating is determined, these cells will probably cycle 4000 times and last 20 years. One thing I'm certain of is how robust these cells are under heavy current draws. The spec sheet says a 3C rate is acceptable and pulse to 30C. What this means is if you assemble a 1400 a-hr bank, it will have no problems producing 4200 amps. Of course you would never pull anywhere near that, and could never charge at that rate. Your service would never see anymore than 0.5C, so even banding won't be needed. Under 3C charge and discharge the cells can bulge a bit, so us crazy racing EV'ers will band our cells as this picture shows....
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:37 AM   #49
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Yawn.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:18 AM   #50
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Normally AC is a summertime problem at most. It's not 365 days a year, even if you live aboard full time.

The Florida I live in frequently has days all "winter" that get into the 80's.

In a canal, or in a marina wall to wall there is little air movement , so even a full sized sun cover with side curtains is little help, thank GOD for the power hose.

Anchored out air cond would probably be required all daylight.

One concept frequently overlooked is to water cool the boat exterior.

As the boat will be sealed up for air cond , creating a good water flow on the exterior will be no bother.A small pump, a lawn sprayer should keep the exterior at local water temperature , instead of what ever the paint rises to in sunshine , perhaps 30F higher.

In the Carib , even tho we had suncovers and a well insulated hull, buttoning up for 15 min in the late PM and douching with pails of sea water was fast and worthwhile for sleeping comfort.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:29 AM   #51
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skidgear - any of the above. Big Brother has his fingers in too many places everywhere. Its self perpetuating. More regulation, more taxes to support oversight. Its sickening.

So no one has advocated regulation. At this point. But insurance companies can do what is in their best interests, and always will. Including lobby for regulation when it serves their best interests.

Your statement about asking for guidelines so regulation is not necessary leaves me unconvinced. Regulation of everything under the sun (no pun intended) is not necessary. You are assuming that regulation may be required. My research on this subject is just beginning, but already I am less convinced than before that any type of regulation will be needed, and skeptical of the need for even guidelines in the sense that you mean them.

Perhaps everyone who jacks up a car and slips underneath should have to register for a course on how to properly place jackstands under the vehicle, and what safety steps to go through from evaluating the site of the planned job to the buddy system in case something happens. Maybe it should be a card people carry in their wallet and take a refresher every 3 yrs?

Your response to my last paragraph is actually quite premature. Somehow I think you find yourself needing to be the savior of the uninformed? Thanks, but quite unnecessary. I will conduct many hours of research before committing to a plan of action. While my electrical knowledge is limited at this point, I have more experience with research and learning than most people have with over 10 yrs of postgraduate education. So I feel secure I will make informed decisions.

Or perhaps you feel the need to rescue the other uninformed people out there who may be on a similar path to mine but less likely to research and make informed decisions? I wish you luck with that. People make life changing decisions every day, many of them uninformed.

We cant regulate it all. We shouldn't regulate it all. We don't even need to spend the money for committees to produce "guidelines". Just my opinion.
First of all I could not give two hoots if some yahoo burns his boat down in a secluded anchorage because he installed a system improperly or without proper safeguards for the technology. I don't give two hoots as long as I don't end up picking up a portion of the cost through my insurance premiums. I do, however, have an aversion to some yahoo burning his boat down in the next slip or anywhere in my marina. So that's where I'm coming from. Interesting that Mr. Deckofficer posts a photo of banded cells because they bulge under certain circumstances....same thing I've seen with a cell phone battery in normal use...it got so hot that it would burn your hand. So, tightly band a stack of these things together in your bilge, and don't take proper cooling precautions, and fail to install a proper battery monitoring system, and install the wrong charging system....and what else....and what happens... As I said previously, the conversation in these strings is heavy on performance, and disturbingly light on what it takes to keep them safe. Who's keeping an eye on the Chinese batteries that are being "dumped" in the U.S.? I've seen discussion on this board about prices coming down when used battery packs from electric cars and other applications start showing up on e-bay in greater quantities....buy used up packs and pick out the "good cells"...really? Does every yahoo understand how to do that safely? Are the cowboys going to carry around a sign on their boat that says they're stupid? Who defines what a minimum safe system should look like....the average of opinions from wild eyed enthusiasts on internet forums? It's not just about you. You bet I have a concern about the uninformed. Again, if they keep their kluge at anchor out in the middle of the harbor, please have at it. Oh by the way, the poster child for solar boating on this web site is not going to win any beauty contests...hope it's never parked next to my boat. Perhaps you will manage to make yours semi presentable.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:29 AM   #52
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For the exercise, I ran some numbers on the back of an envelope. I'm not quite as optimistic...I think you would need:

