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Old 01-24-2012, 10:43 PM   #1
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Propane Fueled Outboards

What do you think guys? Is there a market for small outboards fueled by propane? Let me hear your thoughts on the idea.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:18 AM   #2
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

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HopCar wrote:
What do you think guys? Is there a market for small outboards fueled by propane? Let me hear your thoughts on the idea.
*Not really...but most 4 stroke (not sure about 2 stroke with oil injection)carbed engines are easily modified to run on propane.

It would either be another fuel to lug around for many or it would be a PIA to get some more fuel quickly unless you always carried around enough propane to have for the dingy.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:57 AM   #3
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

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What do you think guys? Is there a market for small outboards fueled by propane? Let me hear your thoughts on the idea.

Free enterprise being what it is, I think that if there were a market for propane fueled outboards, someone would already be making them.

I wouldn't expect to go very far on the small disposable canisters and lugging a 20lb propane tank around on a dinghy doesn't seem very practical either.* Propane is every bit as dangerous as gasoline if not handled and stored properly.
*
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:47 AM   #4
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

I don't have a propane stove on my boat so I haven't paid attention, do many marinas sell propane? I agree with the draw backs both of you mentioned. To me there are a few advantages. Propane is a lot cleaner to handle than gasoline and produces cleaner exhaust. In my case the small outboard may sit unused for months at a time and I wouldn't have to worry about the carb getting gummed up. I converted my gasoline emergency generator to propane for that reason. It can sit a year or more and fires right up.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:19 AM   #5
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

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I don't have a propane stove on my boat so I haven't paid attention, do many marinas sell propane?

No, marinas do not normally sell propane.* Many home centers and even grocery stores now have cylinder exchange programs for the common 20 lb tanks folks use for home grills though.

You DO NOT want to store propane in enclosed areas on boats.* It's just like gasoline in that respect.

Unlike a gasoline powered outboard, you can't "top off the tank" with propane.* You use what's in the tank and then replace it or take it to be refilled.* I have a propane stove on my boat and a spare tank.* When the active tank is empty, it's a small inconvenience to replace it with the spare.* You wouldn't want to carry a spare 20 lb propane tank on your dinghy.
*
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

The big heavy steel 20 pound propane tanks would be a big pain, but what about a light weight fiberglass tank designed for marine use?
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:41 AM   #7
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

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HopCar wrote:*

*In my case the small outboard may sit unused for months at a time and I wouldn't have to worry about the carb getting gummed up. I converted my gasoline emergency generator to propane for that reason. It can sit a year or more and fires right up.
The best reason for the conversion by far.* *

If it became popular, or maybe what is need for it to become popular is a tank that would fit in the bottom of the dink that is flat and long.*Or one that would hang on the transom inside the boat like a few of the plastic*gas tanks do.* *Structurally it would be strong enough to stand on so on the bottom of the floor or under a seat would work.

An AL or the new fiberglass tanks in the right shape might be the answer.* It weighs less than gas by about 2 lbs a gallon and cost half as much at $2.19 a gal.
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:21 PM   #8
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

JD, the cost is an interesting point, but probably not very significant given how little gasoline you use for a dinghy motor. You also get fewer BTU's per gallon of propane so the cost saving isn't quite as good as it first looks. I like your tank idea.
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:26 PM   #9
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

I wonder how long you could run say a 2 hp dinghy motor on a pound of propane? Any body know how to calculate that?
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

Compared to gasoline the energy content of LPG is 74%
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:31 PM   #11
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

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I wonder how long you could run say a 2 hp dinghy motor on a pound of propane? Any body know how to calculate that?
Here's my take on it...

