Archives for posts with tag: fossil fuel emissions

Electric Motor Sailing — Why Use Diesel When Electric Works?

Why use a diesel or a gas motor to propel a sailboat when an electric motor can do the job more efficiently, more cost effectively, and without polluting our environment?

It’s not because an electric motor cannot generate the power necessary to recharge the house batteries the way a diesel motor with a generator can… 

It’s not that inboard electric motors are not available, because for decades there have been many inboard electric motors produced that can propel a sailboat very effectively and can also serve as generators while sailing. 

Nevertheless, the adoption of the electric motor breakthrough has been spotty at best.  Why? because it doesn’t fit the existing sailing paradigm! Darko Kapelina believes the time for electric motor sailing is here and he is interested in all ideas and systems relating to clean regenerative sailing. 

Wind Turbine Progress: Why Not Wind Power?
Wind power is another power source not reliant on fossil fuels, and it’s especially applicable on sailboats as it can serve to supplement solar power. In some circumstances where wind speed is constant, wind generators can produce more power than solar on a daily basis.
Darko Kapelina says that advancements in high-efficiency wind turbine technology have been growing rapidly. However, in the shadows of multi-megawatt wind turbines is another growing sector, the cost effective, high-efficiency wind turbines developed for residential applications. These wind turbines have:
• Improved airfoil designs for maximum efficiency at low wind speed
• High-efficiency direct drive permanent magnet alternators
• Enhanced governing methods
• Highly sophisticated controls and inverters
These advances enable sailboat owners to integrate directly with other energy generating systems on their boats, such as solar and electric generators, thus decreasing fossil fuel dependence.
If there is wind, there is power to be harvested! A wind turbine can produce power during the day and all through the night, so if the wind generator blades are spinning, the wind generator will be producing power generating 1 – 3 kWh. Darko Kapelina is interested in ideas and systems geared at improving regenerative sailing.

Why Not Solar?

Darko Kapelina says the bottom line is that most electrical and propulsion systems on sailboats are powered by fossil-fueled engines which are not efficient and the cost to power them up will only continue to increase.  So, how do we resolve this challenge?  We move towards getting the necessary energy from other sources such as solar, wind and electrical propulsion, all with an eye towards improving regenerative systems by minimizing, and ultimately eliminating, the need for fossil fuel or even shore power.

So why not solar? Solar alone will not do it, but it can move us closer to a complete solution.  Questions immediately surface about the type of solar panels and if the panels are installed flat or if they align perpendicular to the sun’s movement through the day.  These are all important questions, but the answers depend on the sailor’s overall goal.  However, the crux of the matter is that on a sunny day solar panels on a sailboat have the capacity to generate 1 – 6 kWh.  Not great but it’s an excellent start!

This is a radical improvement in the cost of producing energy.  More and more advances in solar technology can be leveraged to maximize gains in efficiency.  Darko Kapelina is interested in ideas and systems geared at improving regenerative sailing.

Why burn fossil fuels when we can sail using the wind, the sun and electric energy?