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Diesel - electric drive - an article pondering the "why nots"

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Created by Seebreasy73 2 months ago, 3 Jan 2019
Seebreasy73
QLD, 315 posts
3 Jan 2019 6:40PM
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www.morganscloud.com/2013/04/23/electric-or-diesel-electric-drives-for-voyaging-boats/

there has been a few discussions on similar subjects and the article above has some great points, thought it was worth the share.

livinglife
QLD, 8 posts
12 Jan 2019 2:57PM
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I have a 9.1m sailboat and fitted an electric motor. Ii have a very limited budget and the electric motors works. I did it for less than Au$8k. The best decision. No fumes, no noise, clean bilge no pollution, no fuel blockages, no dirty fuel.. I do not understand why so many are against electric engines.
I am happy to answer any queries about my electric experience.

I can motor sail for months without needing to go to port to re-fuel. When I go to remote places I know I am leaving it better than I found it. Not leaving my dirty pollution and destroying the very thing I find so beautiful.

motor sailing becomes a completely different experience. having the electric motor tick over to help the sail. You can point into the wind better without worrying about fumes choking the cook. Knowing it is costing nothing without adding engine hours.

I have 1kW of solar fitted which produces more than enough to keep the batteries charged. Also have enough stored power to run a draw fridge, a small freezer, microwave and various small electric appliances.

Best of all when I leave port and look back to all the smog and pollution hovering over the cities, I am proud I have not contributed and not just complained about it.

UncleBob
NSW, 378 posts
12 Jan 2019 4:06PM
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livinglife said..
I have a 9.1m sailboat and fitted an electric motor. Ii have a very limited budget and the electric motors works. I did it for less than Au$8k. The best decision. No fumes, no noise, clean bilge no pollution, no fuel blockages, no dirty fuel.. I do not understand why so many are against electric engines.
I am happy to answer any queries about my electric experience.

I can motor sail for months without needing to go to port to re-fuel. When I go to remote places I know I am leaving it better than I found it. Not leaving my dirty pollution and destroying the very thing I find so beautiful.

motor sailing becomes a completely different experience. having the electric motor tick over to help the sail. You can point into the wind better without worrying about fumes choking the cook. Knowing it is costing nothing without adding engine hours.

I have 1kW of solar fitted which produces more than enough to keep the batteries charged. Also have enough stored power to run a draw fridge, a small freezer, microwave and various small electric appliances.

Best of all when I leave port and look back to all the smog and pollution hovering over the cities, I am proud I have not contributed and not just complained about it.


You managed to install an electric motor and controls, battery bank, solar and controls all for less than A$8000.00 ? Have to ask, what size motor, battery bank and panel size did you use.

dism
NSW, 644 posts
12 Jan 2019 5:12PM
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Found livinglifes blog (via profile link) on elec engine at www.livingourlifestyle.com/diy-electric-vessel

@livinglife - have only skimmed article but didn't see - what brand/type and supplier sells the elec engine package?

Wander66
QLD, 204 posts
12 Jan 2019 4:49PM
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dism said..
Found livinglifes blog (via profile link) on elec engine at www.livingourlifestyle.com/diy-electric-vessel

@livinglife - have only skimmed article but didn't see - what brand/type and supplier sells the elec engine package?


Thunderstruck motors in the US have 10kW 48v kitsyou can buy online for $2012 US

www.thunderstruck-ev.com/sevcon-brushless-sailboat-kit-10.5kw.html

Craig66
NSW, 1547 posts
12 Jan 2019 7:47PM
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Wander66 said..


dism said..
Found livinglifes blog (via profile link) on elec engine at www.livingourlifestyle.com/diy-electric-vessel

@livinglife - have only skimmed article but didn't see - what brand/type and supplier sells the elec engine package?




Thunderstruck motors in the US have 10kW 48v kitsyou can buy online for $2012 US

www.thunderstruck-ev.com/sevcon-brushless-sailboat-kit-10.5kw.html



Left field question,
Owner of a cat needs to replace one blown diesel engine.
All ready has good solar set up, wind generator, bank of batteries etc.

