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Old 07-13-2022, 05:30 PM   #41
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Yeah Nick, every storage solution has its pros and cons. There are limited places for hydro storage. But gravity is everywhere, especially where there's no water or valleys to dam. Takes time and money to climb the scale up ladder.
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Old 07-13-2022, 05:57 PM   #42
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That's the insolation at Earth's orbit (e.g. what gets to something in space at the distance from the sun that the Earth is). The average insolation on the Earth's surface at MSL is about 700 W/sq m. Solar panel efficiencies are currently (see what I did there? :P) at about 22%, so 154 W/sq m. Daily production, from what I hear, is about 4x the wattage in Wh, so ~600 Wh/sq m.

It seems the way to deal with this is to go large. Silent Yachts has a line of power cats that are carpeted with solar panels, and in good sunlight can cruise at 5 kts all day. I think the larger boats can cruise at 5 kts for 24 hrs, including providing hotel power. They have a generator for when the battery runs out, but the idea is to not use it.

Electric is the future.
You're absolutely right about insolation at the surface (I was a biochemist, not an EE).

I would become interested in an 'electric' boat if it would be possible to sustain cruising speed on solar power alone. Assuming 700 W/sq m (which also varies according to latitude, more in the Caribbean, less in Maine), 20 sq m of PV panels (2 x 10, about what might fit on a 38-ish ft boat?), and 20% efficiency (to keep the math simple) = about 2,800 watts continuous power output.

That's less than 4 hp, which is why the Solar Sal/Devlin designs are minimalist and cruise at 5 knts, below hull speed (like other pure solar electrics at the moment).

I think you're right about size mattering. Step up to a 200 ft boat, assuming 350 sq m of PV panels, = 49 kW = a whopping 66 hp! Not enough to get out the water skis, but maybe not too different from what an efficient sailboat might use as an auxiliary engine.

Any pure solar powered vessel will still need substantial compromises in its design. Even assuming in the future a more than doubling of PV conversion efficiency to 50% would bring the 38 ft boat to 9.4 hp. That's not much to work with, and still requires staying below hull speed to minimize energy consumption.
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Old 07-14-2022, 02:51 AM   #43
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Except that's not really an option
Not with their current chemistry
If they go lifepo4 then yes.
All the Tesla 3s for Australia and New Zealand come from China and are LiFePO4
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Old 07-14-2022, 02:57 AM   #44
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Pretty hard to beat pumped water for storage. If you build it where there is some water catchment or rainfall it can be better than 100% efficient

https://www.mbie.govt.nz/building-an...icity%20market.
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Old 07-14-2022, 08:08 AM   #45
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Pretty hard to beat pumped water for storage. If you build it where there is some water catchment or rainfall it can be better than 100% efficient
Pumped hydro is fabulous, and time-tested and proven to work. Unfortunately it works best when natural geography provides a pair of appropriately situated lakes to do it - which then has unavoidable environmental consequences.

Where I grew up on the Hudson River in upstate New York, for many years there has been a battle to build what would have been the largest hydro pumped storage facility in the world:

https://hvmag.com/archive/scenic-hud...king-mountain/

If you have to build completely from scratch and create the retention pools totally 'artificially', the energy balance is less attractive.
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Old 07-14-2022, 11:17 AM   #46
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...about 2,800 watts continuous power output.
From what I understand (lacking any practical experience, but studying the hell out of the subject), the daily production in usable kWh is about 4x what your theoretical panel max rating is, so your 20 sq m would get you about 12 kWh/day (I think). With that, you could run at 6 kW (8 h.p.) for two hours, which ain't nothin', but it's not a lot. And that doesn't take into account house power.

That 200' boat you described with 350 sq m of solar panels should get you 210 kWh of usable energy per day. Let's say you're cruising at 30 kW of consumption (40 h.p.). That's seven hours. Much better.

So somewhere between those two extremes is a good spot. There are several solar panel advances that have been demonstrated in the lab but aren't to the commercialization stage yet. Ten years from now, panel efficiencies could double, even triple, with the technologies they've found. They're doing things like stacking various materials so each absorbs a different wavelength of light and converts it, rather than the single-wavelength converted with conventional panels.

