Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-05-2013, 05:16 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
deckofficer's Avatar
 
City: Northern California
Country: US
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 409
Solar boating

OK folks, this is the 21st century, with current technology don't you think it is time to add solar boating to the mix? We have had fuel burning power and steam vessels for the last 150 years, wind driven sailboats for a couple thousand years, now it is time to move to the next form of power, the sun.

With the recent price drops of lithium batteries, the time has come for vessels capable of world wide cruising, harvesting and storing the sun's energy for propulsion and domestic needs. There are a number of early entries in this field....
Boat - SolarWave

transatlantic21: The world's first crossing of the Atlantic on a solar boat

And a TF member's foray
Island Pilot DSe Home Page

What are your thoughts of solar boating?
__________________
Advertisement

__________________
Bob
USCG Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean (CMA)
deckofficer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 05:24 PM   #2
Guru
 
Moonstruck's Avatar
 
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,848
21st century-----just glad to be here. With my ass first hitting the sunlight in the first half of the last century, I don't have time to wait for solar to develop or get where I'm going. It will be good ole fossil fuels for me.
__________________

__________________
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
http://moonstruckblog.wordpress.com/
Moonstruck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 05:28 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
deckofficer's Avatar
 
City: Northern California
Country: US
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 409
Moonstruck,

Fair enough. I'm just a 60 year old young whipper snapper that hopes to return to full time cruising again like I did in my late 30's, but hopefully without the sails.
__________________
Bob
USCG Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean (CMA)
deckofficer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:09 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
rjtrane's Avatar
 
City: Palmetto Bay
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Sunshine
Vessel Model: Island Pilot DSe 12m Hybrid
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 268
With a solar plane having just flown from California to Arizona, my feeling is the technology is mature and affordable enough for a solar boat - a much easier feat. Like Moonstruck, I was born in the 40s and own a Sabre - Back Cove 26. Also a classic Donzi clone (read,"splash") 18 footer along with my solar boat. And there is no way to duplicate the style and performance of those fuel-driven boats with solar.

By the same token. a 10 speed bike doesn't do what a Triumph can. Nor a Leaf what deckifficer's hot rod does. (I understand a sleeper - actually my original Mini Cooper was one in its own right.)


What I don't understand is the dissing that seems to be such a standard reposte on this forum?


I'm not referring to you, MS, more those on another thread. By chiding your two boats, MS, you pretty much define your performance preferences. And I personally take no owner to task for his choices in boats. Right now, my Maas rowing shell most likely gets the most use of my boatyard full of craft. The slowest and most energy efficient but clog of only in a calm.


Shall we keep the ideas flourishing?
__________________
Reuben Trane
"Sunshine" - Island Pilot DSe 12m
rjtrane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:12 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
rjtrane's Avatar
 
City: Palmetto Bay
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Sunshine
Vessel Model: Island Pilot DSe 12m Hybrid
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 268
iPhone typo : replace "chiding" with "choosing". Sorry.
__________________
Reuben Trane
"Sunshine" - Island Pilot DSe 12m
rjtrane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:20 PM   #6
Guru
 
Codger2's Avatar
 
City: San Diego
Country: US
Vessel Name: "Sandpiper"
Vessel Model: 2006 42' Ocean Alexander Sedan
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 5,420
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonstruck View Post
21st century-----just glad to be here. With my ass first hitting the sunlight in the first half of the last century, I don't have time to wait for solar to develop or get where I'm going. It will be good ole fossil fuels for me.
Ditto!
__________________
Codger2

My passion for improving my boat(s) exceeds my desire to constantly cruise them.
Codger2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:34 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
deckofficer's Avatar
 
City: Northern California
Country: US
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 409
Reuben,

Since I'm the OP on this thread, and I've mentioned elsewhere on the forum that as an OP do not care about thread drift, you must give me the particulars on the original Mini sleeper you built, my imagination of what you might have done is running wild due to some of the things I've known you have done in the boating industry.

