UNESCO joins Energy Observer, the first hydrogen ship

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by schakel, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    The electrolysis cells are pretty light, it not a problem. A true good cell has little in common with the very crude cells we seein Internet. There are several tricks ffffor improving the efficiency

    It's also a storage problem. The production of hydrogen is not constant and do not match with the needs so you must absolutely stock the hydrogen. The energetic cost of producing hydrogen is known, they will be using salt water that means you must be first desalinate the sea water or there will be a problem of chlore and corrosion...

    So the problem is to know if the complication and losses induced by the added steps of production, storage and use of the hydrogen solve efficiently at a decent cost the classic batteries weakness, ie price, futur shortage of the elements for the fabrication, and weight.
    The hydrures or other solutions must be made with common materials as silicon or magnesium or it will come back to the problem of the price and shortage of rare elements.
     
  2. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    I don't see the storage issue as being relevant to cruising boats - maybe day tripping boats are a completely different ballgame as you only need to store energy for 1 day.
    But for a long distance cruising boat - the problem is the capacity for energy harvest or collection or generation, not energy storage. Most boats cannot collect enough energy to meet their on board consumption needs without even considering propulsion. If you include propulsion - you end up with a floating solar farm or sailboat - neither of which needs to store much energy as they use it all up on a daily basis.
     
  3. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    this is the real area of development that I find interesting;
     
  4. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    If you are talking about the kites, they have tried Kites on commercial ships, with less than stellar results.
    They are, after all, just sails on longer strings. That little bit of rag on the huge boat is just a toy.

    If you are talking about the Solar Cells, then that's got more potential, but the storage against night or other lack of sun events is the killer there. Being able to store the residue is the challenge.

    Volvo were experimenting with "body panel batteries"

    Using thinform solid batteries as part of a boat hull would be an interesting exercise.
     
  5. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    yes the kite technology... the wind can provide much more power than anything else this boat will see. The proof is in the round the world sailing records of around 40 days at a total average speed in excess of 20kts. Youll never get anywhere near close to that on solar...
    I know the challenges facing kites on boats - ive been an avid kitesurfer for 20 years so I understand the challenges better than most. I predict their kite will not last more than a few flights before they destroy it :) luckily they will be able to make repairs in 101 stops around the world :)
     
  6. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

    They have a budget almost beyond belief. So they buy a lot of sets of kites.
     
  7. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    You're probably right :)

    The thing thats so appealing about kites is they are very lightweight, dont require any standing rigging on the boat, dont require any of the traditional deck hardware and so provide a very light weight and low cost means of thrust.
    A system can be added to almost any boat, and they provide an enormous amount of power for their size- more than that of an equal size sail.

    The potential gains are huge for the above reasons but challenges are also many.

    Challenges include - reliability- its easy to break, crash into the water and foul lines around appendages etc.
    Control- they need active and intelligent control if maximum power is to be extracted from a given size. This is where most development needs to occur for use on boats. People provide the control and intelligence when used by kitesurfers but that would be very tiresome/boring on a boat system - it has to be automated and that requires both good software and hardware to make it happen.
    Utility- kites cant be flown reliably in very light winds- they fall out of the sky. Same goes for shifty or flukey winds around bluffs and islands etc the risk is damage or a crash into water.
    There's probably many other issues i could think of but suffice to say its a complex problem not easily solved and will most always need some form of back up power when conditions are not favourable.
     
  8. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    The system is totally useless on a small boat, too bulky, too complex, too heavy, not enough power. It will be maybe interesting, if the concept works on stationary isolated stations and boats of a certain size, at least 200-300 feet f you want some usable space and loading capacity in the ship.
    Longer and bigger is the boat more efficient is it says Yoda. The biggest cargo ships need only one HP per three metric tons of weight to sail at 18 knots...imagine a big SUV going at 20 mph with ONE HP,the power of a medium sized drill..
    As the combustible used on big ships, the bunker oil, is a pollution disaster and that the new IMO rules are putting pressure, the shipping companies are now interested by alternative solutions. Hydrogen production and storage could be interesting as you could save the weight of the tanks and the old design diesel engines.
    A big ship has tanks weighting several thousands metric tons of bunker...and the engines can weight until 2700 metric tons using a space in the boat of 30mX16mX16mfor the biggest one.
    Remain that you need a certain capacity of storage and it is not one day only, it ¡s far more for simple security issues and common sense..
     
  9. IronPrice
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    IronPrice Senior Member

    That's great, but batteries are still too heavy and slow to charge. Because of this daily range is severely hampered in electric vehicles. Has anyone built a battery powered, ocean going vessel capable of 24/7 continuous running?
     
  10. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    False the budget is pretty tight, and it ¡s insured only until 2020. It's nothing beyond belief when you know that a F1 season is half billion dollars, football clubs have budgets by billions of euros, and buy players until 250 million euros, a F22 fighter costs more than 400 million dollars, and that a Hollywood movie may cost more than 100 millions bucks. Even a top notch thoroughbred stallion is syndicated (and insured...) for something between 25 to 60 million dollars, and will breed for a modest sum between 15 to 60000 bucks by mare...And he breeds 100 mares each year. That ¡s a good life
     
  11. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    Y
    Yes- it was called planet solar and it circumnavigated the globe many years ago at a very modest speed. It demonstrated that the available energy from the sun is nowhere near that available from sails in the wind. Sail boats circumnavigate the globe faster than engine driven boats. 2 ultime trimarans just recently beat the QM2 cruise ship back across the Atlantic in around 4 days, the same boats crossed the indian ocean at a mean average speed for the entire +5000 nautical mile crossing in excess of 38 knots! This demonstrates the power available through sails is enourmous and solar is light years behind... talking about storing energy from renewables generated onboard boats is a side show, the real use for energy storage is like ilan voyager says- generate the power via the grid then load it onto the boats for consumption as fuel cell- now that makes sense. Its no cleaner tho- if the damn grid is burning fossils to do it, it has to come from renewables elsewhere to be cleaner... and if the conversion is not efficient - then youll need alot more generation capacity compared to batteries fed by the same source...

    So this discussion ive kept in context pertaining to boats- not cars or base load utility power or other uses etc. Clearly hydrogen fuel cells have some advantages to batteries. My comments are relating to this paricular boat- the energy observer- and that the problem they face is not energy storage but generating enough energy ij the first place is the biggest problem. The solar wont give them much, neither will the wind turbines, so they must keep their speeds very slow. The same boat - previously fitted with sails- could easily exceed 30 kts and broke the outright round the world record at that time. This cements the notion that this idea is more of a publicity stunt than about of demonstrating the usefulness of the technology for boats.
    Its obviously more about awarewness and tax write offs and sponsorship deals with a little bit of tech thrown in to keep people salivating :)
     
  12. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

  13. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

    Everything is relative as Einstein once said. It's still a pretty and luxurious boat to sail with.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    Cars are a different ballgame tho... the amount of energy required is nothing compared to a boat and the available real estate to collect the renewable energy. A solar boat struggles to sustain 10kts... sailboats have crossed oceans at nearly 40 kts average. Why dont we talk about sailboats as viable transportation or freighters - is it just because weve been doing it for hundreds of years and its not cool anymore?
     

  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Name one significant ocean voyage where a commercial sailing ship has averaged 40 knots for the voyage ???

    Nothing to do with cool - wind is not economical when time is a factor. Can you imagine trying to run the old windjammers these days and the insurance costs of getting men up those masts in heavy weather ?
     
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