Fully Electric Cargo Ship for Amazon River (Boat Design: 1st Post)

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by FullyElectricAM, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. FullyElectricAM
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Puerto Maldonado Peru

    FullyElectricAM Junior Member

    Good Morning All! I am new to your page and have been skimming it here for about a week. I am very impressed at the maturity and level of dialog this BBS uses. I am not new to this type of system and have served as an Administrator on a few myself, so I know how quickly things can turn. I have been taking the information from the site and I have never built a boat before, so nearly everything I have so far has been taken from PDF books download, website information, and this bulletin board. Bear with me, please! As Bill Hicks would say, "Strap In! Cause here we go!"

    I am in the early phases of designing a small cargo ship for life and use in the Amazon Jungle. The river system here has many such vessels operating on diesel engines already. They look like the ships on the following page: http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/peru-transport-amazon-river.html

    The mission of the boat is as follows:

    I need to start by designing the ship itself, I would like to build my model on the following information:

    Size: 89 feet long x 34 feet wide for the in water hull, 3 decks high at 34 feet from hull bottom to roof height
    Weight: 200 tons @ full load
    Hull Shape: Flat Bottom

    The hull shape will be very standard, with no special designs for cavitation or increased flow to the props. A flat bottom hull is the standard choice for my area and the river system. It will provide stability and consistent drag not to mention be easier to navigate into smaller tributaries and feeding rivers. A two prop system is best, and I think the propellers will be something like 36" with 5 blades at 750 RPM.


    All of that information can be altered as this is the earliest stage of building and funding such a craft. Please keep in mind I am building a model of this craft first, selecting a DC propulsion system that will work and stand up to critical review for crowdfunding purposes. I have CAD engineers that want to help build my model for videos, and after we raise the money we will begin actual construction and the plans WILL have to be altered at some point. In other words I am not looking for perfection just a working theoretical model of what the boat will look like and a cost estimation.

    Here are my questions: Can I make the craft slimmer in width, maintain the two prop system and the height I want to keep for the ship? Is the prop estimation feasible? If so will the thrust be sufficient to move the boat up river in heavy current?

    Thank you for your help, after designing the ship hull, and assigning a theoretical prop, I plan to find a motor that can turn the prop or more likely two brushed DC Motors, and then move toward the battery bank. The Battery Bank will make or break the crowdfunding campaign idea, because this is where the cost gets extreme.

    Thank you for reading and I look forward to all input!

    Feel free to join me on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/shaneparkscomedy or the page in my sig to follow construction and future events.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    The battery bank is only a fraction of the total cost. Energy management has to be properly engineered and it is costly with several power sources. The current can be up to about 5knots (9km/hr). Electric motors have a very different torque and power curve than a diesel or gas engine. At low speeds, their initial torque makes them efficient, but it rapidly declines as the RPMs increase. This is the opposite from a diesel or gas where the torque increases. I have navigated the Amazon river and it can get very rough, with large waves and eddies. Are you only planning on using the ship in the Upper river. I see that you are in Puerto Maldonado, where the width is narrower and may not encounter such conditions?
     
  3. FullyElectricAM
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Puerto Maldonado Peru

    FullyElectricAM Junior Member

    The battery bank is the most expensive portion of the construction exactly because I include the management of the batteries in this part of the construction. Also shipping the batteries inside the country will be difficult due to weight and size. I plan on using Forklift or Airplane style batteries that can be serviced to increase the life of the batteries and reduce waste. If this is to be a model of sustainability we do not want to create a hazard with battery waste being a large portion of what we put back into the environment as our main limiting factor. In addition safety concerns regarding the batteries will also need to be observed like fire protection, compartmentalization, and proper ventilation.

    The ship will operate in all of the connecting rivers where it can reach, with the size of the ship being the only limiting factor. Keeping the boat slow is the goal, and thus the relatively low RPM's suggested above. This boat will not win any speed contests, and it needs to be stable for precisely the reasons you described. The boat will be built (or a repurposed Diesel boat retrofitted) in Pucallpa Peru, this will lower our cost dramatically while still having road access for shipping in goods and parts for initial construction. I am building a model first to get an idea of cost, and then I will have to adjust the design to fit the either retrofitted diesel boat, or have the boat built for specifications.
     
