Green boating

In honour of BlogActionDay, we're writing about our plans for making Scream an environmentally friendly boat.

Scream is currently equipped with a Diesel engine, which both supplies propulsion and provides electricity to charge the batteries.  Like all Diesel powered boats, the engine is acceptably efficient at moving the boat, but it doesn't generate electricity efficiently.

We intend to equip Scream with several high-power solar cells, perhaps 190W Solar Spruce from Evergreen.  We also intend to have a wind generator.  Wind generators are increasingly powerful based on the length of their arms, but Scream has a very good place to mount a small one.  We're debating whether to add an extension pole to allow us to mount a 1 meter radius generator or to live with a 50cm radius generator.

The big plan is to replace the diesel with an electric engine with regenerative power.  Electric engines are available from Thoosa and Solomon for comparable prices to Diesel engines.  We're looking at 50 HP models under $10,000.  The benefits to this technology are many:

  1. No pollution
  2. Quiet
  3. No fuel costs
  4. Electricity is generated from the drag of the propeller while under sail.

We're committed to converting Scream from a 20th century fossil fuel boat to a clean and green boat to lead the way for the coming century.

2 thoughts on “Green boating

  1. Andrew says:

    Props. Much respect for the thinking and the efforts.

    I have a few questions for you:

    1. Are you thinking of using a horizontal axis wind turbine or vertical one? Would it be possible to do both - one above the other? (I'm presuming the top of the mast is your target location...)
    2. Are you aiming for solar for heat or solar for electricity? The heat ones tend to be far more efficient. Incidentally, the electric ones become far less efficient when hot - there is great potential here, which I'd love to share over xmas with you, if you remind me.
    3. Will you have some sort of tracking system to ensure that your solar panels will be optimally oriented to the sun, or do you expect them to be fixed in orientation? Also: do you knwo about the effects the weather/salt water/etc will have on the system?
    4.What sort of energy store will you use? What are the implications of this, as regards reliability, efficiency, etc.?
    5. I imagine you plan to follow the efficiency of your various sources. Are you collaborating with anyone to make this research more broadly available/useful? Also, are you interested in testing newer forms of electrical generation?

    I'm adding a link to a uk green buildings source that is being rapidly expanded, and may be useful to you. Tell me how you find it.

    Best wishes with the refit.


  2. Steven says:

    Many questions:

    1. I am not aware of any vertical axis wind turbines in production.
    2. As we expect to spend most of our time in the tropics, we're not overly concerned about heating. So electricity generating PVs are our target.
    3. The solar cells will be on flexible mounts, but it will be up to us to adjust them. We're going to use stainless steel for the mounts, but I'm not sure what precautions need to be made for the PVs themselves.
    4. We're planning on using batteries for the energy store. I've been studying the subject for a long time and we're probably going to get eight lifeline 8D Absorbed Glass Mat batteries wired in series for a 96V system with 250+ Ah. AGM batteries are low maintenance and take less energy to charge than lead-acid batteries, the only serious alternative as far as I can tell.
    5. We will document our efforts in great detail and "publish" a report. We're definitely interested in new forms of electricity generation. Do you have any suggestions?

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