New propulsion sytems for ships

Discussion in 'Propulsion' started by Guillermo, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. tugboat

    tugboat Previous Member

    Feel strongly somethin' has to get done

    It breaks my heart to see the damage here in canada emissions are doing, we used to get really bad (or good depending on your perception)winters. in the last ten years the weather has been eratic even raining in mid January, never saw that as a kid. so we as mariners have to figure out a solution to those issues. We can't take the complacency attitude. I was looking at Cousteau's society and his ideas for a funnel shaped sail. maybe hydroponics could be a solution for growing certain biofuel plants. anyway, i refuse to give in...there is a solution out there for maritime trade. hydrogen technology seems reasonable too.
     
  2. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    I do not see biodiesel as a solution for shipping, because of the limited amount of crops available to produce it and the secondary problems induced, as said by tugboat and mattotoole. I think it will be used mainly to reduce pollution in the big cities and the like, in countries where actual crops are available, using it for public transport. Maybe we'll also see a generalization in recreational boating, as enviromental regulaments for this activity are getting more and more stricts and the amount of fuel used by the fleets is not big.

    Nuclear is too expensive and dangerous for commercial shipping .

    Hydrogen based fuel cells are still expensive and bulky, but they will popularize in a not too far away future, if oil prices keep high, as it seems they will. Probably a long term future for shipping applications.

    For the time being I think a combination of techniques is already feasible and desirable:

    - The use of very efficient engines and working schemes, such as diesel-electric plants and superconducting motors (still an expensive technology) for not very big power applications and variable operating schemes, as happens in fishing fleets, i.e.
    - More efficient propellers, as CLT, composite's, etc.
    - Widespreading forms optimization through CFD and tank tests, avoiding hydrodinamically aberrant forms and excess of power as seen nowadays in some cramped fishing boats, i.e.
    - In certain cases using rigid or kite sails, as a complementary way of propulsion.
    - Alternative fuels as natural gas i.e., for certain applications.
    - Using solar panels for some appliances powering, such as electronics.
    - Connecting ships/boats to shore mains when at dock.
    ........

    Interesting engines as the Jirnov turbine are still in the developing stage, and may lead to further fuel savings.

    Cheers.
     
  3. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    ships, more ships, and new kinds of ships.

    I think, sooner or later, we are going to have to face the fact that we are using too many of this worlds resources and putting out way too much waste product.

    The implications of this are grim, but, with careful managment, I believe, liveable.

    There will be many casualties in this era of great change.

    I think of my grandfather and the world he grew up in. If he had told his parents in 1911 (when he was about 6) that someday, well within his life time, just about every American adult would own a motor car, people would be flying coast to coast in flying machines at the rate of about eight miles a minute, and that he, his children, and his grandchildren would be watching people walk on the moon, his parents would think he was crazy.

    Now I can imagine my Godson, now 4 years old, someday telling me that, well within his life time, only about one in five American adults will own a car, that all stored energy usage will be formally rationed, and that ecologist will replace economist as the primary arbiters of what goes on and does not go on in our society.

    If he does, I will be dismayed but not shocked.

    The transportation of goods, that can easily be made locally, over long distances in a timely fashon is, I believe, going to be an early casualty to tomorrows grimmer realities.

    Much of todays global corporatism, often refered to as 'globalism', is based on 20th, not 21st century assumptions. And these assumtions are:

    1.) That energy is always going to be cheap and plentiful,
    2.) That the accumulation of waste product, anything from toxic trash to greenhouse gasses, can be safely ignored, and
    3.) that there will always be a '3rd world' of poorer countries in which the richer countries can both extract the resources they have exhausted on their home turf and deposit the waste product they want to get rid of.

    21st century realities, I believe, are going to be somewhat different.

    The order of easy and reliable shipping is going to corrode much the way it did during the implosion of the Western Roman Empire. Nobody will be able to afford a navy to protect them. (the appearance of modern day pirates may be a symptom of this process already starting)

    Future motor ships will be powered much as they are today by diesel and/or its bio counterpart, but will have much smaller engines (less than 1 hp/ton) and, correspondingly, much greater armenment. These ships will carry huge bulk cargoes. Smaller ships, which may become quite numerous, will be either sail assisted or sail powered entirely. STORED energy use, such as hydro electric, biomass, fissionables, and fossil fuel, will be the energy use taxed and rationed. DIRECT energy use, such as wind and solar, will not be (but not for the lack of trying).