One other thing to consider, though, is generator runtime. Maintenance on a generator is essentially every 100 hours. The maintenance is the same no matter the size of your generator (within reason). So if you have an 80 kWh battery bank and a 20 kW generator, you can fill that battery bank 25 times between oil changes (simple math; it wouldn't really work out that way). But with a 40 kW generator, you can fill the bank 50 times between oil changes. The two generators don't take up much difference in space on the boat, and you consume similar amounts of diesel per kWh produced between them, so why not reduce your oil changes?

Anyway, lots to think about. It's nice to have a place to discuss these things.

Cheers.

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Old 07-14-2022, 11:39 AM   #47
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From what I understand (lacking any practical experience, but studying the hell out of the subject), the daily production in usable kWh is about 4x what your theoretical panel max rating is, so your 20 sq m would get you about 12 kWh/day (I think). With that, you could run at 6 kW (8 h.p.) for two hours, which ain't nothin', but it's not a lot. And that doesn't take into account house power.

That 200' boat you described with 350 sq m of solar panels should get you 210 kWh of usable energy per day. Let's say you're cruising at 30 kW of consumption (40 h.p.). That's seven hours. Much better.

So somewhere between those two extremes is a good spot. There are several solar panel advances that have been demonstrated in the lab but aren't to the commercialization stage yet. Ten years from now, panel efficiencies could double, even triple, with the technologies they've found. They're doing things like stacking various materials so each absorbs a different wavelength of light and converts it, rather than the single-wavelength converted with conventional panels.

One other thing to consider, though, is generator runtime. Maintenance on a generator is essentially every 100 hours. The maintenance is the same no matter the size of your generator (within reason). So if you have an 80 kWh battery bank and a 20 kW generator, you can fill that battery bank 25 times between oil changes (simple math; it wouldn't really work out that way). But with a 40 kW generator, you can fill the bank 50 times between oil changes. The two generators don't take up much difference in space on the boat, and you consume similar amounts of diesel per kWh produced between them, so why not reduce your oil changes?

Anyway, lots to think about. It's nice to have a place to discuss these things.

Cheers.

JD
I wasn’t thinking of or guesstimating kWH, but simply sustained kW output. My take was not how much could be charged into batteries, but what might be hypothetically possible for sustained operation under solar alone, like the Solar Sal/Devlin designs are trying to do.

Your take seems about right for kWH, to charge batteries, though it would vary greatly depending on latitude and light conditions (sunny or cloudy). For sustained operation I think my rough swag is in the ballpark.

Either way, the amount of energy falling on a PV cell is fixed. Whether one chooses to use that energy to go faster for a shorter period of time, or slower for a longer period of time, the range covered will be about the same (those pesky laws of physics again, the amount of work possible for a fixed amount of energy is the same regardless of how it’s deployed).
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Old 07-14-2022, 01:54 PM   #48
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So .. for power on pleasure boats the only significant source is solar cells?

From what I read this morning there’s a bunch of very bad chemicals in solar cells that get dispersed when they process the solar cells for disposal.
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Old 07-14-2022, 02:49 PM   #49
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.

One other thing to consider, though, is generator runtime. Maintenance on a generator is essentially every 100 hours. The maintenance is the same no matter the size of your generator (within reason).
Yeah, not sure about that
As an example, Cummins B3.3 which would run a 50kva head is every 500 hours for an oil change
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Old 07-14-2022, 07:07 PM   #50
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Regardless, I would miss the gurgling of exhaust water and diesel vapor. ... Are the production/destruction of batteries and solar panels friendly to the environment?
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Old 07-15-2022, 09:13 AM   #51
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Regardless, I would miss the gurgling of exhaust water and diesel vapor. ... Are the production/destruction of batteries and solar panels friendly to the environment?
EVERYTHING has an environmental cost, especially regarding energy generation and storage. It's one of the complicated questions society must answer: how much and what kind of environmental impacts are we willing to accept in exchange for generating the power we need to live?

