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BARGES: All about barges and barging - building, buying, maintaining, equipment, handling on the water, etc.
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TOPIC: Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV?

Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 26 May 2020 14:07 #116237

Maybe the Wighlink hybrid ferry operator desires 100% power available during berthing? Hence leaving the diesel running.
My heart goes out to the skippers of barges with reversing diesels rather than gearbox's. To hear them approach, shut the engine down and glide before starting in reverse is impressive. To glide into a wharf or lock without the reassuring putter of the engine would stress me to no end.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 23 May 2020 18:59 #116175

  • Peter Cawson
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> I like the electromagnetic mooring arms!

Look - no crew!

The IOW ferry terminal has recently been equipped with MoorMaster vacuum / suction mooring equipment. 2 large pads that between them can accommodate the tide height changes during quite long periods of waiting between night crossings. I presume magnetic was ruled out for compass reasons, although it should be much easier and less costly on the face of it. www.youtube.com/watch?v=dldMrgI5FsY

Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 23 May 2020 16:36 #116174

  • Balliol Fowden
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The bunker tanker would seem to be what it says. Designed to bunker ships lying off ports or for "in flight" refueling perhaps. We have a conventional one in Falmouth. It doesn't need to travel far, just from the shore storage tanks to a mile or so out in Falmouth Bay or over towards the Lizard. It refuels a ship or two, then goes back onto its wharf in Falmouth Docks, so a good use for electricity.

I like the electromagnetic mooring arms!

Balliol.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 23 May 2020 15:35 #116173

  • Balliol Fowden
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Hope they got the stability calcs. right before putting those batteries right up on the top deck!

Balliol.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 23 May 2020 15:13 #116172

mvdirona.com/2019/10/return-to-sweden-2/

here is an example how electric can be put to use very well

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www.jan-kees.us
jan-kees.blog

Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 23 May 2020 15:04 #116171

  • Peter Cawson
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> And a battery 62m bunker tanker:

Interesting - There's no mention of how its massive 3500kWh battery is to be recharged,
The killer sentence is surely "There is no word about the range, but at half power (300 kW), the batteries will last for about 10+ hours."

Imaging building a conventional commercial ship fitted with a bunker tank with just enough capacity to potter at half power for 10 hours before running out of juice! Unless an all-electric vessel is plying the short distance from Point A to Point B (and never further) with charging points at both ends, 10 hours' running time would seriously effect its usefulness. And every 100 tons of battery is 100 tons less cargo it can carry on every trip.

Electric propulsion will come in one form or another but I can't imagine all-electric boats doing anything other than short-trip s with light loads - like ferries.

When Wightlink introduced its new "Hybrid" ferry about 18 months ago, I was expecting / hoping it would perhaps use its battery to approach and leave port (to minimise pollution to the local populations) and recharge while crossing the Solent. No, it has its diesel engine going constantly and apparently operating in the same manner as its older sisters, churning out noise and fumes from its funnel when manoeuvring at each end of its short journey!

Are all these commercial exercises just an industry ploy to stave off likely further legislation as long as possible?

Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 23 May 2020 09:29 #116158

This emerging LFP/Cobalt free battery tech could be very useful:
insideevs.com/news/424185/svolt-cobalt-free-li-ion-battery/

And a battery 62m bunker tanker:
insideevs.com/news/424752/oil-tanker-battery-electric-powertrain/

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Colin Stone
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www.luxe-motor-kei.co.uk
DBA - The Barge Association
DBA - De Binnenvaartvereniging
DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 22 May 2020 22:31 #116155

By coincidence, I've received an announcement from Energy Solutions about their new Waterworld product ( from the Netherlands). Designed to directly replace a trditional engine of up to 20HP it may not interest those of us with 120HP DAFs, etc, but indicates the direction things are going. How many batteries you might need - and the cost! - is quite another matter.

Pete
The following user(s) said Thank You: Peter Cawson

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Pete Milne, Quo Vadis , Gent.

Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 22 May 2020 15:47 #116136

The electric commercial barges (52m long and later to be 110m) are subsidised by the EU and others. It remains to be seen how successful they are. In better times, committed governments might give subsidies to pleasure boats to go , or to be built, electric. (AIS was an example). With the economy throughout the world being as it is, there is little hope of that in the near future I fear. More likely is introduction of strict emmissions controls for boats and emmission free zones etc.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 22 May 2020 14:55 #116135

  • Balliol Fowden
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Interesting Peter. There are other developments in the pipeline such as EC (Electronically Commutated) motors, again only available as yet in low outputs, but who knows what the future holds!

www.machinedesign.com/mechanical-motion-systems/article/21835874/whats-the-difference-between-ac-dc-and-ec-motors

You seem to think I have a fixation with copper, but my original comment was simply trying to make the point by quip that to get sufficient power from a big battery bank to a big electric motor (our notional 150HP / 112 KW) will still take some pretty heavy duty control gear, cabling etc., when in reality, for perhaps the majority of our cruising time we only need a much smaller amount of power, optimised for efficiency at say 25 - 40HP, hence less batteries, everything electrical smaller and lighter. It is only occasionally when manoeuvering that we need a much bigger amount of power, or for those odd days when one is pushing against a current and one needs to run at 100HP plus.

