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What will yachts and yachting look like in 2015?

Discussion in 'Popular Yacht Topics' started by Windswept, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Battboy- How do you propose to recharge these much vaunted Lithium Batteries?

    How high is the actual efficiency of this type of drive system actually going to be?

    Would the batteries be feeding inverters which in turn supply AC Electric motors or would the drive power still be low voltage DC?
  2. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    Sign me up for a slip.
  3. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Why do you keep going back to comparing LiFePO4 to lead acid batteries? We are not comparing anything, we are discussing what kind of yachts we might see in 2015. Quite frankly I could care less how good lithium batteries are, in my opinion they are still a long way from being a cost effective replacement for any conventional propulsion system.

    We are not talking about road vehicles which can benefit from regenerative braking. Most of us are not talking about radio controlled cars or small boats that go out for a few hours on nice days.

    That designer you referenced states: “The propulsion system uses a shaft motor/generator designed to put surplus energy back into its battery banks.”

    This really begs the question how much does this guy know about powering boats? There is no such thing as “surplus power.” All power on today’s 50 meter boat comes out of the fuel tanks and I can tell you that none of that fuel is “surplus,” and I seriously doubt if that is going to change in the next 6 years.

    If you are claiming or believe that solar is an alternative to powering a 50m yacht then you need to do a little more work with a calculator and a collection of boat specs. While the installed power and operational profile of the “average” 50m yacht is as varied as their interior design, it is probably safe to say that they are powered by around 2500kW of propulsion and generation. If we were to replace this power with solar arrays, using a “cost is no object” array with 40 percent conversion efficiency, we would need 5500 square meters of solar cells. For American readers that is about 1.36 acres or slightly larger than a football field. It’s kind of hard to find that much deck space on a yacht even if we wanted to spend $15 million to buy the things.

    If we wanted to sit at the dock or at anchor at the end of the day for 12 hours with a hotel load of 150kW we would have to rely on those superb LiFePO4 batteries since the sun isn’t providing much power. So, to keep the lights on and the freezers cold we would have to buy another $1.1 million worth of battery weighing around 11,000 kg and taking up the same volume as an 11,600 liter (3000 gal) fuel tank.

    When we woke up in the morning we would need to sit at the dock and recharge because we aren’t going to have enough power left to go anywhere. Or, we would have to run a set of diesel generators to produce the amount of power we used overnight plus the 5 or 10 percent lost in the host of conversions between the DG and the consumers, plus the amount of power required to drive the boat away from the dock while all this charging is going on. This isn’t the vision of yachting that I see coming into port in 2015.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Going by what's in that well thought out and informative post above I seriously doubt that you will be able to see it leaving port in 2016 after the batteries are charged enough to get away from the dock.
  5. Opcn

    Opcn Senior Member

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    With nanotube technology its a safe bet that the next generation of Li based batteries is going to be roughly 1/10th the size of moder batteries in the next ten years. Also chances are that a yacht designed to run on solar is going to be a bit more efficient than that, a solar yacht will not be covered in lights, at night its going to be dim outside and have LED task lighting inside, and few computers and air conditioners and the like running. After you factor in loss due to inefficiency that kind of load is probably about 200 gallons a night (not huge for a 50M yacht, but not the kind of thing an efficiency junky who would own a solar yacht would have).

    There has been talk lately of a solar cell that runs in the high 90's for efficiency, it now looks possible, which would be nice.

    All of this baffles me, we have known how to yacht around with no fuel for a very long time, if you don't want to be a burden on the environment use free wind power, no need to dig up lots of Li and build all sorts of heavy systems.
  6. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Volume isn’t the problem except for tiny boats. If the battery was the size of a laptop case it would still have the same issues, it takes energy to charge it, it won’t deliver the same amount of energy used to charge it, and even if charged with 90 percent efficient solar cells, our 2500kW yacht would require an array more than half an acre in area - the size of a football field from the end zone to the 60 yard line.
    You have left out nearly every hotel system on the boat. It is nice to have refrigeration, wastewater systems, water makers, dishwashers, water heaters, washers and dryers, navionics, gyros, hot tubs, Jacuzzi baths – all the little details that separate yachting from camping.

    Even Columbus had oil lamps. Zero fuel sailboating is not yachting by most people's definition. I can assure you that selling charters on those boats will be problematic to say the least.