Of course some are more environmentally-friendly than others. For all the hope placed on 'batteries', lithium mining and processing is not 'green.' It's one of those ugly little not-so-secrets that many Tesla fans prefer to ignore:

https://wellcomecollection.org/artic...dnPhIAACIAGuF3

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/06/b...ning-race.html

https://www.instituteforenergyresear...ium-batteries/

But again, there's no way to extract and transfer energy without somehow impacting the environment. We need to make the choices how we do it.

I've been impressed with the progress of iron-air batteries. The basic physics has been known for a long time, but it's only recently that research and development has made enough progress to show promise for commercialization and larger-scale use (as usually happens with most inventions). Form Energy in Massachusetts seems to be making great strides:

https://www.wbur.org/news/2022/02/24...21de-136055766

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2021/07/...st-of-lithium/

https://www.utilitydive.com/news/for...ial-br/603877/

Iron-air batteries won't be able to solve every electricity storage need. No one thing will. But they may address several of the major problems of lithium batteries, such as cost, the significant environmental costs of mining and processing lithium, and the other unpleasant geopolitical reality of having to rely on a small number of autocratic countries for supplies of lithium and the Rare Earth elements needed to make them work (like cobalt).

Iron-air batteries in their current form seem too large to be usable for cars, and the storage time is limited (100 hours in the case of Form Energy). They seem best intended for stationary uses, to store overnight energy generated by a green means such as solar, to provide consistent power flow when the sun isn't shining or wind isn't blowing. They may find use in large ships, and perhaps with further refinement, for pleasure boats?
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Old 07-15-2022, 10:22 AM   #52
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I agree the 100 nm at 8-9 would work. Makes you wonder if that is going to be more achievable with modern sailboats first.
If they continue as a business, I think Candela's foil boats will be a good candidate for this. Foils overcome a large portion of the massive effort needed to make a boat move through the water.

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Old 07-15-2022, 10:55 AM   #53
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Another consideration is support infrastructure with respect to charging. I'll speak to my cruising grounds of Wa State, BC and Ak. This is not good solar territory. Generally OK solar production for the amount required to help top off battery banks but not to collect enough energy for propulsion. So that leaves charging dockside or by onboard generator.

I'll throw out onboard generation. If a boat has to generate enough power for propulsion over a good range then store that power in batteries and draw the power out for propulsion too much is lost. Ineffeciency. Interior space for both diesel fuel and batteries. Plus diesel motors and electric motors.

That leaves dockside charging. I'll say I want at least 500 nautical mile range with adequate reserve. How long will it take to recharge the propulsion bank at 30 AMPs, at 50 AMPs? How many of the smaller marinas in my cruising area that I will need for support will be able to re-wire their facilities for larger, beyond 50 AMP, service so that a boat can recharge overnight? How many of the smaller out of the way marinas are running on power generated by diesels?

I don't have answers, only questions.

I'm a proponent of electric power where appropriate but this geographic area is not ready nor is it likely to be to support electric propulsion for a very long time.




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Old 07-15-2022, 08:08 PM   #54
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From what I read this morning there’s a bunch of very bad chemicals in solar cells that get dispersed when they process the solar cells for disposal.
Can’t say much without knowing your source, but it sounds like one of those “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, doubt) campaigns. Of course, everything of a technological nature from the last century or so has disposal challenges. Solar panels are almost entirely made up of substrate (glass, plastic, whatever), and the cell structure itself is the thickness of construction paper. Depending on the makeup of the cell, various “chemistries” are used, with the most common one being boron- and gallium-doped silicon: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/e...does%20silicon.

Boron and gallium are potentially toxic to humans in large quantities (like upset stomach sort of toxic), but you’d need to ingest hundreds of panels’ worth of either to get that tummy ache. I imagine your average Diesel engine has some toxic components as well. Toxicity is the price we pay for living what we call a civilized life.