One point that has not been mentioned is whether Amsterdam (and subsequent cities) adopting an all-electric policy will accept hybrids. I haven't read or don't recall the answer to that, or indeed know exactly which waterways the legislation will apply to, but obviously it will spread.

The certainty is that technology will improve, and hydrogen may come round the corner (although I have not yet considered the implications of that amount of gas in a boat) so I for one will not be rushing out to invest at the moment, just so long as the trusty Daf keeps going. If however it blows up then a parallel hybrid with its limited battery needs will be by far the easiest retrofit.

Balliol.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 22 May 2020 13:51 #116132

  • Peter Cawson
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Early days but prospects for electric motors of one third the weight of conventional motors and with efficiencies of about 92% compared with 88% now must improve the viability of electric boats, whatever the technology upstream of the motor.

Balloil will like this - virtually no copper! This prototype only 3 hp, but if the technology is proven to work, no reason for not upping to 150 or 15000 HP ?

Story here - www.maritimejournal.com/news101/power-and-propulsion/pcb-stator-motors-are-a-third-of-the-weight-and-more-efficient

Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 21 May 2020 13:58 #116123

Hi all,
My first post for ages,this discussion is what I really like about the DBA . So many different ideas and takes on a subject.My first proper job was junior engineer on a coal fired steam work barge/dredger, named York City, on the London river,Thames that is. Then it was diesel then diesel electric, diesel hyd. and so on.As for all electric, I have only met one,Chris Fish's Catch "Catch Twenty Two", solar charged,very large battery bank powered 48VDC twin screwed wide beamed barge. Chris cruised the French canals with it for while.But it was very slow,ane not very handy,despite the twin screws,to close together. I think at present I will stick with my DAF, no electronics to go wrong,and almost impossible to repair,have to replace the faulty unit.Would I go back to steam? Well I don't think so,not coal anyway!

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 17:47 #116027

  • Peter Cawson
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> Is this what you were thinking of Peter? With 100kw max output

> www.fischerpanda.de/fischer-panda-variable-speed-hybrid-dc-generators.htm

Yes John, that's about how the system works although the Fisher Panda diagram doesn't say how powerful the propulsion motors are. I suspect quite small, so probably not suitable.

Good to see they do a 100 kW generator though, and I've always liked the idea of variable speed generators. The taxi method uses AC for the propulsion motor and FP seems to use DC - I have no idea of the pros and cons of AC vs DC - I'd investigate further if I was personally planning a new build - but In truth I'm not!

Also FP seems to use 48 V for their generators and batteries, so big heavy cables as Balliol suggested. I suspect taxis may use a much higher voltage. Everything is safe if designed, installed and maintained properly. The trauma of an accident such as a taxi crashing has obviously been catered for and boats generally don't crash as catastrophically as road vehicles!

Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 16:56 #116023

Is this what you were thinking of Peter? With 100kw max output

www.fischerpanda.de/fischer-panda-variable-speed-hybrid-dc-generators.htm

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 15:54 #116020

And another crippler:

"20 litres per hour total for all 3 generators
running simultaneously at normal cruising
speed."

I use 2.5 ltrs/hr!!!

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Colin Stone
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www.luxe-motor-kei.co.uk
DBA - The Barge Association
DBA - De Binnenvaartvereniging
DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 15:46 #116019

Here is one that was done earlier as they say. This award winning vessel ha a 110kw electric motor with two 55kw generators and a 16kw generator for the rest presumably. All supported by a 3000 Ah battery. She is currently. Moored at Cadogan Pier in London. The good news is she is up for sale for only £2.5 million. A bargain since the yard who built her in Holland says a new one would be £10 million. Pity she doesn’t run to a wheelhouse otherwise? For me a new one only exceeds my budget by about £10 million.

content.knightfrank.com/property/rvr190018/brochures/en/rvr190018-en-brochure-ba21ff0c-97c0-431a-8e87-7224fd212077-1.pdf


Ian

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 15:03 #116018

  • Peter Cawson
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A system that relies entirely on charging points is complete nonsense in a boat - even arguably a car unless it's just a city runabout and you have your own charging point at home - and a proper car as well!

