måndag 29 augusti 2016

Generation 4

It's time to say goodbye to generation 3 and present generation 4.

Generation 4 takes a huge leap in all areas, more power, more functions, more design work, more energy. For starters generation 4 is all liquid cooled, both the permanent magnet motor and the I.C.E is liquid cooled using two separate systems.

The transmission is updated with the latest and greatest from Goodyear, this makes it more more efficient and generates less noise. The Sevcon controller is a size bigger than in generation 3 and it uses a sine/cosine sensor in order to control the rotation of the electric motor. The sine/cosine sensor is much more precise than the older UVW hall sensor.

The tractions battery pack has been upgraded to 48V 160Ah and is controlled by a v.3 minibms. The minibms talks directly to the 1.5kW Elcon chager. I buzzer is also used to indicate high/low cell voltage.

 The biggest news regarding generation 4 is that the actual boat is being replaced. Linnea will be retired and Wilda will take her place.

Wilda is a Ockelbo B600 made in Sweden in 1980. She's  been thoroughly renovated and prepped for hybrid electric propulsion. Her measurements are:

LOA: 18 feet
Beam:  6.6 feet
Weight: 1250Kg

The drivetrain is located in front of the cabin. A straight shaft runs through the hull. The battery pack is divided into two 24V 160Ah banks connected in series. The two banks are located on opposite sides in the cabin.

The motor controller, charger, BMS and all other electronics are mounted on a "power wall" in the cabin.

I've installed a small radiator to aid the cooling of the electric motor. The radiator is placed at the bottom of the power wall shown in the picture above. The radiator uses three fans to extract the heat which will be much appreciated during our colder seasons.  

The plan is to perform initial sea trials in early spring 2017. The drivetrain has been thoroughly benched in the lab so I not to worried.

The picture above shows the power wall, the drivetrain and the dyno used to bench the system. The dyno can handle loads up to 10hk. It's amazing how little heat is generated by the electric motor when running at 160ah. The efficiency is VERY high, especially when compared to the I.C.E.

Another area that got much more attention in generation 4 is the dash board. I've worked closely with an industrial designer, http://akindustridesign.se/, in order to make the dash intuitive. The result is stunning.

The icons on the dash are cut out using laser and the surface is stainless steel. Lines are used to indicate what functions are are activated at each step, making the control of the boat more intuitive.
Stay tuned!

söndag 21 september 2014

Generation 3

What a wonderful summer! A lot has happened since last year. I spent the winter making improvements to the drivetrain and I am now proud to present generation three of my hybrid marine drivetrain. Last year the combustion engine was a 13hp diesel, giving approx. 10hp at 3000rpm. That size of motor is a good to propel the boat at hull speed and has a little extra power to do charging of the batteries.

Diesel engines are very robust and reliable. The downside is the noise level.

The gasoline engine runs quieter than the diesel so I decided to give it a try this year. Through my work with IVL – Swedish Environmental Research Institute (www.ivl.se) I came in contact with Briggs and Stratton (www.basco.com)  in Sweden. B&S are well known for their lawnmower engines but they also manufacture industrial engines, the Vanguard Series.

The B&S Vanguard 16hp in my test boat Linnea

The engines in the Vanguard family are truly state of the art engines, high quality, reliability and extremely well balanced. The 16hp engine features, electric start, spin-on oil filter, full lubrication, iron cylinder sleeves and more.

B&S Sweden saw the potential in my drivetrain and sponsored me whit the combustion engine for generation 3. Since my electric gearbox uses industry standard bolt patterns I was able to shift engine from diesel to gasoline without major redesign.
Another positive effect of using a gasoline engine is that there are alternatives when it comes to the fuel used. Since the drivetrain focuses on minimizing the environmental footprint it comes naturally to choose are fuel that is more “environmental friendly”. When working with IVL I came in contact with www.lantmannen.com who is the owner of Aspen Fuel www.aspen.se.