    In the words of a character in the novella I recently finished: "We need ships, more ships, and new kinds of ships."

    Just one wipe of my crystal ball.

    Bob
     
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  4. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

  5. Kiteship
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    Kiteship Senior Member

    Here's a good paper, recently presented to Congress, on how the US Navy intends to reduce fuel consumptioin (including nucs--and kites!) It is in PDF format: http://snipurl.com/po1i

    Also, May Popular Science has a good article on sail for commercial vessels, including our kites.

    Regarding biodiesel; I have a hard time imagining quadrupling the world's arable land (as I have read, to produce enough crops for biodiesel) while at the same time refusing to dig for tar sands and oil shale on environmental grounds.

     
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  6. Kiteship
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    Kiteship Senior Member

    Sorry, bumped the "Send" button.

    Coal conversion to diesel becomes profitable at about $40/barrel; much less expensive (and environmentally less intrusive) than biodiesel. US coal reserves >300 years of proposed US consumption.

    The military paper suggests nucs become profitable (for the military, which isn't necessarily similar to civilian use) at between $70 and $200/barrel, depending

    Sail power becomes similarly profitable at about $40/barrel for crude oil; kites (we argue) at about $25/barrel. i.e.: for some time now already.

    The likliest future includes sourcing energy from multiple places; at sea I expect one or another form of synthesized diesel, petro-diesel, sail assist and nuclear. Though I oppose nuclear for personal reasons, we must be practical and include it. I don't see hydrogen at sea (hydrogen isn't really an energy source, but more of an energy transfer device, like a battery), nor raw coal, for volume and energy density reasons. Practical considerations put nucs out several more decades, I believe, so for the short term, I see synthesized and petro diesel and residual oil, and sail assist. I don't see pure sail, except in the longest-term scenarios, and I certainly don't see slower ships or "retrograde" civilization. A good friend of miine, an economics prof, suggests that a real negative trend in the world's growth rate would instantly trigger world war--almost certainly nuclear.

    Sobering thought, but far from inevitable. The goal needs to be ever more efficiency, streamlined production and transportation, and increased productivity from the entire world. Our civilization is far from the peak in this sense.

    KiteShip
     
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  7. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Most interesting. Thanks, Dave.
     
  8. SeaSpark
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    SeaSpark -

    Combustion engines.

    My penny in this thread:

    Combustion engines either piston or turbine, burning bio or other fuels produce waste gases that will never be really clean.

    The yachting industry should be one of the first to adopt fuel cell technology. Engines in yachts are expensive anyway because they are not produced in large numbers. Most yachts are expensive compared to the engines that drive them.

    This means a fuel cell system could be implemented on a yacht in an early stage of development.

    Ronald O'Rourke must have visited boatdesign.net
     
  9. Kiteship
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    Kiteship Senior Member

    Fair enough, but fuel cells have yet to be brought below $1000/watt, installed cost; they'll need to drop by two orders of magnitude before we can afford them. Worse, they "burn" hydrogen, right? Most likely source for said hydrogen is... petroleum. That or very expensive electricity, dissociating water. Fuel cells, at their best, fundamentally do not solve the energy problem. Hydrogen = batteries. Once you realize that, you can see the futility of the concept.

    KiteShip

     
  10. SeaSpark
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    SeaSpark -

    Hydrogen production

    Hydrogen can be produced on shore by wind, wave, solar or geothermic power,

    If hydrogen is a sort of battery, development of efficient batteries is key to the succes of electric powered vehicles of any kind.
    Hydrogen could even be produced on board when there is a surplus of energy from a wind/tow generator or solar cells.

    Need more kite ships, i agree.
     
  11. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    The NA & ME Association in Galicia (NW Spain) has organized a conference on alternative propulsion systems on fishing boats, to be held in Vigo the 25th of May.
    We will discuss biodiesel, hydrogen, kites, diesel-electric, solar, new propellers, etc, etc. As I will preside the thing (so I'll have to carefully listen to everybody... :)), I promise to post in this thread what said there.
     
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  12. kjell
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    kjell Senior Member

  13. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Ship Propulsion & Energy Supply/Management

    Looking for more efficient ship propulsion concepts is all well and good, but one should realize that modern commerical container ships are really pretty efficient with their super big slow turning diesels and hulls operating at or below hull speed. Fast navy ships are very likely not nearly as efficent. Some of the big diesels also burn relatively lowly refined fuels.