This web forum post, on a forum coincidentally also owned and operated by our new Master and Commander Andy R,* discusses a comparison of the Honda eu2000I propane conversion.* He states he gets 4 gas tanks worth of running time out of a 20 lb propane tank.* The eu2000i gas tank is 1.1 US gal.* The 1.1 US gal gas tank lasts 4 hrs under high load.*

My Honda 2hp motor runs 50 mins at WOT on*0.26 US gal.* (That's over 16 nmpg at 5 kts!!)**If *20 Lbs of propane is equivalent to 4.4 US gal gas, then one lb propane = 0.22 gal gas, or approximately 85% (0.22/0.26=0.85)*of a Honda BF2D 2hp gas tank.** So rather than a 50 minute run on a full gas tank, the BF2D would run about 42 minutes on a one lb propane bottle.*

Note: Propane contains*fewer*BTUs*than an equivalent volume of*gas, but this difference is already accomodated in the 'running time' comparison above.*

OK guys, take a look at my numbers and fire away.* Am I close?
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:12 PM   #12
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

I am still hoping we will get off foreign oil and start converting to natural gas/propane as we have a lot of it.* About 15+ years ago we had a plant pick up converted to propane as all our plant fork lifts are propane.** It would not take much to convert/change over.
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:28 PM   #13
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

All of the riverboats on the San Antonio Riverwalk run off propane. Don't know if they converted gas ones or bought them that way though.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:43 PM   #14
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

Flyright, I kind of like your numbers. My wild ass guess was about half an hour run time on a pound of propane.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:38 PM   #15
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

I think we could write up a grant proposal, sell it as a green project and get millions in startup money from both wall st. and the guvmint to develop a propane outboard motor carburetor. Then, after a year with a large salary, golden parachute, & global hobnobbing, I'll declare bankruptcy, default on my loans and grants, and retire to Curacao.

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Old 01-25-2012, 08:28 PM   #16
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

Don't most of us have propane stoves and diesel engines?* If your outboards ran on propane,*you wouldn't need to carry a third fuel (gasoline).* Smallish propane cylinders sound a lot more*handy than*spillable gasoline containers.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:06 PM   #17
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

Ken, you'll get a much bigger grant if you can work "Solar" into the grant proposal. The current administration is a sucker for anything with the word solar in it.
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:40 AM   #18
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Propane Fueled Outboards

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markpierce wrote:
Don't most of us have propane stoves and diesel engines?* If your outboards ran on propane,*you wouldn't need to carry a third fuel (gasoline).* Smallish propane cylinders sound a lot more*handy than*spillable gasoline containers.

I don't believe we (as consumers) can legally refill the small cylinders so we would still have to carry two different sizes. And we would have to carry at least one spare on the dinghy.* It's hard to tell how much propane is left in the tank but with gasoline you can just unscrew the top and look.

I can top off my dinghy motor from a one gallon gas jug, put the jug in the dinghy with me, and go for many hours.* If, by some chance I ran out of gasoline, I could even call TowBoatUS and have them bring me more (that's part of the membership deal).* I could buy gasoline at most marinas if I was getting low.

Powered by propane, once I run out, I'm out of luck.* Row or get towed back to the mother ship.

I don't think propane (or electric for that matter) are quite ready for prime time for boat propulsion.
*


-- Edited by rwidman on Thursday 26th of January 2012 06:41:28 AM
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:11 AM   #19
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

pound of propane? Propane has about 95,000BTU per gal. Gas about 120,000BTU

The biggest advantage to propane is its store ability.

Todays ethanol gas absorbs water , and in a month its garbage.

Gas is even worse with oil mixed in .

Propane could be ancient and will work 100%.

Additionally gas evaporates out of the carb and leaves varnish, the propane does not seem to.

For these reasons , as well as the non poisonous exhaust many RV's prefer propane noisemakers.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:02 AM   #20
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RE: Propane Fueled Outboards

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rwidman wrote:* It's hard to tell how much propane is left in the tank but with gasoline you can just unscrew the top and look.*
*Not so with the new fiberglass tanks.* They are transparent like a plastic water or holding tank is.**I think*they only come in one configuration @*5, 10 and 20 lbs**at present but if the demand for a*different size or shape would arise then I'm sure they would become available.

Just do a Google* "fiberglass propane tanks" search.

I like the idea.* Two tanks one on the boat and one in the dink. When one get's toward empty you just switch out before heading out on your adventure.* May be carry a few one pounders to get you buy if you need to.
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