Aspen fuel is avaliable for 4-stroke and 2-stroke engines.
Aspen Fuel is the producer of alkylate petrol that is 99% cleaner than regular petrol. See http://en.aspen.se/About_alkylate_petrol for more information. After taking part of last year’s presentation of the hybrid drive train Lantmännen and Aspen Fuel decided to supply me with their Aspen4 fuel for this year’s testing.
Aspen’s Alkylate is the recommended fuel from B&S and there are more than one reason for that. Not only does it minimize the environmental foot print, it is also good for your engine. If you compare and engine that has been running only on Aspen with an engine that has been running on traditional fuel you will notice that the Aspen engine has less build up in the head and cylinder. This is because Aspen gives you a cleaner burn.
In order to secure the quality of the electric part of the drivetrain I also shifted the electric motor controller from Kelly http://www.kellycontroller.com to Sevcon http://www.sevcon.com 

In the background, the Sevcon gen4 controller size 4.
Kelly gets you going in no time but with a limited set of features and with lower efficiency. Sevcons Gen4 controllers are state of the art but require some training to get started.
Overall generation three has proven to be a perfect fit for my boat Linnea. I have loads of extra power from the B&S to charge the battery pack and to push the hull an extra two knots. All this is done with a minimal environmental foot print, thanks to Aspen fuel.
Be on the lookout for articles about the boat, and my other projects, this winter. Linnea will be featured in www.ERA.se & www.alltomfritidshus.se
So what’s next!? Through the research and development done I feel that I have now reached a stabile platform. Minor changes will be made and next year I will release a new drivetrain that features more power, less noise and water cooling.  
I want to send a special thank you to Briggs and Stratton Sweden and Aspen Fuel for making this summers testing possible.
Stay tuned!

måndag 5 augusti 2013

Real life statistics

I’m back to work again after a wonderful vacation. The boat and drivetrain has delivered beyond my expectations. None of the problems I had with prototype one has occurred on prototype two and it has been 99% hassle-free boating.
I have been running the numbers on electric vs. diesel consumption during my four weeks of vacation. Most trips have been around 30-60 minutes. The longest one was three and a half hour one way, about 16 nautical miles.

In order to compare apples with apples we first need to determine the efficiency of the diesel engine and electric motor. My diesel is a simple two-valve engine and I would say that the efficiency is 30%. The electric motor and motor controller has a combined efficiency of about 80%.

Some facts about diesel and my diesel engine:
Energy density: 9,7kwh/l
Diesel engine efficiency: 30%
I used 20 liters of diesel during my vacation. 20 liters of diesel contains 194kwh and with a 30% efficiency, 58,2kwh is used to propel the boat.

My battery monitor collects and stores the total amount of energy, ah, flowing to and from the traction pack. After four weeks I have used 967ah@55 volt (53kwh). After removing 20% we end up using 42,5kwh of electric power to propel the boat.

42,5kwh of electricity equals about 15 liters of diesel (remember the low efficiency of the diesel engine)
If I had only used a diesel engine I would have consumed 35 liters of diesel during my vacation. Thanks to the hybrid drivetrain that figure is now 20 liters. Bottom line, the hybrid lowers my fuel consumption with 42,1%  

fredag 19 juli 2013

Regenerative breaking at sea

The term regenerative breaking, regen, is widely used in the car industry and the idea is to turn kinetic energy into electricity. A car that speeds downhill can use its electric motor as a generator and convert the cars movement to electric energy that is stored in the battery.

Sadly we don’t get any down slopes at sea. The only way to do regen at sea is to have a sail that powers the boat quick enough to make the propeller spin. If you don’t have a sail and you lack the ability to charge from the grid you can, as a mentioned in my last post, use the energy from wind, sun or petrol to charge off-grid.
Another, and less complex, alternative to charging the battery is to use the electric motor in the boat as a generator when the boat is being propelled by the combustion engine. This way I can, by the flick of a switch, charge my batteries with the same amount of power as when connected to the grid.  

If, for example, I am out fishing and I noticed that my batteries are running low I can charge while driving back home using the combustion engine. This regen functionality guaranties in an easy way that I won't run out of energy in my battery.

lördag 13 juli 2013

Off-grid charging

Finally we are here! We arrived late last night after a 1 hour and 45 minutes drive from Söderöra. Everything went smooth as a whistle. The boat was packed with supplies but there was only a small increase in energy used during the trip.