Slow is just right for me now in boating. I spent years crossing oceans at 19 kt burning over 100 tons per day of fuel, now for myself, 4~6 kt is just perfect if the energy for it was harvested onboard from the sun. As with you, my electric kayak, the humble means of marine conveyance, is getting usage. For some really long trips I might outfit with solar.
__________________
Bob
USCG Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean (CMA)
deckofficer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 07:09 PM   #8
TF Site Team
 
FlyWright's Avatar
 
City: California Delta and SF Bay
Country: Sacramento, CA, USA (boat in Vallejo)
Vessel Name: FlyWright
Vessel Model: Marshall Californian 34 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 10,170
Bob and Rueben (and others interested in solar propulsion),

First I'd like to say that the narrow mindedness sometimes displayed here by a very vocal few does not represent the opinions of the majority. Unfortunately their constant drum banging and opinionated bullying can overshaddow the inputs and interests of others and redirect the conversation. (They kind of remind me of the kids in the back of the high school class who just didn't get it because he was too busy shooting spit balls at others trying to learn!)

As a 55 year old boating enthusiast, I appear to be among the youngest on the block. Although I will probably never own a solar or hybrid propelled cruiser, I have long contemplated the same (especially diesel over electric like a locomotive). As a former aviation professional and trained engineer, I have a keen interest in emerging technologies in transportation. I welcome your posts and appreciate the conversations from the back of the room...listening. But I also tend to get lost sometimes with the ad nauseum insults and jabs, and have learned to scan over those major offenders and now hardly even notice their opinions.

I think Trawler Forum can could benefit from new category of Trawler Builders Forums to include Solar and Hybrid Propulsion. Then hopefully, the enthusiasts and others interested in the conversation can enjoy a purpose-slated forum without dissenter distractions.
__________________
Al

Custom Google Trawler Forum Search
FlyWright is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 07:29 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
deckofficer's Avatar
 
City: Northern California
Country: US
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 409
Al,

Thank you for that post. It is why I started this thread. I don't think TF needs a sub category just for alternate propulsion as I would guess something less than 10% of forum members would have any interest in it now. But when visionaries like Reuben start producing boats that are seen in the boating community and media, interest will grow. I personally know it is very doable now, and look forward to a blue water cruiser that is spartan in its outfitting so it is affordable, very light displacement, efficient hulls supporting enough solar for 150 nm daily runs with lithium batteries. Taking the Aspen C90 with a modest 1500 watts of panels would give 65 nm daily runs.
__________________
Bob
USCG Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean (CMA)
deckofficer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 09:54 PM   #10
Guru
 
AusCan's Avatar
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Vessel Name: Kokanee
Vessel Model: Cuddles 30 Pilot House Motor Sailer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,091
I cetainly am following the progress of solar development. Even though I've worked in the fossil fuel game for most of my career, it's becoming clearly evident that we are coming to a dead end on that road.

The development of solar systems for marine transport is progressing every year. Still a long way to go - but that is precisely why it it so exciting.

Here's one new Australian company that is using dual purpose solar panels. Have a look.



The company CEO is former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
AusCan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 10:36 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
HenryD's Avatar
 
City: Heading south for Ft. Myers
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Seven Tenths
Vessel Model: Mirage / Great Harbour 47
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 353
Bob,
As trucks and automobiles have made the transition but are not fully adopted, I think we will see Solar Boats evolve and become mainstream in the future. The fossil fuel "systems" have alot of years of engineering and attempts.
Before sun powered boats are common place, I think there will be lots of "hybrid" boats or retrofits. I have been looking to add solar panels to my boat to eliminate having to run the genset as frequently. This goes against some proven advice of running fossil fuel engines often to keep them in peak performance. I have been researching solar panels and trying to figure out how to get the most from them, understanding the shadows, wiring, controlers, etc. The pilot house roof is flat and a perfect location for panels - except for a railing around it, which will put shadows across the panels.
HenryD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 11:44 PM   #12
Guru
 