The system I was describing (based on a London taxi but probably beefed up a bit) is completely self-sufficient.
When I last investigated Fischer Panda, they offered only low powered motors. Looking at their site now, they seem to concentrate on all-electric with only charging points to keep the system working, or electric motor as an auxiliary to a conventional propulsion engine > gearbox system. I don't favour either of these - and neither do the builders of electric work vehicles such as taxis or diesel-electric trains.

It'll be interesting to see how electric propulsion eventually settles down, both for vehicles and for boats.

Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 13:08 #116016

Nichols and possibly other operators have some electric hire boats and ceratainly round Saverne there are charging points. I agree though that if the number of all electric boats increases, there will never be enough charging points where you want them and there will always be the risk of running out of power in risky / adverse situations.
Those "driverless" ones do not appeal to me at all. (How do they tie up in locks?)

See the link below for smaller set ups including a generator.

www.fischerpanda.de/whisperprop-hybrid-drive-systems.htm

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 10:54 #116010

  • Balliol Fowden
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John Wilson wrote: People seem to have forgotten about the electric driverless barges announced last year:

www.electricvehiclesresearch.com/articles/16009/electric-container-barges-to-set-sail


Not forgotten John, but these barges are operating on between one and four 20’ containers full of batteries, lifted off and recharged at specific shore facilities by container handlers and massive charging installations. Will we be seeing heavy duty overnight charging facilities for pleasure barges beyond +/- 16 amp sockets in the near future? I have to mention also that I have seen these barges operating and they are noteworthy in that they are always travelling somewhat slower than the diesels , slipping along at most economical hull speed at the side of the channel. No bow wave. Range anxiety?

Personally I support the concept of all electric propulsion, just as I would happily buy an all electric car, if it could tow my trailers, cross fields, and still have sufficient range for a 300 mile working day, and then another 300 mile day the next day, sometimes an emergency call at the drop of a hat.

It is the ability to re-charge that is the problem. Peter C’s all-electric concept is great, but if we can agree that we need (want?) a big engine occasionally (but all day) in a big rivers cruising environment, and we don’t want to spend the night moored up to charging points (if we can find one), or find somewhere to exchange battery packs, then we have to have the big generator, in which case we have to have a degree of electrical complexity which goes beyond average mechanical skills. My hopefully pragmatic argument is that if we have to have that big engine then it might as well drive the propeller directly on those relatively few occasions when we need all the power. For the remainder of the time, most of the time, we use a smaller electric motor, and that is where the parallel hybrid is almost ideal. It would be a modestly sized installation, single screw, the right sized electric motor for most of our cruising, but with the grunt in hand for big rivers, no need for massive battery packs, a suitably sized generator for domestic needs (optionally) and, as a bonus, relative simplicity and a useful bit of redundancy.

Thinking about this as a hypothetical issue (since I am hoping our trusty Daf will see me out!) a parallel hybrid would be an easy retrofit in my sort of luxe motor engine room, including the battery boxes, so it would make perfect sense.

Balliol.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 09:10 #116001

People seem to have forgotten about the electric driverless barges announced last year:

www.electricvehiclesresearch.com/articles/16009/electric-container-barges-to-set-sail

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 17 May 2020 04:51 #116000

I feel we are giving Peter C a hard time. The proposal is interesting and electric drive widely used in mining and transport. It is interesting that at present there is only one significant retailer of electric drive cars and there is debate as to that companies long term interest in producing their own range of electric drive vehicles.
An other issue is many electric drive vehicles operate at 300 or more volts. It's not a simple case of using a conventional generator to charge the battery ( at 300v) without some kit. Then reducing 300v ( or whatever) to 24 or 12v for domestic use also requires kit.
At times it is difficult enough getting a service person to a remote location to service a traditional installation. With more complexity the number of service people reduce in number compounded by the current environment where crossing borders is not permitted.
For me , the key is to have a 'limp home' status the boat can be managed and operated on until service can be arranged.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 16 May 2020 20:17 #115995

  • Balliol Fowden
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Peter Cawson wrote: Thanks Balliol. Agree some of your points but hopefully with the automotive industry working hard to "reinvent the wheel" as far as electric propulsion is concerned - and the much lower costs of "off-the-shelf" parts that may be easily transposed into an inland waterways vessel, hopefully this technology is worth reconsidering.

A few misunderstandings there Peter!
> The conundrum we have is that for much of the time we require much less power to drive our boats, hence all the previous threads on smaller wing engines etc., so a smaller motor (of any type) would suffice for much of our barging.

I don't think so. With the 150 HP generator, it will only start up when the battery has discharged to X% and will run at efficient full 150 HP output (to offer best economy and longest service interval) and will switch off when the battery reaches 100%. This will take a short time if pottering along and dragging 25 HP from the battery, or all day if plugging against an adverse current or crossing the Channel.

>>I’m not sure how efficient a 150 hp electric motor is running at 25 hp.?