Seems that an electric install would be less $$ and then you have option of running silent on a motor sail.
Or would it be too much of a miss match when trying to control turns in tight spaces on both engines?

DAMA
QLD, 217 posts
12 Jan 2019 8:43PM
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Looks like an electric system from ev power in west australia
www.ev-power.com.au/

there is a you tube vid under projects on the site also

Madmouse
158 posts
12 Jan 2019 7:46PM
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livinglife said..
I have a 9.1m sailboat and fitted an electric motor. Ii have a very limited budget and the electric motors works. I did it for less than Au$8k. The best decision. No fumes, no noise, clean bilge no pollution, no fuel blockages, no dirty fuel.. I do not understand why so many are against electric engines.
I am happy to answer any queries about my electric experience.

I can motor sail for months without needing to go to port to re-fuel. When I go to remote places I know I am leaving it better than I found it. Not leaving my dirty pollution and destroying the very thing I find so beautiful.

motor sailing becomes a completely different experience. having the electric motor tick over to help the sail. You can point into the wind better without worrying about fumes choking the cook. Knowing it is costing nothing without adding engine hours.

I have 1kW of solar fitted which produces more than enough to keep the batteries charged. Also have enough stored power to run a draw fridge, a small freezer, microwave and various small electric appliances.

Best of all when I leave port and look back to all the smog and pollution hovering over the cities, I am proud I have not contributed and not just complained about it.


That sound awesome. Perhaps the tide has turned. Love to hear more.

sirgallivant
NSW, 1394 posts
13 Jan 2019 6:48AM
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There is something fishy with the claim of almost unlimited power here, it just does not add up, imo.


Check out "sailing Uma" on utube!

LMY
NSW, 187 posts
13 Jan 2019 2:17PM
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livinglife said..
I have a 9.1m sailboat and fitted an electric motor. Ii have a very limited budget and the electric motors works. I did it for less than Au$8k. The best decision. No fumes, no noise, clean bilge no pollution, no fuel blockages, no dirty fuel.. I do not understand why so many are against electric engines.
I am happy to answer any queries about my electric experience.

I can motor sail for months without needing to go to port to re-fuel. When I go to remote places I know I am leaving it better than I found it. Not leaving my dirty pollution and destroying the very thing I find so beautiful.

motor sailing becomes a completely different experience. having the electric motor tick over to help the sail. You can point into the wind better without worrying about fumes choking the cook. Knowing it is costing nothing without adding engine hours.

I have 1kW of solar fitted which produces more than enough to keep the batteries charged. Also have enough stored power to run a draw fridge, a small freezer, microwave and various small electric appliances.

Best of all when I leave port and look back to all the smog and pollution hovering over the cities, I am proud I have not contributed and not just complained about it.


Hi livinglife,

could you please provide a bit more information so that we can understand how this works for you?

The thing that I do not understand is the available energy over a couple of days, rather than short term power. Ie "motor sailing for months".

From your blog, you have a 10kW motor, 9.5kWhr of batteries and 1kW of solar.

So you run the motor at, say, 25% power for four hours on a dull day and the batteries are 100% flat, not great for the battery life, but ignore that for the sake of the discussion.

Or, run late for a tide target and run the motor at 100% power for an hour to catch up and the batteries are flat.

You then need to recharge. In NSW I get about 1500watts-hrs from a 300Watt set of panels. The sun is sunnier in Qld, so allow 2000 for 300 watts in Qld. That gives 6.7 kW-hr per day for you panels. So after a four hour motor sail you need to stop and re- charge for a day or more . This assumes that you use no other power for the fridge, lights etc.

Am I missing something here with my assumptions, how are you using the boat to make this work?

thanks

dism
NSW, 644 posts
13 Jan 2019 3:43PM
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Wonder what the magic formula is for pairing a portable diesel generator with this system as an amp backup (for those coast hopping 2 day motor/sails)?

Sometimes you just need more than 4hrs+ motoring, but seems alot other benefits to EV (and it's just a matter of time till its the gold standard).