healhustler's Avatar
 
City: Longboat Key, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bucky
Vessel Model: Krogen Manatee 36 North Sea
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,178
My Admiral and I will start full-time cruising in July, and likely cruise FL coastal the rest of the year, but in the spring 2014, we'll begin the loop. I'm preparing now. We'll probably end up with six, perhaps eight solar panels on our roof to cut down on gen-set usage. Once we've completed the loop, I can see us working with some 30ish de-masted sail cats like an Endeavour/Americat or Catfisher. I've been aboard both of these, and they are practical, roomy and reasonably efficient below 8 knots. If the price was right, I'd take the Aspen over all of them. For a practical R & D application, it would be hard to beat the Aspen for its single engine design. A dinghy kicker could be bracketed on the hull of any of these for get-home.
healhustler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 11:57 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
deckofficer's Avatar
 
City: Northern California
Country: US
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 409
HenryD, you are correct, you want to avoid shadows at all costs, but a way to minimize a shadow shutting down all output is the use of a MPPT controller and running your panels in series. Now that LiFePO4 cells have come down in price, you can size your solar for your needs and do away with the gen set all together. With the cycle life of these cells exceeding 3000 before losing only 20% of rated capacity, their cost per usable a-hr is lower than lead acid. They have huge charge acceptance, so if you go without a gen set and have a big alternator on your main engine, they can be charged at 3.0C instead of the 0.1C recommended for lead acid. A quiet way to go at an anchorage.
__________________
Bob
USCG Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean (CMA)
deckofficer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 03:28 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Boatgm's Avatar
 
City: Manila
Country: Guam / Manila
Vessel Name: Carabao
Vessel Model: Home built power tri
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 100
semi solar project
I am being lead into a semi solar project. I will not be able to run the prime mover with the sun but I hope to use solar for much of the domestic power requirements. The boat is used and came with a 10 kw DC generator. I am building a new hard top which can hold 300 ft2 of PV panels. Due to equipment and ballast modifications I need to add some weight so I plan to add a few tons of lead acids. In the past I have had pretty good success running small air conditioning units on cheap designated inverters, so well will have a few of these onboard. The ref/frez, hydraulic power pac , and most other systems are DC. The house AC in provider by a 3 kw inverter.
Boatgm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 10:09 AM   #15
Guru
 
MurrayM's Avatar
 
City: Kitimat, North Coast BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Badger
Vessel Model: 30' Sundowner Tug
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,321
Solar just doesn't add up here on BC's north coast...not enough sunny days and probably too high in latitude.

Hydrogen supplementation to diesel might work though...

We have enough rainfall and high altitude lakes cascading from alpine to tide water (very steep and non fish bearing, which should ease the application process) that might one day generate power to make the hydrogen.

Might just be feasible, especially if used by ocean going freighters.
__________________
"The most interesting path between two points is not a straight line" Murray Minchin
MurrayM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 11:07 AM   #16
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,360
I see in the latest Car and Driver that Toyota and Honda are sticking with NiCads for the long run as they have found Li ion batteries not cost effective. NiCads seem to be lasting much longer than guesstimates from a decade ago with replacement costs dropping to the cost of a transmission rebuild. The Prius taxi fleet has really opened eyes regarding NiCad stamina.

A subtler theme is they are sticking with NiCads while shunning class action lawsuits such as would be the case with the well known Li battery fires. A misplaced floor mat design cost Toyota dearly in sales and class action suits and is not wanting to be repeated.

In the automotive business it seems Li batteries thus far are a toy for the 1%er wannabees ( the real 1%ers drive a reliable Prius) with Fisker gone and Tesla barely hanging on. What will drive Li batteries to common use in the auto fleets remains an unknown, maybe BMW will lead the way as their sticker costs can cover it.

Lest the issue be forgotten, I spend the majority of my cruising time too far North for solar power to be a viable theme. The time I've spent on the water in the Northeast US and Northern Europe (Norwegian Coast, Baltic and Sea of Bothnia) says the same.

Interestingly, with NZ building some very good boats, solar drive power has taken a back seat to increasingly efficient cat and mono hulls and smaller efficient diesels.