    But in the scheme of things the total fuel burn by commerical ships is probably miniscule in comparision to our vehicle usage, and particularly that of the USA. If we really want to effect the conservation of our world's oil based energy supplies, this is the technology we really need to concentrate on in the short term. If we did nothing more than demand an increase of only 10% better fuel economy of our US vehicles, we could effect the supply-demand equation in a VERY substantial manner. And we could easily do this 10% without even decreasing the overall size of our vehicles....just decrease the cubic-inches a little.

    It's unbelievable that our Congress had the balls to pat themselves on the back when they passed the "comprehensive energy bill" a short while ago, that included practically no conservation, and only minimal acknowledgement of alternative research. I've preached for years now that we should divert a very small percentage of our budget and brain power devoted to building WMD into a national effort like our moon space program and really attack this alternative fuel vehicle question. Not only would it work to conserve our world's petroleum resources, but would result in some significant number of new technologies that we could likely export around the world.

    One big solution to our energy equation has to be 'storing energy'. We just don't have a lot of good storage capabilities, particularly as related to electrical energy. Many times we are forced to use as we generate it. Think of the possiblities if we could really efficiently store electrical energy. Our sun is a fantastic source of energy as it bombards us with it every day. But our collectors (solar cells) just don't have the capacity to give us the energy density we need to power up a lot of our energy consuming items. And we need better storage methods than our current crop of batteries.

    I have always had an interest in 'super flyweels' as a storage method ever since I learned of their original development by Johns Hopkins Labs years ago doing my college days. Hopkins wanted to put BIG flywheels (at the time low-tech weighted wheels) in underground chambers at power plants and have the excess energy available at night from these plants spin up the wheels so they could be called upon the next day during peak periods rather than turning on a 'peaking turbine'. And I began to follow their re-development in the late 90's as several parties sought to re-invent them for auto use. I was real excided when Chrysler sought to enter La Mans with a flywheel powered car.

    I still have a lot of old material stored away on this subject (before my computer days). But I believe if you simply 'google' "super flyweels" you will get a lot of info, for instance:

    http://www.answers.com/topic/flywheel-energy-storage

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel_energy_storage

    http://www.n-t.ru/tpe/ts/hpu.htm

    http://www.ntu.edu.sg/home5/PG01898441/flywheel.htm

    http://www.inc.com/magazine/19980601/939.html

    http://www.allpar.com/model/patriot.html

    http://www.rqriley.com/sld010.htm
     

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    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  14. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Most interesting post, Brian.
    Bringing things to boats, Could it be possible a mains-flywheel-alternate energy boat?
    The idea, for weekend use boats, i.e., coud be storing energy in a flywheel during the week by means of solar, wind and/or electric power supply from land, and then use that energy for weekend use, helping the main powering sytem, if not alone....:?:

    "According to information from the Livermore National Laboratory (USA), actively participating in development of hybrids for cars, specific energy capacitance of graphite super flywheels can reach 545 Wt h/kg, that by far outperforms modern sodium and sulphur batteries..."

    Maybe the hybrid mains-flywheel powering system could be like this:
    "A fuel cell (ECG) is connected to an electric engine. The electric engine consumes a small amount of power from the ECG and transfers it to the super flywheel of the flywheel energy storage, thus storing mechanical energy, required for propulsion. Then the torque from the super flywheel is transferred to the driving wheels through bevel gearing with clutch, shaft(s), power take-off box, reversal mechanism, planetary disc variator with supplementary gear-box, shaft and propeller..."
     

  15. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Gas from Water, (WaterFuel), HHO technology

    Just thought a cross reference was in order. Have a look at this technology, Gas from Water, (WaterFuel), HHO technology

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/showthread.php?p=88377

    This technology, with more than five years in research and development at Hydrogen Technology Applications Inc. (HTA), illustrates that the solutions to our energy and environmental woes may be in the common elements that surround us. The patented process safely generates a molecularly stable hybrid hydrogen/oxygen gas (Klein/HHO) on demand from water. The gas is extremely environmentally friendly in that it has no polluting subgases when burned and produces only pure water in vapor form. It is currently being used to cut, weld, solder and fuse such materials as metal, plastics, ceramics and glass in commercial as well as artistic applications
     
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