UncleBob
NSW, 378 posts
14 Jan 2019 12:05PM
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UncleBob said..

livinglife said..
I have a 9.1m sailboat and fitted an electric motor. Ii have a very limited budget and the electric motors works. I did it for less than Au$8k. The best decision. No fumes, no noise, clean bilge no pollution, no fuel blockages, no dirty fuel.. I do not understand why so many are against electric engines.
I am happy to answer any queries about my electric experience.

I can motor sail for months without needing to go to port to re-fuel. When I go to remote places I know I am leaving it better than I found it. Not leaving my dirty pollution and destroying the very thing I find so beautiful.

motor sailing becomes a completely different experience. having the electric motor tick over to help the sail. You can point into the wind better without worrying about fumes choking the cook. Knowing it is costing nothing without adding engine hours.

I have 1kW of solar fitted which produces more than enough to keep the batteries charged. Also have enough stored power to run a draw fridge, a small freezer, microwave and various small electric appliances.

Best of all when I leave port and look back to all the smog and pollution hovering over the cities, I am proud I have not contributed and not just complained about it.



You managed to install an electric motor and controls, battery bank, solar and controls all for less than A$8000.00 ? Have to ask, what size motor, battery bank and panel size did you use.


Having looked at your site I have a few further questions. What size 12 volt batteries (ah, not physical) what physical size solar panels and how did you fit four of them to a 9m boat without shading etc so that they produce more than enough power to run the boat and motor sail for months, and to me most importantly, how do you expect to maintain a secondhand agm bank that is already 5 years old in a condition that it will last another 5 to 7 years? All those that I know who have agm batteries on their vessels are lucky to achieve much more than 4 years in total. Agm are great batteries if you can maintain the soc at or near 100%, very difficult to do on a sailboat. They are excellent for use in UPS systems because they are kept at the optimal charge all the time.
I wish you well and hope that all works out for you as you hope.

Trek
NSW, 813 posts
15 Jan 2019 8:56AM
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I once again spent a few hours fixing alarm problems with my old Volvo 2003 and getting rid of it for electric is very appealing. I think 50 percent of my boat maintenance has been diesel which says how bad they can be. It's WAY out of proportion. UncleBob I presume Livinglifes ratio of motoring to sailing must be really low. I know if I only motored for getting on and off moorings it would work for me but motoring bay to bay it wouldn't. I hope he comes back and tells us more.

UncleBob
NSW, 378 posts
9 Feb 2019 4:39PM
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Select to expand quote
livinglife said..
I have a 9.1m sailboat and fitted an electric motor. Ii have a very limited budget and the electric motors works. I did it for less than Au$8k. The best decision. No fumes, no noise, clean bilge no pollution, no fuel blockages, no dirty fuel.. I do not understand why so many are against electric engines.
I am happy to answer any queries about my electric experience.

I can motor sail for months without needing to go to port to re-fuel. When I go to remote places I know I am leaving it better than I found it. Not leaving my dirty pollution and destroying the very thing I find so beautiful.

motor sailing becomes a completely different experience. having the electric motor tick over to help the sail. You can point into the wind better without worrying about fumes choking the cook. Knowing it is costing nothing without adding engine hours.

I have 1kW of solar fitted which produces more than enough to keep the batteries charged. Also have enough stored power to run a draw fridge, a small freezer, microwave and various small electric appliances.

Best of all when I leave port and look back to all the smog and pollution hovering over the cities, I am proud I have not contributed and not just complained about it.


Interesting,, a few pertinent questions asked and observations made and no further response, could it be that there is little appetite to frankly discuss this conversion??

woko
NSW, 367 posts
9 Feb 2019 8:06PM
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Patience uncle bob, when elec is the norm in our vehicles and light industrial machines then it will be practical to power our yachts that way. But for now I think the internal combustion engine still rules

sirgallivant
NSW, 1394 posts
10 Feb 2019 11:49AM
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I was thinking akin to unclebob, about how to position those 1000w pv panels on a 9m yacht.
Imo it would be possible and it would give a fair bit of charge, however, the claim of almost unlimited power smells of enthusiasm if nothing else. It would require a huge battery bank for anything like acceptable range for a cruiser.