In the PNW, Sam Devlin and Tad Roberts have pretty well nailed attractive hull design and engine combinations for efficient and seaworthy vessels. Not to forget efficient designs from Northern Marine for offshore and American and Nordic Tugs for coastal cruising.

Sorry if this seems like thread creep, but based upon the above posts it is a wide open subject.
sunchaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 11:11 AM   #17
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,360
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Then hopefully, the enthusiasts and others interested in the conversation can enjoy a purpose-slated forum without dissenter distractions.
Not a chance, some reality based discussion will likely occur.
sunchaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 11:30 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
deckofficer's Avatar
 
City: Northern California
Country: US
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 409
This was sent to me as a PM and Robert gave me permission to post it and the response here.....

"Originally Posted by roguewave
Just wanted to ask your brief opinion on a boat. I commend you on the innovative approach to your car build, I am a car guy myself, I'd love to drive yours
My wife and I own a waterfront home on one of the best inland lakes in Texas (lake LBJ). We have about 100 ft of waterfront and I was pondering starting a little business and hiring a local skipper to operate it as a small tour business on our lake. No one is presently doing it and with Austin being an hour away the green aspect has followers. Here is the boat I was thinking about but I know nothing about electric power vessels. Solar panel on the roof would be great with all the dang sun we get.
Thoughts?
Thank you,
Robert
http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2002/Duffy-Electric-Boat-Co.-30'-Herreshoff-Hybrid-2521046/Annapolis/MD/United-States#.UYb-Xmt5mSN"


Robert,

The Duffy is a nice little high end launch that could appeal to the folks of Austin. Very easy to operate so a paid crew member probably wouldn't be needed. A couple of items to remember, rough rule of thumb, to double your speed requires 8 times the energy and if the boat is used a lot, when the lead acid batteries are used up after 500 cycles you might want to consider LiFePO4 lithium cells. I use these and at the recent price drops from Balqon - Advanced Transportation Solution you will find in the long run they are much cheaper than lead acid due to 3000 cycles. I believe you could run the Duffy all day on batteries and just charge at your dock at night, keeping from having to put solar panels on it.

Boatgm

Your semi conversion less propulsion sounds good. The advantage of a DC gen set for charging batteries is that they are lighter than an AC gen set and are not rpm dependent for output frequency such as 50 or 60 Hertz. Lead acid in your case are OK because they would not be cycled deep or as much vs a propulsion bank. When you have a nice big inverter such as you have, a heavy AC gen set is redundant.
__________________
Bob
USCG Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean (CMA)
deckofficer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 11:32 AM   #19
Guru
 
Moonstruck's Avatar
 
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,848
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Bob and Rueben (and others interested in solar propulsion),

Then hopefully, the enthusiasts and others interested in the conversation can enjoy a purpose-slated forum without dissenter distractions.
Flywright, this was the original question in the first post.

"What are your thoughts of solar boating?"

That's pretty wide open.
__________________
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
http://moonstruckblog.wordpress.com/
Moonstruck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 11:51 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
deckofficer's Avatar
 
City: Northern California
Country: US
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 409
Sunchaser,

For the Toyota and Honda hybrids, they don't need to store 25 Kw-hr of energy for the hybrid system so the battery's energy density isn't that important. For the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus electric and the GM Spark and Volt, which are all electric drive, they use lithium. There are many forms of lithium, and some like LiFePO4 are safer than lead acid. I don't know why these large cells aren't used in the electric cars that are on the market today, maybe it is because they don't have has high of energy density as lithium ion cells, or their current production numbers are small when compared to the cylinder cells. My choice would to use a single series string to achieve the voltage and capacity requirements needed, not the series-parallel packs they are using now with the smaller cells.

Here are (4) 100 a-hr 3.2 volt LiFePO4 cells from Winston. Cell sizes range from 40 a-hr to 1000 a-hr. Reuben just installed (16) 1000 a-hr cells into his boat "Sunshine".


One of the 1000 a-hr cells.


And a family picture of what Winston has to offer.
__________________

__________________
Bob
USCG Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean (CMA)
deckofficer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:48 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012