  4. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    I have serious doubts about being able to generate enough electric power to operate this boat. The regeneration methods you have suggested seem to be substantially below the power requirements I would expect.

    The only one that may have a chance is waste to energy plants shoreside generating gass for the vessel. Beyond that I just don't think there is going to be enough power to make this work, without a diesel generator somewhere in the mix.
     
  5. FullyElectricAM
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Puerto Maldonado Peru

    FullyElectricAM Junior Member

    @Stumble I understand your skepticism. Keep in mind that this boat does not have to be in operation at all times, in fact the energy to drive the boat only is needed for a small fraction of time. The boat will spend much time in one place during projects for local groups. I hope to have a 5 day range, and a 14-15 day charging cycle. In addition the boat can and often will be able to plug in and charge from AC outlets in cases of longer voyages.

    http://inhabitat.com/auriga-leader-cargo-ship-gets-power-from-solar-panels/

    This vessel is in operation for a longer duty cycle and generates 10% of its power requirements from solar, it is much larger, and operates with heavier freight. If we get only 10% of our power requirements Solar should be enough for a 1 day voyage and 12 day charging cycle. The boat will move from project to project on our 5 day plan the projects will be staggered to improve efficiency going only to the next project in within the range. I think this is more than feasible, it should be common place already.
     
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    If you use lead/acid batteries, the efficiency will drop enormously. Lithium/ion is the way to go. A tight budget won't allow you to have a properly working system. You could run a used diesel ship for years for the cost of retrofitting an electric drive with solar, current, etc. generators. This is not a project that can be done on the cheap.
     
  7. FullyElectricAM
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Puerto Maldonado Peru

    FullyElectricAM Junior Member

    First I want to say I appreciate your input, both of you are obviously advanced in knowledge of this subject, and respected members of this online community. That said, I recognize the cost will not be inexpensive, cargo ships never are inexpensive projects. But we are getting far off the design of this particular post. If you would like to talk about whether the project is feasible financially or logistically, please join or follow my page on facebook.com listed in my signature.

    I would prefer this thread to move towards the actual design of the hull and propellers I have listed above. I know these parts of the project can be accomplished, and then after I design the propulsion system my team and donors can decide what the best course of action is to fund the construction.

    Are the posted specifications not stable enough to keep the ship both safe and effective in the river system? Are the dimensions of the boat correct for the weight expected to be carried? Is the propeller size correct for the length of the hull and the weight expected? Is the RPM of the propeller correct for this application?

    Thank you both for your input on the thread so far. Also the idea of keeping a diesel propulsion system in place is a viable option, but not one I want to propose to my donors as this is not the stated mission of the project at this time, promising to change the mission would defeat the purpose for crowdfunding reasons.
     
  8. FullyElectricAM
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Puerto Maldonado Peru

    FullyElectricAM Junior Member

    @Gonzo I also wanted to say, the only charging platforms used when the boat takes its maiden voyage will be Solar and AC charging, the other platforms will still be in development unless the funding reaches a higher level. All the charging platforms except the Solar Panels will be designed and built by my team, and we are expert at this with re-purposing many local items for our parts on previous projects. On Board gasification will take considerable time and much more research for example, Wind not so much. We will slowly add platforms as we go on.
     
  9. kerosene
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: finland

    kerosene Senior Member

    Small wind turbines have infinite payback time - even in good spot, let alone below treetops. Solar barely makes sense ever without subsidies. Carrying tens of tons of batteries to be green is quite questionable. What is used for creating grid AC in those parts? Diesel generators? I hope not too often...

    As nice as electric powertrain is on idea level more often than not its far less green than smartly designed comparable diesel. Of course its much less media sexy to sell responsibly designed slower ecological diesel ship vs. silent e-driven one. Even if true apples to apples comparison said that diesel was better for the environment.
     