    Gallons of what? If it is diesel fuel then it would be enough to produce around 2.8 MWh of power for that 12 hour stay in port. The 150 kW I mentioned would only use about 125 gallons or so for the full yachting experience.
  7. Opcn

    Opcn Senior Member

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    Well the weight follows the volume (incidentally your volume should have been 6667l or 1760 gal), and those were characteristics you mentioned, so I felt that I was justified in responding. And yes you loose some energy in conversion, which is not fun.

    I know I left out several systems, I was trying to stay brief, I could go through and talk about high efficiency refrigerators and the like (and might imagine an energy hungry system like a watermaker being replaced by a large tank of water) my basic point was that energy conservation is going to be big for whomever makes such a yacht. Some systems would be cut out, a Yacht is a large recreational boat, luxury is not a requirement.

    You totally got me on the no fuel comment, I actually tried to remove it after reading the preview, because it seemed weak and irrelevant, but hit the wrong button. If I may be allowed to rescue myself slightly, a small (obviously a relative term) solar array and sails will provide all you need, not great luxury, the fit and finish quality will make it more than camping, even if you don't have a heated pool and a 96" flat screen.

    As for the fuel use, I couldn't remember the numbers off the top of my head so I reverse engineered from a calculation in my calculator for fuel efficiency. Working from scratch 150 kW over 12 H is 1800 kWH and a kWH is 3.6 MJ so 6480 MJ. Now Deisel oil has 38.6 MJ per liter. (parenthetically it just dawned on me that I did the calculation for my last post absolutely wrong). So thats 168 liters per night at 100% efficiency, 44.5 gallons. now you factor in the heat lost due to internal combustion. I can't find a good number for a generator but something like 40% efficiency maybe for the diesel and 90% for the generator and linkage? at 90% of 40% thats 36%. 36% efficiency yield a total of 123.5 gallons of diesel a night (you were right on if you were talking about a 12 hr trip when you said 125). I was a little high, but for having done completely the wrong calculation (I bolloxed it up by reversing my compensation for gas to diesel) it didn't go too poorly (incidentally if my calculations are correct it takes 190 gallons to produce 2.8 MWH).
  8. SAB

    SAB New Member

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    Hybrid propulsion allows many advantageous scenarios to become possible. One scenario is to run one of the two main engines and cruise at slow speeds say 10 knots- the residual power of the Main runs the inline shaft driven Generator to supply AC voltage directly to the household consumers. If this combination becomes overloaded, the stored energy in the Lithium Batteries provides AC current and absorbs the temporary peak loads to save a generator from having to run. If you throttled back or the household consumers demanded less power, the batteries then provide an artificial load bank storing the surplus energy and maintaining a constant load on the main engine. This also helps to prevent the problem of carbon build up in diesel engines when they are under-loaded.
  9. Opcn

    Opcn Senior Member

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    SAB if that is the case its surplus power that is being used, not surplus energy. The two words have different meanings.
  10. battboy

    battboy New Member

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    Just as a reference point we can fit a 150 kWhr LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery system into a space that would measure 72" H. x 60" L. x 30" D. Try to do that with a Lead Acid system, Marmot! Batteries have changed and the latest technology is available NOW not in 3-5 more years, so get used to it and stop trying to put down designers who understand where the future is taking us please.

    Have a nice day! :D
  11. SAB

    SAB New Member

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    Thanks- I might sack my editor ;)
  12. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "Hybrid propulsion allows many advantageous scenarios to become possible."

    That is true but the fact remains that there is no such thing as surplus power or energy. Every watt produced or consumed on a boat powered by a diesel originates in the fuel tank. Using the engine(s) in some hybrid configuration with battery storage just means that part of that fuel is lost in the conversion from shaft horsepower to electrical power to chemical energy then back to electrical and finally to mechanical or a music video ... whatever the destination the source is the same and there are losses at each step.
  13. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "...a Yacht is a large recreational boat, luxury is not a requirement."

    Gasp sputter choke ... aarrrgghhh! That is heresy and it undermines the entire industry!