$4000 5 KW of solar panels (almost 500 sqft)
$500 Solar Mounting Hardware
$1000 Solar Controllers
$2000 Inverter Charger
$10000 25 kWh LFP Battery, BMS
????? Installation

This is sized to work in Annapolis in the summer or FL year round, 50% duty cycle on 12000-16000 BTU AC and a full size efficient household refrigerator. With a little breathing room, but the second cloudy day in a row will call for a generator.

The duty cycle on the AC is a significant variable. We have 2 16000 BTU units, one in the aft cabin and the other for the salon. During the day, the salon runs 100%. Even with blinds inside and partial shade covers outside. The aft cabin can get by at 50%. That cabin only has 6 small portlights and the deck above is under a hard top and mostly shaded. Both cycle at night. Getting this variable right is crucial to sizing the system.

Probably won't be a 12V system, probably 24V - 48V to work well with solar. Assumes no provision for propulsion engine charging, but it could be added. Charged off generator and solar.

If you can handle the weight and space requirements, you might be able to save some money using FLA forklift batteries, but I'd go with 35 kWh capacity.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:24 AM   #53
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it is the sun that creates the winds for propulsion, and the electricity for all our needs. Even hydro is really solar, think about it.
Uh Bob, the sun created fossil fuels too.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:44 AM   #54
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I spent much of this week speaking with the technical staff of several large insurance companies about the confusing and potentially dangerous situation that is developing for Lithium batteries amongst do-it-yourself boaters. Every one of them is extremely concerned with the "wild west" (their words) information scenario that is developing in the marine community... primarily via boating web sites. ABYC is in the loop and I suggested that they step up their efforts to clarify design, component certification, installation, monitoring, maintenance, and inspection criteria for a minimum acceptable system. I have also alerted the Coast Guard Engineering and Boating Safety offices to the potential safety scenario that is clearly developing. I specifically requested that both ABYC and the Coast Guard conduct a serious engineering assessment of the Greenline boats that are being imported. Awards in the categories of design innovation and eco-friendly are nice, but the important categories are performance, safety, and quality. Greenline might set the example for the industry...good or bad. Information in these threads is heavy on performance potential and light on safety. The word cavalier comes to mind.
What exactly are the safety hazards posed by these batteries, other than the hazards posed by any large energy storage device. Things like short circuits, current protection, fusing, etc are already covered by ABYC and good general wiring practices. Do the LFP batteries bring some new risk to the table? All batteries that I know of have some pretty ugly failure modes under one scenario or another. What about LFPs?

For example, what happens if you over-discharge them? Do they just stop working, or do they explode, leak dangerous chemicals, or perform some other anti-social act?

What about over-charging? What's the failure mode?

Do they leak, and if so, what comes out?

Can they be operated in any orientation?

What if they are short circuited?

What if they develop an internal short?

By the way, I'm not trying to be critical of them - just the opposite. I'm really intrigued and trying to learn more. LiOn have some nasty failure modes if you don't carefully monitor temp while charging and ensure they don't overheat. But that has been overcome quite nicely in the industry by proper charge control systems. Is there a analogous issue with LFP that needs to be carefully monitored for safety?

Or is this whole "safety" cry just fear of the dark?
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:11 AM   #55
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What exactly are the safety hazards posed by these batteries, other than the hazards posed by any large energy storage device. Things like short circuits, current protection, fusing, etc are already covered by ABYC and good general wiring practices. Do the LFP batteries bring some new risk to the table? All batteries that I know of have some pretty ugly failure modes under one scenario or another. What about LFPs?

For example, what happens if you over-discharge them? Do they just stop working, or do they explode, leak dangerous chemicals, or perform some other anti-social act?

What about over-charging? What's the failure mode?

Do they leak, and if so, what comes out?

Can they be operated in any orientation?

What if they are short circuited?

What if they develop an internal short?