> A 150 HP (112 kw) motive power requirement totally via electrics will I think require a massive system with tonnes of copper, and lots of complexity to cope with the disparity between the various conflicting demands (voltage/AC/DC) for electric propulsion and for domestic needs (say 15 kw / 20 HP for the latter).

A 150 HP generator is an off-the-shelf item with no extra copper for being installed on an electric boat. Hopefully developments in DC-AC conversion (if that’s how this technology works), control systems, etc offer much more efficiency and lower costs than in the 1980s.

>>. I was referring to the size of cabling and controls necessary between batteries and motor.. Everything has to be much bigger for those relatively few running hours where full sustained power is required.

> In terms of other electrical requirements we are moving into a situation where a solar energy system via batteries and inverters can supply most of our needs, but not always.

Yes, but only for domestic power requirements, not propulsion. Add panels to the "taxi" system, but this is relatively a drop in the ocean.

>> I was referring to domestic needs, not motive power.

> We also worry with justification about redundancy and reliability, i.e. dependency upon a single power source.

Most of us prefer a single propulsion engine and accept the tiny risk of a major problem and live with it. With regular servicing and modern reliable engines, this is rare. The "taxi" parts (electric motor, battery, control system) have to be equally reliable - as I'm sure cabbies will insist on!

>>. I was actually referring to general requirements, not just motive power, but if there is a spin off in terms of “get you home“ capability then clearly this is a further advantage. Single engines are usually preferred since a single centreline prop is generally regarded as best inland. Most would “prefer” a second engine if it were practicable, which a parallel hybrid will provide on one shaft. I have a bow prop that will drag the ship along, and it saved the day once.

> If not cruising for a few days but off-grid then of course solar could meet most of our needs. One would not want to be running the 150HP “generator” just for domestic electrical supplies or to charge domestic batteries.

Ah, but with the huge battery capacity (compared with our typical puny 6x110 Ah domestic systems) one could probably exist for weeks without the need to recharge, especially if supplemented by solar. And if and when one does need the generator, a 150 HP one will do the work quickly and still be doing so at its efficient full output.

>>. That depends whether you are happy to be running dishwashers, washing machines, immersion heaters, compressor, welder etc. through inverters. Personally I prefer to tun the heavy loads directly off the generator where permissible, but not a 150 hip generator.

> A separate smaller generator, e.g. 15kw, would be a suitable back-up, would supply domestic needs when necessary, and would charge the batteries sufficient for low speed electric propulsion over a short distance if there were to be a failure in the main engine. A small generator will be much easier to totally cocoon and render “super-silent” for domestic purposes.

Completely unnecessary if the main generator is switching in and out only when the battery is calling for a recharge. We don't have back-ups for our propulsion engine, nor for our generator, so why have one for this all-purpose generator?

>>. All this depends upon battery capacity, and a very large battery capacity is expensive to install and periodically replace. I would prefer the smaller capacity that a hybrid system would manage with, and the extra redundancy both for domestic and motive power purposes cannot be a bad thing.
> Also do not be fooled into thinking that electric power is silent: there are still all sorts of noises such as from shafting, propeller & turbulence that you only start to hear once the diesel engine is turned off, and they are not such nice noises!

Some people like the continuous droning from a diesel engine, but ask any sailor what he most looks forward to and 99% will say "switching off the engine once the sails are set". And isn't it nice even for diesel-heads when their generator can be turned off?

I agree there are lots of other noises with electric boats - the water rippling past their hulls, the birds singing, the breeze rustling through the trees, the fish jumping and other sounds we normally can’t hear! But there will still be periods when the 150 HP engine is working to recharge the battery, so those who like engine noise should still be happy - but for far fewer hours per day!

>>. Yes, silence is lovely. I started on horse boats and have sailed a fair bit. Have you been on any electric boats? Some are great, but many suffer from shaft noise, propeller noise and turbulence noises. All these can be overcome if the initial design is right, but more to think about and pay for.

Balliol.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 16 May 2020 20:16 #115994

  • Balliol Fowden
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Peter Cawson wrote: Thanks Balliol. Agree some of your points but hopefully with the automotive industry working hard to "reinvent the wheel" as far as electric propulsion is concerned - and the much lower costs of "off-the-shelf" parts that may be easily transposed into an inland waterways vessel, hopefully this technology is worth reconsidering.

A few misunderstandings there Peter!
> The conundrum we have is that for much of the time we require much less power to drive our boats, hence all the previous threads on smaller wing engines etc., so a smaller motor (of any type) would suffice for much of our barging.

I don't think so. With the 150 HP generator, it will only start up when the battery has discharged to X% and will run at efficient full 150 HP output (to offer best economy and longest service interval) and will switch off when the battery reaches 100%. This will take a short time if pottering along and dragging 25 HP from the battery, or all day if plugging against an adverse current or crossing the Channel.