Since the trip is one hour longer than what my total battery capacity would count for I had to use the diesel. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is no electric grid here. So how do we charge?

I gave the charging issue some thought this winter and I came up with the following solutions:

A petrol/gasol generator would probably be the quickest way to charge. The downside is noise, local pollution and complexity. I don’t like the idea of burning fuel in order to create electricity.


By using solar panels electricity can be harvest from the sunlight. No moving parts and no noice. The downside is the efficiency of the panels and the dependency of cloud free weather. To get a usable charge current I would have to use about 3-4 square meters of cells, given that there is no clouds.

Using the wind to harvest electricity is common in these areas. Modern wind generators are efficient with a moderate wind force demand. What you need is a generator, small tower and an extension cord.
And the winner is…. The wind generator! Given that we normally have a couple of days with winds around 8-10ms I should be able to get some energy into my batteries. Since I run a 48 volt system I need a 48 volt wind generator. Fortunately Southwest Windpower makes a small, 120cm diameter, generator with an integrated controller. The controller makes sure that the batteries receive the correct voltage while charging.

How long will it take to charge the pack? Well that depends on how strong the wind is. The generator can deliver max 8 Amps. Let's use half of that rating in the equation. My battery pack has a capacity of 60 Amp hours and I used half of that capacity to get to the island. That means that I will have to generate 30 Amp hours in order to have a full pack again. 30 divided by 4 equals 7,5. In 7,5 hours the battery would be fully charged if the generator delivers 4 Amps continuously for 7,5 hours. In real life the numbers will differ but as long as there is wind the generator will run 24 hours a day. 
Right now the battery pack is a 50,6% charge and we have a 5-6m/s wind that should be picking up during the day. I will get back with the charging result tonight, stay tuned!

The wind generator has been working since 06:00 this morning. The wind reached its peak, 14 m/s, around 14:00. As you all know we started at 50,6% charge and during the course of the day the state of charge has increased to 84,0% (22:30).

During peak hours the generator generated as much as 395 watts (7,4 Amps * 53,5 volts). 

During the day the generator has been adding almost 1,5 Kwh to the battery pack. A battery pack full of wind power, does that mean that I'm sailing?
Have a nice vacation, I know I will.
See you soon.

tisdag 4 juni 2013

Welcome to Hy-life!
Discussions about hybrid cars and how we use them has been frequently debated in Swedish media the last year. There are numerous blogs and articles were users as well as producer’s debate fuel consumption, mileage and environmental impact. The hybrid car is no longer only for early adopters, it is now a part of everyday life.

I have created this blog in order to share some light on another market that is extremely big in Sweden, leisure boating. Sweden has more than 900 000 leisure boats and an archipelago that consists of over 30 000 islands.

Innovation in the marine market has in no way followed the pace of the car industry. In order to speed up innovation I started a journey which goal was to create a marine hybrid drivetrain for my boat Linnea.
Linnea is based on a classic Swedish fishing boat design used in our archipelago for ages. The hull is a displacement hull, and the rule of thumb is that the speed of the boat is equivalent to its length in the water, this is normally called hull speed. Linnea is about 5 meters measured at the waterline so five knots is her hull speed.
The hybrid drivetrain consists of two motors, one electric motor and one traditional combustion engine. The electric motor is the heart of my drivetrain and it is also responsible for the basic functionality that we need at sea. Why use a combustion engine, why not go all electric? The reason that I choose a hybrid is the price and energy density of today’s batteries. The combustion engine acts as a range-extender that allows us to fully enjoy our time at sea.

The size of the battery pack determines how long we can run the boat using electricity. When we want to go further than the battery pack allows we use the combustion engine.

The electric motor has many benefits compared to the combustion engine, one is the ability to act as a generator. This enables us, by the push of a button, to charge the battery pack while running the combustion engine. This secures that there is always energy available for docking the boat when we reach our destination.

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