One just has to look at Dexport's new yacht and there is an example how to position the pv panels.

Btw, in "sailing uma" the guy employs an old forklift motor which cost him peanuts. It is a series worth watching!

Yara
NSW, 797 posts
19 Feb 2019 7:58PM
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I have only watched the first part of Sailing Uma where they install the motor. How did it go in the subsequent episodes?
Things that struck me are that their electrical system and the motor look very vulnerable to salt water and corrosion. The motor itself looks like it would be maybe 2kW, say 4 or 5hp. Not much for a boat of that size.

Seebreasy73
QLD, 315 posts
19 Feb 2019 9:07PM
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Yara said..
I have only watched the first part of Sailing Uma where they install the motor. How did it go in the subsequent episodes?
Things that struck me are that their electrical system and the motor look very vulnerable to salt water and corrosion. The motor itself looks like it would be maybe 2kW, say 4 or 5hp. Not much for a boat of that size.


never watched any of those shows, too busy to tend to the yacht. But even a 5kw motor would be little for anything over 27 foot

sirgallivant
NSW, 1394 posts
23 Feb 2019 5:52PM
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It would benefit one if one would be able to relax and take some time to watch a couple hours of worthy videos on utube like 'Sailing Uma'!
This lot is the best l found after watching some of the other offerings around.
Despite their obvious theatricals for Parthenon, their sponsors, the improvements are worth following and the use of the fast forward button is making the watching more economical.

keensailor
NSW, 612 posts
23 Feb 2019 8:49PM
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These guys have re-powered a Northshore 27 with electric. She sits a little low at the stern, not sure how that affects sailing performance

ecoboats.com.au/bellmarine-sailmaster-re-powers-northshore-27-yacht/

LMY
NSW, 187 posts
24 Feb 2019 1:21PM
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keensailor said..
These guys have re-powered a Northshore 27 with electric. She sits a little low at the stern, not sure how that affects sailing performance

ecoboats.com.au/bellmarine-sailmaster-re-powers-northshore-27-yacht/


That system has 10.8kw-hr of batteries charged by shore power or 200W of solar panels. So for the solar panels to fully charge the batteries you need the panels at FULL power for around 50hours, assuming that battery charging is 100% efficient, which it is not. It must take well over a week to recharge the batteries. The system may be OK for a day sailer on a marina.

You see similar numbers when ever motor / battery / solar systems are mentioned for boats. I wiish one of the supporters or even better a user of these systems would show me how it can possibly work, other than the fairly limited application of a day sailer on a marina.

LMY
NSW, 187 posts
24 Feb 2019 1:34PM
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Another irritation in the video.

In the video they make a comment that 3.5kW (4.5hp) from an electric source is as effective as 10hp from diesel. (Or words to that effect). I would like to understand the physics of how that works!! 10 horse power is more than 4.5 hp where ever it comes from, and 10 hp can always do more work than 4.5 hP, assuming that the drive system can utilise the power.

fishmonkey
NSW, 398 posts
24 Feb 2019 2:31PM
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LMY said..
Another irritation in the video.

In the video they make a comment that 3.5kW (4.5hp) from an electric source is as effective as 10hp from diesel. (Or words to that effect). I would like to understand the physics of how that works!! 10 horse power is more than 4.5 hp where ever it comes from, and 10 hp can always do more work than 4.5 hP, assuming that the drive system can utilise the power.




there is a lot of arguing about this online.

from what i gather electric motors can be much more efficient than internal combustion engines, and can also be engineered to provide consistent torque across the rev range. also the method used to rate diesels means that the advertised maximum HP of a given diesel motor is often much greater than the actual usable real-world HP, where fuel efficiency considerations and drivetrain losses come into play...

UncleBob
NSW, 378 posts
24 Feb 2019 3:06PM
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Select to expand quote
LMY said..

keensailor said..
These guys have re-powered a Northshore 27 with electric. She sits a little low at the stern, not sure how that affects sailing performance

ecoboats.com.au/bellmarine-sailmaster-re-powers-northshore-27-yacht/



That system has 10.8kw-hr of batteries charged by shore power or 200W of solar panels. So for the solar panels to fully charge the batteries you need the panels at FULL power for around 50hours, assuming that battery charging is 100% efficient, which it is not. It must take well over a week to recharge the batteries. The system may be OK for a day sailer on a marina.

