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Old 04-09-2013, 12:59 PM   #101
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Reuben,

My devotion to electric powered vehicles and vessels comes from my work in the oil industry. They needed me (or more accurately my USCG Unlimited Tonnage license) for manning their off shore, dynamically positioned drill ships/rigs. For my paycheck I tolerated the politics of Big Oil, but quietly absorbed the technology employed aboard these vessels. My last ship/rig used (7) 4.6 MW gen sets and (6) 5,000 hp electric thrusters on a rig that displaced 32,000 tons. Since you are the only person on the forum with experience in maneuvering an electric powered vessel, this is something you already know, but for others, the precision that you have as the operator over a mode of propulsion that will give all available torque at 1 rpm and transition seamlessly from forward to astern has to be experienced to be believed. No more clunking in and out of gear or having weak kneed torque at those idle speed rpm.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:12 PM   #102
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Bob,

I hadn't seen your post when I wrote my wordy one above. For just the reason you mention, we are not selling Sunshine. She is a great test-bed for further development, but not to everyone's taste. That said, she works great within the parameters I mention above.
That is good to hear. When your ready to sell give me a call. I would love to report in the marine media "I enjoyed the Great Loop and didn't use any fuel".

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Thin film. I haven't seen any of that lately - didn't know it was still under development. If so, my guess is that is is uber inefficient in watts per sq. ft.?
You are correct, flexible thin film's efficiency is quite there yet.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:17 PM   #103
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One More Thing

Sorry for the continued posting - a closer read of the entire thread leads to more thoughts.

All the talk about batteries is moot. Good batteries do exist and are now affordable for electric propulsion - these are the ones with the LiFePo chemistry - a bit less power density than colbalt, but a lot safer.

Also, efficient motors AND hull forms exist - as mentioned before, slippery multihulls will do the job.

And, speed matters! The only way to get any sort of range (w/o replenishment) is to go SLOW! Our heavy, overweight, and ugly (as mentioned by posters above) Sunshine can average 3.5 knots using 30 amps per motor at 48 volts - this is 3kW total. With NO sun, we can run over 13 hours or 45 NM on a single charge. (If the weight were on target, the hulls would be a lot more slippery and range would be quite a bit better.) 5 knots uses 90 Amps/motor or 180 Amps/8.5 kW - running time is over 4 hours - over 20 NM. Not sure why everyone here insists that electric-powered boats only go a mile or two?

The REAL issue is re=charging the battery. Solar (PV) technology does not
progress at great speed - price has dropped - but efficiency has not reached much beyond 20% (with affordable cells). The reason is I'm guessing, is there is not much demand for more efficient PV arrarys - most homes have enough roof to power the household needs - PV farms can be erected in unused acreage. But, boats don't have the space. Thus, when we did the DSe 12m, we used every available spot for solar.

We ignored small wind (other than in concept drawings). Vertical axis turbines would have been nice, but too heavy and too inefficient. A 1.5 kW turbine typically has an impeller 9' in diameter and should be as high as possible - two would be better. The beauty of wind is that it can be charging day and night. However, if you have looked at any wind speed/output of turbines, you'll see they are all rated at about 25 fps (feet per second) - average wind on the east coast is half that. Output at half the wind speed is about 1/4 the rating - so with a 1.5 kW turbine, you can count on about 400 watts/hour.

It all comes down to expectations - if you're happy going slowly and have no schedule (most retired folks can qualify), and don't mind sitting at anchor for a few days to replenish your energy supply, a well-executed e-boat could work for you. Not for the masses. Not for the weak-knee'd. Not for those who don't appreciate form follows function. But for the person, perhaps an ex-sailor who no longer has crew or the will to work the sails but who appreciates motive-power from nature, an e-boat is a possibility.

Here's a photo of our 1,000 AH battery from Balqon.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:40 PM   #104
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Thanks for sharing the picture, it is the first I've seen of the 1000 a-hr cells in a marine application. My history is what your designs have catered to, I started sailing as a boy on the family's sailboat, as a young man bought an old ex-racer Cal 40 and refit for cruising. Cruised solo until I decided to make life at sea a profession and manged to get into CMA in my mid 40's. Now after thousands of sea miles, want to go back to full time cruising but on my schedule and choice of destinations instead of that of the shipping companies. I'm much more comfortable with electrons than sails, and have never been a fan of $15K suit of sails that need replacing every 5~7 years.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:41 PM   #105
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Thank you to both Bob and Reuben for adding some solid experience to this thread.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:03 PM   #106
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Tad - it is a pleasure to discover this forum and participate.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:58 PM   #107
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There was an article on Yahoo today that said the electric car was dead.

And I think as long as we keep finding more oil the name of the game of moving vehicles will be in doing it w less and less fuel. More efficient gas and diesel engines.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:24 PM   #108
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There was an article on Yahoo today that said the electric car was dead.