    The type of yachts I have been talking about are nothing if not examples of the height of luxury and conspicuous consumption. These things are made to ooze luxury and those who charter them for that reason keep this site and most of us here in business.
  14. Opcn

    Opcn Senior Member

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    When you say electrical power what you are using is a layman's term that means is energy. Yes every bit of energy comes from a solar cell or a fuel tank, however what he is talking about is having your Diesels run the generator and push the boat and the same time, then using an inverter, then when you need it firing up the diesels again. Yes you loose some in the conversion, but it allows you to run your Diesels more efficiently which ideally saves you more than you loose.

    That was poor wording on my part, high energy consumption≠luxury however. You don't need to use as much electricity as a small apartment block to have a luxurious yacht, fit and finish accounts for most of the luxury anyways, adding gyro's and big televisions and graphics intensive systems and a jacuzzi to an unluxurious boat will not fix the problem, it will just be unluxurious and cluttered.

    Battboy- thats closer to a 600 kWhr system if I ran the numbers right (big if, I know)
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  15. battboy

    battboy New Member

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    That's 25% of a 600 kWh system which is what one Saudi Prince is ordering as a battery back-up storage system. Not sure if it's for his yacht or his palace...lol!

    :D
  16. SAB

    SAB New Member

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    Diesel engines are already about as efficient as an internal combustion engine can possibly get. With only incremental gains possible in the engine itself, it remains that we think outside of the cylinder (pardon the pun). Ensuring the engine doesn’t get used as much in the first place is one place to look for extracting further efficiencies in the system as a whole and identifying where efficiency bottlenecks are.

    Switching to a hybrid drive system will net significant gains in efficiency. The change has further side benefits for customers: fewer moving parts that need servicing, and the entire machine acts as a backup generator when needed.

    This thread heading is for the year 2015. Some of the previous messages base figures on today's product performance- It is entirely possible that within 5 years solar cells will be producing 20x the amount of w/hr/sq ft than what one currently expects (and they will be produced cheaply), couple this with similar advances being made in battery power. Now add this back into the equations?
  17. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for opening our minds to what constitutes a "luxury" yacht.

    I guess I will now have to try and tell my clients that they have it wrong, that they should sit in their beautifully paneled Main saloon and stare at the wall where the TV might once have been because the entertainment system they so desired would just not be in tune with a luxury yacht as the world knows and accepts it.

    Whilst you are replying to this would you care to share with the rest of us what YOUR actual luxury yachting experience is?
  18. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    It is rather difficult to extract more energy from a solar cell than is available in the light that illuminates it. The sun puts about 1 kW per square meter of energy on an array. I doubt anyone will be able to figure out how to get more out than comes in. At least not by 2015.
  19. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    And for how many hours will this lovely little battery deliver 150kW?

    Why would I want to do something like that? Need I say again that so far you are the only person in this thread who has mentioned lead acid batteries. Tossing that strawman in every other post doesn’t buttress your argument. The point I am trying to get across to you is that for many reasons, no kind of battery is going to revolutionize how large yachts are powered or operated in 2015.

    Of course the “latest technology” is available now. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the “latest” would it? Your favorite little cells aren't going to change the face of yachting in the next 6 years no matter how many buzzwords a stylist attaches to the latest computer depiction of his yachting wet dream.

    There is a wide gulf between model cars or airplanes and large yachts, the power source that has revolutionized the radio control hobby world is not going to make much of a change in my business in the next 6 years.
  20. Opcn

    Opcn Senior Member

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    My primary issue is futurism, I joined this forum for this thread, although I do have experience doing work on charter boats out of Kodiak (carpentry, not manning the boats, I lack charisma). Also I believe this thread is about the future of yachting, not the future of luxury charter yachting out of Fort Lauderdale Florida. Its a safe bet that the green boom is going to make quite a few green billionaires and lots and lots of green millionaires. Its not that everyone will have to explain to their clients why the power hogs are gone, rather they will have a different crop of clients. Even the old guard will be more green and do less conspicuous consumption. In addition to that much of the wealth has been draining into Asia, so there will not be as much to spend in the US.

    Its a safe bet that all systems are going to get more and more efficient. With production of aerogels becoming easier it will be cheaper to superinsulate refrigerators. Computer components are getting smaller to work faster and as a result they have to drop the energy usage so that they don't overheat. LED's are replacing HQI's. Pumps are becoming more efficient and better wearing.

    This countries consumption habits have been run on credit since the 80's, the culture has to shift, the wealthy will not be immune to this shift. More people are going to want to run more efficiently, more people will stick to hull speeds too probably.