You see similar numbers when ever motor / battery / solar systems are mentioned for boats. I wiish one of the supporters or even better a user of these systems would show me how it can possibly work, other than the fairly limited application of a day sailer on a marina.


Maate, get with the program, reality doesn't have to fit the narrative !!

Yara
NSW, 797 posts
24 Feb 2019 5:23PM
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fishmonkey said..

LMY said..
Another irritation in the video.

In the video they make a comment that 3.5kW (4.5hp) from an electric source is as effective as 10hp from diesel. (Or words to that effect). I would like to understand the physics of how that works!! 10 horse power is more than 4.5 hp where ever it comes from, and 10 hp can always do more work than 4.5 hP, assuming that the drive system can utilise the power.





there is a lot of arguing about this online.

from what i gather electric motors can be much more efficient than internal combustion engines, and can also be engineered to provide consistent torque across the rev range. also the method used to rate diesels means that the advertised maximum HP of a given diesel motor is often much greater than the actual usable real-world HP, where fuel efficiency considerations and drivetrain losses ncecome into play...


Unfortunately there is a lot of science and engineering ignorance out there in our modern world. Yes, the continuous rating of a diesel engine might be a tad lower than the rating. However, when you talk power output comparisons, that is what they are, efficiency does not come into it. This is particularly true when you are comparing two options which will use the same type of prop drive, and assuming the propellers are selected correctly.

FelixdeCat
NSW, 211 posts
12 Mar 2019 10:37PM
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Would a pair of 5kw DC motors be better suited to a 10m catamaran possibly?Not for my boat but I have seen DC motors specified on some new catamaran designs. It strikes me that cats would be more suitable for a few reasons:

1. There's a lot more room up top for solar panels
2. Less displacement means cats generally require less HP

Other things I would like to say in favour of electric:

1. Many of these units can be charged by spinning the prop in reverse while sailing. Harnessing the power of wind when itsavailable.
2. The noise when motoring is probably one of my pet hates and for me it ruins the feeling of being on water in the first place.
3. The weight of the batteries at least gives some choice as to where the weight is distributed on new designs. Not so easy with retrofitting though.

The downside of using these motors on a cat is that it would only suit fixed keel and not dagger board setups because otherwise it cant be beached.

fishmonkey
NSW, 398 posts
13 Mar 2019 12:48AM
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FelixdeCat said..

Other things I would like to say in favour of electric:

2. The noise when motoring is probably one of my pet hates and for me it ruins the feeling of being on water in the first place.


me too.

an hour or two here and there when necessary is okay, but one of my favourite things is turning the damn motor off! sailing back on to the mooring is a perfect end to the day...

Yara
NSW, 797 posts
13 Mar 2019 1:02PM
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sirgallivant said..
It would benefit one if one would be able to relax and take some time to watch a couple hours of worthy videos on utube like 'Sailing Uma'!
This lot is the best l found after watching some of the other offerings around.
Despite their obvious theatricals for Parthenon, their sponsors, the improvements are worth following and the use of the fast forward button is making the watching more economical.



I really find these Sailing Uma type videos get boring after a while. So would somebody please post a link to where they get some real experience with their DIY electric drive.

FelixdeCat
NSW, 211 posts
13 Mar 2019 1:19PM
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Electric outboards are certainly interesting but the appeal of inboard is that the underside of the bridgedeck is left clean and clear so in any kind of chop there's no outboards in the way. That's my thinking anyway.

So I reckon in an outboard setup, 4 stroke still has the advantage over electric but inboard on a cat is where electric starts to make sense. But since I like to pull everything clear of the water then I guess 4 stroke outboards would still be the go.

so it looks like my circle of logic is complete and I'm back where I started.



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"Diesel - electric drive - an article pondering the "why nots"" started by Seebreasy73