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Old 07-15-2022, 08:11 PM   #55
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Yeah, not sure about that
As an example, Cummins B3.3 which would run a 50kva head is every 500 hours for an oil change
I think you’re helping make my point. If you were traveling on 1 kWh/nm (ish), you could go 25,000 miles between oil changes.
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Old 07-15-2022, 09:08 PM   #56
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We personally aren't there yet, but still in planning for our parallel hybrid with solar assist. No brainer for us, but wouldn't be for everyone.
That notion has been on my mind for a long time. Powerful electric propulsion motors have been around for more than a century - it's always been battery capacity that limits range and performance. A moderate-sized internal-combustion genset can be placed wherever its weight and plumbing will be the least disruptive. When shore power and / or solar fail to keep the batteries fully charged, the genset can top things off while providing amps to the propulsion motor (or motors, in the case of a multihull).

Until long-lived batteries become small and cheap, as a transition technology, such a hybrid system is available pretty much off the shelf right now, for a re-power or a new-build.

Thanks to Larry for launching this Forum and thread.
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Old 07-15-2022, 10:24 PM   #57
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JD Ray wrote;
Essentially everything has drawbacks, including environmental drawbacks. But isn’t there significant differences between all or most all sources of power? Frequently tho only small differences will spell success or not in the marketplace? It’s all about products and markets.


Portage Bay wrote;
“ I'm a proponent of electric power where appropriate but this geographic area is not ready nor is it likely to be to support electric propulsion for a very long time.”

But as population grows goods and services become more numerous and marinas (or similar) could soon offer charging much more than actually needed. Change is always w us.
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Old 07-18-2022, 12:55 PM   #58
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production electric boats

Being in Central Florida, I know that Nautique has a ski boat that's 100% electric and they have now started a secondary company called Ingenity to build all electric boats.

https://ingenityelectric.com/

The downside is that they only run 2-4 hours on a charge....
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Old 07-18-2022, 01:18 PM   #59
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Being in Central Florida, I know that Nautique has a ski boat that's 100% electric and they have now started a secondary company called Ingenity to build all electric boats.

https://ingenityelectric.com/

The downside is that they only run 2-4 hours on a charge....
A couple hours on a ski boat that is running at high throttle is actually pretty good IMO.
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Old 07-18-2022, 01:36 PM   #60
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How about no batteries?

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Originally Posted by Nick14 View Post
EVERYTHING has an environmental cost, especially regarding energy generation and storage. It's one of the complicated questions society must answer: how much and what kind of environmental impacts are we willing to accept in exchange for generating the power we need to live?

Of course some are more environmentally-friendly than others. For all the hope placed on 'batteries', lithium mining and processing is not 'green.' It's one of those ugly little not-so-secrets that many Tesla fans prefer to ignore:

https://wellcomecollection.org/artic...dnPhIAACIAGuF3

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/06/b...ning-race.html

https://www.instituteforenergyresear...ium-batteries/

But again, there's no way to extract and transfer energy without somehow impacting the environment. We need to make the choices how we do it.

I've been impressed with the progress of iron-air batteries. The basic physics has been known for a long time, but it's only recently that research and development has made enough progress to show promise for commercialization and larger-scale use (as usually happens with most inventions). Form Energy in Massachusetts seems to be making great strides:

https://www.wbur.org/news/2022/02/24...21de-136055766

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2021/07/...st-of-lithium/

https://www.utilitydive.com/news/for...ial-br/603877/

Iron-air batteries won't be able to solve every electricity storage need. No one thing will. But they may address several of the major problems of lithium batteries, such as cost, the significant environmental costs of mining and processing lithium, and the other unpleasant geopolitical reality of having to rely on a small number of autocratic countries for supplies of lithium and the Rare Earth elements needed to make them work (like cobalt).

Iron-air batteries in their current form seem too large to be usable for cars, and the storage time is limited (100 hours in the case of Form Energy). They seem best intended for stationary uses, to store overnight energy generated by a green means such as solar, to provide consistent power flow when the sun isn't shining or wind isn't blowing. They may find use in large ships, and perhaps with further refinement, for pleasure boats?



Have you looked at supercapacitor storage? These are available now, price is comparable to LiFepo, no lithium, no thermal runaway, lasts many thousands of cycles longer. https://kilowattlabs.com/solar-storage/
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