>>I’m not sure how efficient a 150 hp electric motor is running at 25 hp.?

> A 150 HP (112 kw) motive power requirement totally via electrics will I think require a massive system with tonnes of copper, and lots of complexity to cope with the disparity between the various conflicting demands (voltage/AC/DC) for electric propulsion and for domestic needs (say 15 kw / 20 HP for the latter).

A 150 HP generator is an off-the-shelf item with no extra copper for being installed on an electric boat. Hopefully developments in DC-AC conversion (if that’s how this technology works), control systems, etc offer much more efficiency and lower costs than in the 1980s.

>>. I was referring to the size of cabling and controls necessary between batteries and motor.. Everything has to be much bigger for those relatively few running hours where full sustained power is required.

> In terms of other electrical requirements we are moving into a situation where a solar energy system via batteries and inverters can supply most of our needs, but not always.

Yes, but only for domestic power requirements, not propulsion. Add panels to the "taxi" system, but this is relatively a drop in the ocean.

>> I was referring to domestic needs, not motive power.

> We also worry with justification about redundancy and reliability, i.e. dependency upon a single power source.

Most of us prefer a single propulsion engine and accept the tiny risk of a major problem and live with it. With regular servicing and modern reliable engines, this is rare. The "taxi" parts (electric motor, battery, control system) have to be equally reliable - as I'm sure cabbies will insist on!

>>. I was actually referring to general requirements, not just motive power, but if there is a spin off in terms of “get you home“ capability then clearly this is a further advantage. Single engines are usually preferred since a single centreline prop is generally regarded as best inland. Most would “prefer” a second engine if it were practicable, which a parallel hybrid will provide on one shaft. I have a bow prop that will drag the ship along, and it saved the day once.

> If not cruising for a few days but off-grid then of course solar could meet most of our needs. One would not want to be running the 150HP “generator” just for domestic electrical supplies or to charge domestic batteries.

Ah, but with the huge battery capacity (compared with our typical puny 6x110 Ah domestic systems) one could probably exist for weeks without the need to recharge, especially if supplemented by solar. And if and when one does need the generator, a 150 HP one will do the work quickly and still be doing so at its efficient full output.

>>. That depends whether you are happy to be running dishwashers, washing machines, immersion heaters, compressor, welder etc. through inverters. Personally I prefer to tun the heavy loads directly off the generator where permissible, but not a 150 hip generator.

> A separate smaller generator, e.g. 15kw, would be a suitable back-up, would supply domestic needs when necessary, and would charge the batteries sufficient for low speed electric propulsion over a short distance if there were to be a failure in the main engine. A small generator will be much easier to totally cocoon and render “super-silent” for domestic purposes.

Completely unnecessary if the main generator is switching in and out only when the battery is calling for a recharge. We don't have back-ups for our propulsion engine, nor for our generator, so why have one for this all-purpose generator?

>>. All this depends upon battery capacity, and a very large battery capacity is expensive to install and periodically replace. I would prefer the smaller capacity that a hybrid system would manage with, and the extra redundancy both for domestic and motive power purposes cannot be a bad thing.
> Also do not be fooled into thinking that electric power is silent: there are still all sorts of noises such as from shafting, propeller & turbulence that you only start to hear once the diesel engine is turned off, and they are not such nice noises!

Some people like the continuous droning from a diesel engine, but ask any sailor what he most looks forward to and 99% will say "switching off the engine once the sails are set". And isn't it nice even for diesel-heads when their generator can be turned off?

I agree there are lots of other noises with electric boats - the water rippling past their hulls, the birds singing, the breeze rustling through the trees, the fish jumping and other sounds we normally can’t hear! But there will still be periods when the 150 HP engine is working to recharge the battery, so those who like engine noise should still be happy - but for far fewer hours per day!

>>. Yes, silence is lovely. I started on horse boats and have sailed a fair bit. Have you been on any electric boats? Some are great, but many suffer from shaft noise, propeller noise and turbulence noises. All these can be overcome if the initial design is right, but more to think about and pay for.

Balliol.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 16 May 2020 16:15 #115981

  • Peter Cawson
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Thanks Balliol. Agree some of your points but hopefully with the automotive industry working hard to "reinvent the wheel" as far as electric propulsion is concerned - and the much lower costs of "off-the-shelf" parts that may be easily transposed into an inland waterways vessel, hopefully this technology is worth reconsidering.

> There is no escaping that. In their present form batteries cannot reasonably or viably store enough energy to drive a barge all day against the stream on a big river at a proper speed, so a large charging or immediate motive power capacity will be needed, I suspect sufficient to provide a constant “charge” equating to the majority of 150HP.