By the way, I'm not trying to be critical of them - just the opposite. I'm really intrigued and trying to learn more. LiOn have some nasty failure modes if you don't carefully monitor temp while charging and ensure they don't overheat. But that has been overcome quite nicely in the industry by proper charge control systems. Is there a analogous issue with LFP that needs to be carefully monitored for safety?

Or is this whole "safety" cry just fear of the dark?
If you don't know the answers to those questions, and can't identify a reliable source to get those answers, it's reason enough to have a subject matter expert organization take a look. ABYC will be conducting an engineering (not enthusiast based) assessment of this in the context of the marine application....just like SAE puts together unbiased guidelines for their area of expertise. Why in the world anyone would object to that is puzzling. I'd recommend you send your questions to them. (I already have posed those same questions). They might conclude that existing criteria are adequate, and that would be terrific. I suspect they would set forth charge, monitor, installation, inspection guidelines that are unique to the technology. Doesn't mean associated devices don't exist to keep things safe...but it would say you should have all of the necessary elements (designed for the marine environment) on your boat.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:24 AM   #56
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"Uh Bob, the sun created fossil fuels too."

Perhaps coal,,,,, but the thinking today is methane naturally created by the planet with the heat and pressure of 50 miles of crust on top made the N gas and oil we drill for today.

http://www.viewzone.com/abioticoilx.html

controversial no doubt , but time will tell
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:31 AM   #57
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It is a very safe bet that LiXYZ starting batteries will be under the hoods of most vehicles in very short order. True it is only a savings of a few 10s of pounds per vehicle over lead acid but to meet CAFE standards it amounts to a lot of lbs/KGs of fuel NOT burned at the end of a year.

As car and plane makers turn to safer and better LiXYZ batteries, improvements in manufacturing techniques and cost reductions will occur. Now where to place the lead ballast to make up for the weight savings in my trawler is my main worry, not to mention avoiding the Li police that have been sicced on me.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:35 AM   #58
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ABYC will be looking carefully at all of this in the context of the marine application....just like SAE puts together unbiased guidelines for their area of expertise. Why in the world anyone would object to that is puzzling. I'd recommend you send your questions to them. I have.
I guess my assumption is that ABYC will codify what the early adopters learn through practice so that the mass market has a set of guidelines when they get around to the technology. I wouldn't look to ABYC to lead here, nor the Coast Guard. I love the Coast Guard for their direct assistance in protecting all at sea, but I'm not going to look to them for much more when they can't process a vessel documentation application is anything less than 4 months.

Clearly a bunch of people here have some decent experience with these batteries, and I'd like to hear about it with respect to safety.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:45 AM   #59
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I guess my assumption is that ABYC will codify what the early adopters learn through practice so that the mass market has a set of guidelines when they get around to the technology. I wouldn't look to ABYC to lead here, nor the Coast Guard. I love the Coast Guard for their direct assistance in protecting all at sea, but I'm not going to look to them for much more when they can't process a vessel documentation application is anything less than 4 months.

Clearly a bunch of people here have some decent experience with these batteries, and I'd like to hear about it with respect to safety.
If the FAA and aviation industry groups waited on a body of experience from do-it-yourself experimenters in the fleet to establish special criteria for new or emerging technology, there would be a lot smoking holes around the world. Most of the time they get it right because they approach new technology in a very conservative manner. Even so they got it wrong with the 787 (and for the umpteenth time I realize the chemistry is different). ABYC has actually been looking at this for quite some time (see the article in Boat U.S. magazine)...but I believe they're a bit behind the power curve.

I'm sure internet "experts" will be eager to mix it up some more.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:45 AM   #60
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"Uh Bob, the sun created fossil fuels too."

Perhaps coal,,,,, but the thinking today is methane naturally created by the planet with the heat and pressure of 50 miles of crust on top made the N gas and oil we drill for today.
True FF, but only to a degree. It is not controversial to the producers of gas related to coal bed methane, MI sands, oil and gas on top of the SE sulfur domes or the gas that is pumped along with Permian Basin oil. These are all too recent and shallow to have come from the pressure of re-formation of deep shale formations you bring up

CH4 is produced in a wide variety of ways by man such as in a refinery, coal gasification, gas wells on top of sealed land fills or more simply by God. Underground and strip coal miners find both gas and plant fossils as they mine coal, with tragic consequences in some cases.
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