Solar Maximum

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by JonathanCole, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    I also think that name calling is offensive and inappropriate -but that has been covered.

    As for the solarwave 64, what I see is a power cat with maybe 30% more solar cells than common designs. The fact that there is no mention of the diesel generators I expect to find in the huge engine rooms in the aft of the floats is a mater of marketing. I would guess there is between 4 and 6 KW of rated solar panels, near flat, no tracking. If you compare the daily output to typical lifestyle of a couple that can afford a $3M boat and their 4 guests I think you will find that there is often nothing left to power the boat. The 6 to 7K would be possible for maybe 3 or 4 hours per clear sunny day with no wind or waves and no AC or refrigeration in the perfect season. The other 20+ hours the rich owners would bob about in the dark disappointed in their purchase.

    The current state of solar power is that it is an obvious benefit to include as much as practical to any boat that will spend significant time away from shore power because prices have declined so much. But solar is still a long way from being the soul source of power on boats.
     
  2. DennisRB
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    Troll!!! :p
     
  3. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Oh, good. Thought it might have been a hobgoblin. :p
     
  4. Scot McPherson
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    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    I find this thread interesting. What I find more interesting in the general sense is that we got away from Sail, because engines were more efficient and reliable and consistent in comparison to wind. We now find ourselves in many ways going backwards with things like trying to use solar to power large boats and ships, because once the designs are worked out so they work, about as reliable and consistent as wind. That's because wind is solar power that has been converted by the earth into mechanical power that we can harvest nearly directly with sails.

    With solar harvesters running electric motors, and even if stored in battery banks, you still have issues with systems breaking.

    Why isn't there research into a return to sail driven large transport? It would reduce our carbon footprints, and our reliance on fossil fuels. From what I understand, the solar ships only go about 5-8 kts, whereas a sailing ship of the same length can probably travel 15 kts or faster. Is there a good reason why a solar powered ship is better than a sailing ship that uses solar as an auxiliary power? Why aren't we (whomever we might be) focusing on simpler proven technology and augmenting it with solar?
     
  5. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Scot, the industry is currently exploring the wind-propulsion options much more than it is looking into the solar power. The elementary economic math is indicating the direction to follow.
    Try to google "wind assisted ship propulsion" and you will see how broad is the range of proposed technologies for future ships.
    Cheers
     
  6. Scot McPherson
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    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    Hey Daiquiri,
    yeah I see all that, but I still those proposals as classic models of complexification.

    Sail works, it works well...I think the engineers should begin focusing on perfecting hull shapes and sail plans that using modern materials to maximize the usefulness and lifecycle of the simple sail ship.
     
  7. DennisRB
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    The engineering/cost of building maintaining massive rig structures is so expensive that its cheaper to use fossil fuel. Thats why the sizes and structures need to be kept manageable and low maintenance. This means less than 100% wind propulsion. The shipping companies still need to run a schedule so sail assist makes a lot of sense IMO.

    Big fuel savings are to be had, and the cost of maintaining and building the systems needs to be worked out so there is an overall saving. I think in the next 20 years we will see a lot more wind assist and probably hardly any solar assist for shipping. Perhaps with the advent of large solar sails/kite sails the 2 could be incorporated together.

    [​IMG]

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  8. DennisRB
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    Also, the start of this thread showed some crazy looking wedge style solar mega yacht. The shape was said to be silly, but it was pointed out that this hull shape does exist. However powered by thousands of HP diesel engines to overcome its high drag. What point does the bulb bow serve on the solar version? It looks identical to the diesel version. Bulb bows like this work when the speed and load is always the same. Surely the speeds will be very low and changing all the time with solar propulsion so the bulb bow is suspect?
     
  9. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    There is another creature clogging up the internet that I see here -fake news, click-bait. Did anyone else notice that the Solarwave 64 page was loaded with advertisements in the slide show, but completely devoid of technical data to support claims that would be the breakthrough that a large population wants to believe?

    Clearly that page is intended to sell advertising, not boats!
     
  10. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Fossil fuel powered ships is a tough nut to crack but the economics could be completely upended with two policy changes
    -tax the fuel they run on -currently ship fuel is not taxed by international treaty
    -bring shipping to the same 'carbon tax' regime that economically developed nations are moving to.

    If shipping is considered the same as any other industry there would be an instant 20-30% increase in fuel cost -then the cost advantage would move to wind and solar. The current political environment questioning the value of globalization increases the 'risk' of these fuel cost increases.
     
    Dejay likes this.
  11. Scot McPherson
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    Scot McPherson Senior Member

     
  12. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Fuel is already overtaxed. The tax money collected for fuel has mostly been squandered on social programs having nothing to do with any form of transportation.
     
  13. Scot McPherson
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    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    maybe, but it's not expensive enough to stop shipping cargo
     
  14. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Fuel for ships is not taxed at all. You and I ,on the other hand, pay fuel taxes through the nose! Your politicians at work subsidizing the export of your jobs to third world countries.
     

  15. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

     
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