Yes, fully agree, so the generator needs to be able to provide the battery with the same amount of juice that the drive motor drags from it. In this case, nominally 150 HP

> The conundrum we have is that for much of the time we require much less power to drive our boats, hence all the previous threads on smaller wing engines etc., so a smaller motor (of any type) would suffice for much of our barging.

I don't think so. With the 150 HP generator, it will only start up when the battery has discharged to X% and will run at efficient full 150 HP output (to offer best economy and longest service interval) and will switch off when the battery reaches 100%. This will take a short time if pottering along and dragging 25 HP from the battery, or all day if plugging against an adverse current or crossing the Channel.

> A 150 HP (112 kw) motive power requirement totally via electrics will I think require a massive system with tonnes of copper, and lots of complexity to cope with the disparity between the various conflicting demands (voltage/AC/DC) for electric propulsion and for domestic needs (say 15 kw / 20 HP for the latter).

A 150 HP generator is an off-the-shelf item with no extra copper for being installed on an electric boat. Hopefully developments in DC-AC conversion (if that’s how this technology works), control systems, etc offer much more efficiency and lower costs than in the 1980s.

> In terms of other electrical requirements we are moving into a situation where a solar energy system via batteries and inverters can supply most of our needs, but not always.

Yes, but only for domestic power requirements, not propulsion. Add panels to the "taxi" system, but this is relatively a drop in the ocean.

> We also worry with justification about redundancy and reliability, i.e. dependency upon a single power source.

Most of us prefer a single propulsion engine and accept the tiny risk of a major problem and live with it. With regular servicing and modern reliable engines, this is rare. The "taxi" parts (electric motor, battery, control system) have to be equally reliable - as I'm sure cabbies will insist on!

> If not cruising for a few days but off-grid then of course solar could meet most of our needs. One would not want to be running the 150HP “generator” just for domestic electrical supplies or to charge domestic batteries.

Ah, but with the huge battery capacity (compared with our typical puny 6x110 Ah domestic systems) one could probably exist for weeks without the need to recharge, especially if supplemented by solar. And if and when one does need the generator, a 150 HP one will do the work quickly and still be doing so at its efficient full output.

> A separate smaller generator, e.g. 15kw, would be a suitable back-up, would supply domestic needs when necessary, and would charge the batteries sufficient for low speed electric propulsion over a short distance if there were to be a failure in the main engine. A small generator will be much easier to totally cocoon and render “super-silent” for domestic purposes.

Completely unnecessary if the main generator is switching in and out only when the battery is calling for a recharge. We don't have back-ups for our propulsion engine, nor for our generator, so why have one for this all-purpose generator?

> I am impressed by member Lynn Woods’ hybrid installation in his first cruise boat “Natalia,” developed by Graeme Hawksley of Hybrid Marine, and perhaps we could persuade him to comment.

I'd be interested in the technology used by Hybrid Marine on IOW and installed on Lynn's vessel.

> Also do not be fooled into thinking that electric power is silent: there are still all sorts of noises such as from shafting, propeller & turbulence that you only start to hear once the diesel engine is turned off, and they are not such nice noises!

Some people like the continuous droning from a diesel engine, but ask any sailor what he most looks forward to and 99% will say "switching off the engine once the sails are set". And isn't it nice even for diesel-heads when their generator can be turned off?

I agree there are lots of other noises with electric boats - the water rippling past their hulls, the birds singing, the breeze rustling through the trees, the fish jumping and other sounds we normally can’t hear! But there will still be periods when the 150 HP engine is working to recharge the battery, so those who like engine noise should still be happy - but for far fewer hours per day!

Anyway, I was dead against the idea of electric propulsion for boats and still am for some systems, but I'm warming to this simple single internal combustion engine system that requires the engine to run for about a quarter the time the vessel is underway and probably never when moored up. Previously I used to favour the much less efficient type of diesel-electric system used in trains with continuous running of the engine and no huge battery system; only our normal domestic one.

Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 14 May 2020 11:50 #115937

  • Balliol Fowden
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I have no in-depth technical knowledge or understanding of this “electric v. mechanical dilemma.” I did look into diesel/electric in the early 1980’s but unlike Tam I never proceeded with that project, largely because we could not reconcile the advantages v. the disadvantages (debatable improved efficiency, extra complexity, cost etc.), and of course that was the pre-electronic age. I would still be dubious about the potential complexity of an “all-electric/electronic” system, especially for vessels cruising in remote areas where engineers can struggle to understand the existing systems we have.

In essence however if a barge needs let us say nominally 150 HP at the propeller for some forms of inland cruising then it will need a nominal 150HP motive power capacity whatever the actual drive arrangement is. There is no escaping that. In their present form batteries cannot reasonably or viably store enough energy to drive a barge all day against the stream on a big river at a proper speed, so a large charging or immediate motive power capacity will be needed, I suspect sufficient to provide a constant “charge” equating to the majority of 150HP.