  10. kerosene
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    kerosene Senior Member

    Oh by the way. You need a naval architect to design a 200 ton ship. He can come up with all the questions that need to be answered to answer your original question.
     
  11. FullyElectricAM
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Puerto Maldonado Peru

    FullyElectricAM Junior Member

    Thank you for your help kerosene. What is the lowest tonnage cargo ship I can design without an architect? I can try to source an architect through my donor list, one that will work pro-bono, but I wonder at the question.

    As for how green electric is, I feel that is not the best thing to decide in this post. Electricity is infinitely greener than Diesel in that it does not rely on drilling, transportation, or chemical refineries necessarily. Electricity can come from a multitude of sources, and thus it is incomparable to any fossil fuel in this respect. Diesel only comes from one source and is always controlled by massive corporations for production. As for the source of in port AC, that is also probably Diesel or another hydrocarbon model. However that is something we are working to change with the project. The first step is building the boat, far after the boat has been built, the projects to install gasification plants, and other large scale electricity plants can produce the in town AC or at least supplement it, spreading changes in the AC system everywhere the river can carry us.

    I really did not think I would have to defend the mission statement on the ship so much here. Of all of the flat bottom boat designs I have perused not a single one had this much resistance to merely its idea. What I need more than anything to continue is the torque requirements for the propeller so I can find out what the electrical load is for the DC Motor, then design the battery system. I am doing my own research, though I thought it would be a more valuable use of my time to come to experts on this site. It seems I was wrong, in that I have spent more time defending green energy than building a boat on this site today. I will continue to bump the post, I do not give up easily.

    To be honest, I expected the netting and drag caused by hauling in trash to be the biggest problem with the mission statement, not the use of electricity as propulsion considering the US Navy has used electricity to produce propulsion for literally all of its modern existence since World War II! They use diesel and nuclear generators sure but their props run on electricity!

    I do appreciate all the time you have all put in on your replies, and you have questioned me with a respectful tone which I admire. For that you all deserve credit.
     
  12. FullyElectricAM
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Puerto Maldonado Peru

    FullyElectricAM Junior Member

    Explanation of all above edits: I have boldfaced all of the questions regarding design of the boat above. This is meant to make it easy for you to find the questions related to design of the boat instead of some of the more off topic issues raised in this thread.

    Of particular importance is: What is the torque requirements for moving the boat? Which is dependent on the design of the hull and the propeller used. I have also boldfaced the related proposed specifications, which were made by me. I am no expert in this regard so I ask you, who I do consider an expert, to make any suggestions for alterations to the design of the boat.

    Thank you for your participation.
     
  13. FullyElectricAM
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Puerto Maldonado Peru

    FullyElectricAM Junior Member

    As an action plan, I am going to start by going to schools that teach Naval Architecture and start emailing some Professors on this very subject asking for any students that want to donate their time to helping me with calculations and the like. I'll see what responses I get, but I will find a way to get this boat at least designed on paper. If anyone would like to help with this by recommending a good school or professor, I will be happy to accept your assistance. Or feel free to respond to the questions proposed.

    I will not be answering any more responses about sustainable fuel alternatives, the feasibility of batteries, or other off topic responses. I will continue to post in this thread to keep it bumped once or twice a day, while designing the boat, and then post other threads on the design of propulsion, and construction of the boat over the next 2.5 years. Maybe you fellas can come volunteer or be a passenger and see what its all about.
     
  14. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Seriously, trawling for plastic rubbish could only see a nett energy gain if the stream was incredibly polluted. Hard to imagine that would be the case. It might work on that giant Pacific plastic rubbish "island", but anywhere else ?
     

  15. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Vancouver

    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    Who knows what speed/distance/hp requirement,but of your 200 tons I'd bet 175 of that will be batteries which may take you for not that long of a distance.
    BTW,with those nets you'll be catching a lot of fish,getting snagged on logs,etc
     
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