And I think as long as we keep finding more oil the name of the game of moving vehicles will be in doing it w less and less fuel. More efficient gas and diesel engines.
Without turning this political, we need to accept that continued consumption at present rates of fossil fuel will lead to serious climate change and loss of our coastal communities. The track that Reuben, Elon Musk and others are on is saving the planet for future generations. I've been privy to back room discussions of the oil industry and even they acknowledge the by-products of known oil reserves would deplete the ozone, but profit now is the agenda. After leaving this industry, I have concentrated my efforts on stored electrons for energy instead of hydrocarbons. As an end user, we can collect and store our energy needs for future use, thus controlling the cost to us. With fossil fuels we are dependent on refiners and whatever pricing the oil companies want. We get all the energy we need from the sun, just need to develop a means of storage that is as energy dense as fossil fuel.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:51 PM   #109
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Reuben,

I'm a bit concerned about how close your LiFePO4 terminals are to the other cells. Unlike LA, that in a dead short the voltage sags a lot, our cells don't sag under heavy load. Here is the results of a split second short of just one cell, which is 1/10 the capacity of your monster 1000 a-hr.The thread of the alligator clip just brushed the terminal bolt.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:01 PM   #110
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Bob - I have inserted rubber between the two banks, keeping the terminals separate (not shown in the photo) - also covered the terminals with sheet rubber so a dropped wrench doesn't get welded. Good advice, though!
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:14 PM   #111
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Have you had the chance to notice almost no voltage sag under heavy loads? These cells are impressive and rated very conservative. LA derives their a-hr rating under an easy 20 hour discharge (0.05 C). Our cell's rating is based on 1.0 C, and to 80% DOD instead of the 100% DOD for the rating of LA. The users on the Cruiser's Forum have discovered that for any given LA a-hr rating that filled their needs, they are able to go to 1/2 the capacity with their LiFePO4 cells.

It is nice having a minimum Peukert effect.
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Old 04-14-2013, 05:09 PM   #112
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Just passed this in Flagler, FL

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Old 04-14-2013, 09:00 PM   #113
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Any higher resolution photos? I am intrigued - we have been working on a similar idea with long narrow hull and amas (outriggers).
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:10 PM   #114
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Reuben,

Send me your email and I'll send you what I have. We talked years ago about your boat. I was one of the ones considering a contract on one.

Small world even out here on the water. No reflection on you, 5 minutes after I pulled away from my anchorage this morning a Canadian in one of your Island Pilots passed me then pulled literally ten feet in from of my bow.
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:34 AM   #115
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:17 AM   #116
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How well does that boat (solar-powered tri-hull) do at night? Seems goofy as well as extremely ugly to me.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:32 AM   #117
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markpierce: The key to solar powered cruising is energy storage. Today, that means Lithium Ion battery - a very BIG lithium ion battery. The goal is to capture energy whenever it is present (ie. the sun is shining) whether or not you have immediate need of it. Of course, a cruising boat will always be using energy - refrigeration - lighting - pumps - etc. And, with enough storage of energy, you can cruise all night, if you choose.

Regarding your "ugly" comment. I am a great believer in "Beauty is as beauty does." As fuel costs escalate, more and more people will be admiring the looks of a solar-roofed house or boat - big wind farms and small wind near your home or on your boat.

I always find it interesting how often people are quick to comment on other owners' boats - using loaded language - often insulting - using words one would never use face to face.

Since several solar-only powered boats have crossed the Atlantic (very well-publicized, btw), one has to wonder how the heck they kept going at night. Batteries!!!

DaddyO: Sorry about the rude behavior of an Island Pilot owner - I should include as standard equipment a dog shock collar that the drive has to wear to start the boat? LOL.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:30 AM   #118
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To me, this has true beauty, not to mention independence from fossil fuel prices.


Oil embargo? $25 a gallon diesel? Shortages? Who cares, your cruising lifestyle will not be effected.

Reuben, would you care to share some unpublished pictures of Sunshine?
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:48 AM   #119
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How well does that boat (solar-powered tri-hull) do at night? Seems goofy as well as extremely ugly to me.
I went to school in your town, CMA, you might of heard of it. I did my thesis on minimum wetted surface vessels, and what Reuben has assembled is true poetry in motion. Might take awhile to catch on, as the maritime marketplace is one conservative group, but what your seeing is the way of the future that will allow a cruising lifestyle not reliant on any outside energy source, you produce and store your own.

It is your attitude that is shared by many in the market place that have kept naval designers grinding out the same old stuff instead of being able to employ what they learned in school. Any mass produced boat has to be like the others if it is going to sell. Designers like Chris White, SMG, and others (Reuben included) are coming out with great designs that cater to the knowledgeable consumer, and producing in small numbers, boats that far exceed in capabilities all the big number production boats.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:46 AM   #120
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"Oil embargo? $25 a gallon diesel? Shortages? Who cares, your cruising lifestyle will not be effected. "

Lots more likely that the newest natural gas to diesel refinery being built will bring diesel under $2.00, plus tax .

Considering ALL the costs of yachting , the difference between $2.00 and $4.00 at 150- 200 hours a year is pretty minor.
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