Electric engines in yachts: Renewable versus diesel – My Sailing

In our previous article we spoke of how we are going to turn our TP52 electric and how we will comply with the Special Sailing regulations. 

The TP52 J-Bird III is currently undergoing a complete refit. Pic – J-Bird III

There are a lot of arguments out there about how green electric really is and a lot of people want to see us fail.  It is part of the Australian way it seems.  Everyone wants to see those trying something different fail.  It’s like the argument between monohull and multihull.  You are usually one way or the other. 

Let me start by saying that everything I am writing about is currently theoretical because our yacht hasn’t hit the water, but when it does, we will be using the yacht to demonstrate what can be achieved.  I can’t guarantee that we will get it right from the get go, however we will continue to adapt and make sure that we can go yachting without any fossil fuels. 

One of the biggest arguments in the electric vs diesel is ‘What happens when you run out of power?’ The fact is we should never run out of power.  Whilst with a diesel engine, when you run out of diesel you stop, with no way to find diesel other than to have it delivered.  An electric vessel has the ability to regenerate power in multiple ways. 

Our yacht will have over 750 watt of solar panels on the deck.  These will actually be used to charge the 12 volt system to run electronics whilst sailing, however there will be a 12vDC-48vDC converter which will allow this to also trickle charge the 48v main banks.  So when the sun is out, it will begin to generate power which we can use to run the drive again, however we don’t expect to be able to run entirely on solar.  We would have to motor very slowly, even on the sunniest day.

In addition to the solar, we will have two 48v 600 watt wind generators.  These are likely to be removable for racing, however we will gauge this in trials.  We would still carry them onboard, however we would put them in storage for racing and only install if we needed them.  For deliveries and emergency purposes, they would be installed, providing power straight into the main battery banks.  There will also be a 48vDC-12vDC converter to allow the 48 volt bank to charge the 12 volt bank if need be. 

And finally we will have two forms of Hydrogeneration.  The first is the regen from the engine, so when we are sailing, the prop can be set to spin backwards and charge the batteries.  As long as we are sailing over 7 knots (not hard on a TP) we will be generating around 500 watt at 48v, straight into the main battery bank.  Of course, if we are steaming we can’t use this so will also have a secondary Watt & Sea Hydrogenerator which is removable at the stern of the boat. 

So if the scenario hits that we …….


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Red Bull set to announce Ford engine partnership deal with US car giant – BBC

Honda-powered Red Bull won both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2022

Red Bull are poised to announce an engine partnership deal with US car giant Ford.

Ford will join forces with the team from 2026, part-funding the engine Red Bull are designing for the new regulations to be introduced that year.

The agreement is expected to be officially unveiled at Red Bull’s 2023 season launch in New York on Friday.

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Ford set to announce F1 return with Red Bull engine deal – The Race

Red Bull and Ford are set to announce they will work together on a Formula 1 engine for 2026.

The widely rumoured collaboration will be announced on Friday, when Red Bull is set to reveal the livery for its 2023 car the RB19 at an event in New York.

Though not confirmed by either party, the news of a tie-up between Ford and the newly created Red Bull Powertrains engine division was mistakenly leaked in Italian media and is understood to be correct.

Ford has been interested in a potential F1 programme for several months, based around the 2026 engine regulations – which feature “100% sustainable fuels”, according to F1, and an increase in the electrical …….