A 150 HP (112 kw) motive power requirement totally via electrics will I think require a massive system with tonnes of copper, and lots of complexity to cope with the disparity between the various conflicting demands (voltage/AC/DC) for electric propulsion and for domestic needs (say 15 kw / 20 HP for the latter).

The conundrum we have is that for much of the time we require much less power to drive our boats, hence all the previous threads on smaller wing engines etc., so a smaller motor (of any type) would suffice for much of our barging.

In terms of other electrical requirements we are moving into a situation where a solar energy system via batteries and inverters can supply most of our needs, but not always.

We also worry with justification about redundancy and reliability, i.e. dependency upon a single power source.

A modern large diesel engine is relatively clean, particularly if only used when higher outputs are required, and conventional mechanical drive systems (such as PRM gear boxes) are understood by all, cheap and simple.

If not cruising for a few days but off-grid then of course solar could meet most of our needs. One would not want to be running the 150HP “generator” just for domestic electrical supplies or to charge domestic batteries.

A separate smaller generator, e.g. 15kw, would be a suitable back-up, would supply domestic needs when necessary, and would charge the batteries sufficient for low speed electric propulsion over a short distance if there were to be a failure in the main engine. A small generator will be much easier to totally cocoon and render “super-silent” for domestic purposes.

Thus my first port of call (if starting from scratch) would be a hybrid engine with a small back-up generator plus solar.

I am impressed by member Lynn Woods’ hybrid installation in his first cruise boat “Natalia,” developed by Graeme Hawksley of Hybrid Marine, and perhaps we could persuade him to comment.

And as Peter S says, there is something reassuring about the sound of an engine. Also do not be fooled into thinking that electric power is silent: there are still all sorts of noises such as from shafting, propeller & turbulence that you only start to hear once the diesel engine is turned off, and they are not such nice noises!

Balliol.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 14 May 2020 06:58 #115933

>If the cost.....
I look forward to visiting you when you have done this.

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Colin Stone
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DBA - The Barge Association
DBA - De Binnenvaartvereniging
DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 14 May 2020 05:59 #115932

We did this in the 80s at our yard, converting a 20m Thames lighter for use as a travelling puppet theatre on the London canals and Thames. We installed a BMC athwartships right at the very stern, leaving maximum space for the 'theatre'. The hull had been filled with about a foot of concrete as ballast and a flat floor before it came to us, and we constructed an outboard leg with the electric motor, giving maximum manoeuvrability for what was a very heavy and rather ungainly vessel. It proved extremely successful and is still in operation today.

Tam

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 14 May 2020 01:53 #115930

Peter, you are correct highlighting the benefits of a separate electric drive motor plus the benefit of installing the IC engine where ever you wish. Some minesweepers and commercial barges have the engine on the main deck.
The down side is the conversion losses from the IC to electricity ,approx 9% from Wikipedia , electricity to storage, storage to drive motor, approx 9% from Wikipedia . Whereas a mechanical gearbox is about 9%.
It may have benefits puttering along the slow canals however on the long runs on big rivers I would see the gearbox as more efficient.
Where the gearbox gets complicated is where modern turbo diesels suffer on continued use at light loads ( slow canals) and prefer operating at a reasonable load. Mind you the fuel use per kW graphs I see seem to be reasonably flat across the rpm range so higher loads seem to be more related to turbo longlivity and emissions than fuel use.
Apart from that I do, really do, like the sound of my old dirty 700rpm cruise at 8kmh engine ( whose fuel use graph looks lower than some modern clean engines). Not a Gardner but of the same ilk.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 14 May 2020 00:56 #115929

  • Peter Cawson
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> Regeneration from a prop shaft - non. There is too much slippage

Agreed - as I said - waste of effort

> It is called an engine. For leisure use a complete waste of money,

If the cost of installing an electric motor, battery system, a single generator and controls can match the conventional cost of installing a main engine, gearbox and generator( or even get near it), there is surely the big saving in running and maintenance costs with the generator always operating at its most efficient - and there always being plenty of stored battery capacity to never have to run the generator when moored up?

Just a thought!
Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 14 May 2020 00:20 #115928

>"True but irrelevant"

Glad I didn't have your maths teacher. Regeneration is what makes urban vehicles work.
Regeneration from a prop shaft - non. There is too much slippage. There is, generally, no slippage with rubber tyres on a road!!

>but with an auxiliary generator powerful enough to keep pace with the rate of discharge,

It is called an engine. For leisure use a complete waste of money, unless you like tinkering with very deep pockets.
Commercial uses do have an application.

The wheel is getting reinvented here.

