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Old 08-16-2020, 05:09 PM   #1
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Hybrid invertor generator and battery bank

Thanks to Isaias and JCP&L I have had a chance to exercise my home generator for a few days. Listening to the engine pound away at 3600 RPM, at low power output and high noise output, for hours on end got me thinking about inverter generators that only run fast enough to meet the immediate power demand. They are so much quieter! That got me thinking about our Prius and how smoothly it switches between all gas engine, mixed engine & battery and all battery propulsion.
Why can’t we have a much more tightly integrated inverter generator and house battery system on a boat? Instead of using a generator or the house batteries what if we could use the generator and the house batteries at the same time. With the house batteries for surge capacity you could have a much smaller generator sized for average load not maximum conceivable and smaller house batteries since the generator would run more often. Most of the time the generator would be carrying the house load with surplus power charging the house batteries, occasionally the house batteries would help the generator over a surge in demand until the engine could speed up. When the house batteries were charged and the house power demand declined the generator would automatically shut off letting the house batteries supply all the power. When the house batteries discharged or the house demand increased the generator would automatically restart. This system would require a fraction of the processing power in your smart phone but would greatly reduce all the duplicate transformers, power transistors and rectifiers in the inverters and chargers many people seem to have on their boats. Best of all it seems this would be quieter, lighter, less bulky, more fuel efficient and QUIETER.
Are these systems already out there or is there a reason this could never work?
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Old 08-16-2020, 07:10 PM   #2
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There are hybrid inverters that work with the generator to supplement 120 VAC at times of peak usage (inverter power from the batteries), and then switch back to charging the bank when 120 VAC consumption is reduced.

There are generators that will automatically start and replenish a battery bank.

Having the ability to function like your Prius will probably require either a bigger battery bank or more high tech batteries to be able to handle the cycling and elevated charge and discharge rates.

If I were trying to accomplish this on a boat, I'd probably just go for a slow speed generator in an extreme sound enclosure running continuously when away from the dock.

I treasure quiet when anchoring out. For me, a large battery bank and inverter handles all the requirements till I absolutely need air conditioning. Underway, the 220 amp alternator on the main engine recharges the house batteries and allows the inverter to produce up to 3KW. Works for me.

Ted
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Old 08-16-2020, 08:28 PM   #3
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Both Magnum and Victron make hybrid-enabling inverters.
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