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Colin Stone
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DBA - The Barge Association
DBA - De Binnenvaartvereniging
DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 14 May 2020 00:05 #115927

  • Peter Cawson
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"True but irrelevant" as my math teacher would say. Yes, regeneration does improve electric vehicle range but that doesn't change the case for electric motors to drive a propeller. Yes, the battery will discharge after a while - dependant on the battery size, but with an auxiliary generator powerful enough to keep pace with the rate of discharge, the system will work indefinitely. The engine will trip in and out but will always be operating at its most efficient - never ticking over as most of our engines inefficiently do most of the time!

Thinking about it, one could include a regeneration system in a boat. Go into neutral when approaching a lock and the boat's forward motion will continue to rotate the prop - use this to charge the battery. Possible but not worth the effort!

Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 13 May 2020 23:17 #115926

The taxi powerpack works in urban driving because of the frequent regeneration as the vehicle slows. Which greatly increases range. The BMW i3 is one pedal driving; lift of the throttle and regeneration just about completely stops the car. Mechanical braking is rarely required.
The same won't happen in a barge.

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Colin Stone
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DBA - The Barge Association
DBA - De Binnenvaartvereniging
DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 13 May 2020 22:05 #115924

  • Peter Cawson
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Yes. They claimed the glue joint was stronger than the metal itself, but when they did the tension test, it was the joint that broke rather than the aluminium strip. However this must be good at minimising the rattles and creaks one hears in all cars. Lots of glue in the Morgan +6 that was featured last week. Not much different in looks compared with my 1953 Triumph-powered Morgan +4.

It struck me that this type of electric propulsion could be suitable for use in barges. I had thought that conventional diesel-electric (as used in trains with no propulsion battery) would be best but I'm having second thoughts and now think that the method used in taxis would probably be best. Not hybrid where an engine is directly coupled to the prop shaft to add to the electric motor's contribution.

Peter

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 13 May 2020 20:04 #115923

Intersting to see them using adhesives to glue the body together. Apparently stronger than welding.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 13 May 2020 11:18 #115915

  • Derek and Janice Wallace
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Hi, as with any of these ideas is how you get and modify the software that runs the system.
In vehicles it's usually integrated with lots of other stuff. i.e. air con, door locks etc. If the "computer" doesn't see the rest of the vehicle nothing happens or goes into "limp mode"
You'd end up with a bespoke installation that no engineer would want to touch. Quite apart from resale values.

Derek
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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 13 May 2020 01:53 #115912

Or look at the drive chain from a Mercedes Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid truck.
You get a 160kw Om924 diesel plus a 44kw water cooled motor mounted after the clutch but prior to the gearbox and Lithium battery pack. The engine is Euro V or VI complient.
Built for commercial use and possibly available from scrapper yards.

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Did Anyone Watch "How to Build a London Cab" on Monday's TV? 13 May 2020 00:34 #115911

  • Peter Cawson
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The new TX London cab is electric with a small petrol "range extender" engine and of course designed for a long and tough service life. The programme showed some features of this technology and I thought it may be useful to anyone considering a new build or to re-engine an existing vessel.

The taxi has an all-electric drive so the engine is simply a generator that fires up when the batteries run low. It doesn't "supplement" the battery's power, so there is never more power available than the 110 kW Siemens electric motor can provide. If this 110 kW can be relied on for continuous running and the usual kW to bhp factor is used, that's 147 bhp - enough for all but the largest barges probably. Otherwise twin motors for more power and redundancy could be installed. The DC is converted to AC to supply the motor, but no mention was made of the battery or motor voltages apart from being "high voltage".

The 33 kilowatt hour battery pack used in the taxi weighs 350 kG but this wouldn't move a vessel far, so possibly 2 or 3 packs would be needed. The petrol engine (chosen in favour of diesel for quietness, environmental reasons and city regulations) is a 1.5 litre 3 cylinder 81 bhp Volvo-based one, although something a bit more powerful would probably be needed to support the batteries in a barge.

I just thought that this may be the sort of technology suitable for an inland waterways vessel that needs relatively low power, but for long periods of time. As the engine does nothing but recharge the battery, it’s presumably set to run at its optimum speed for fuel efficiency and minimum maintenance. Perhaps a petrol engine in barges of the future should be considered in favour of our beloved noisy and dirty diesels for propulsion and power generation! Or a diesel generator could be used instead. One would certainly try to avoid having 2 internal combustion engines, so considerably reducing the total installation cost.

If LEVC are installing these systems in large numbers, perhaps the cost is now more reasonable. Whether the battery pack, DC-AC converter, electric motor and engine are available off-the-shelf as a system or individually on the OEM market I don't know, but I'd be seriously inclined to look into this if I was still looking to build from scratch.

Peter
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