Oceanvolt : Electric engines for racing boats

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Oceanvolt

Electric engines

 

Oceanvolt engines are the perfect option to optimize weight and distribute it in a balanced way.

By Jaume Soler

Oceanvolt has already shown its qualities when in 2017, Conrad Coleman completed the round the world tour in the Vendée Globe regatta, without using a single drop of fossil fuel. In the last edition, 2020-21 of the same regatta, it was Alex Thomson who equipped his boat, the Hugo Boss, with an Oceanvolt engine. Most of the boats projected for future editions of this regatta, considered the Everest of navigation and where the provision of energy is key, contemplate equipping Oceanvolt engines, mainly due to their energy regeneration qualities.

Little by little the electrification of vehicles is gaining on the streets and also the ports. If we still do not have an electric car, it is very possible that we have seen prices by the time the change arrives and also the price of electric boats; although, the nautical one has an advantage that in cars does not exist, the possibility of remotorization.

The important thing is that, currently, we can already consider that electric motors have many advantages over combustion engines. More than 40 shipyards around the world, many of them renowned, such as JBoats, Elan, Salona, ​​etc. They have opted for Oceanvolt technology to equip their latest models.

The advantages

As sailors, we must analyze what are the advantages that this type of propulsion gives us, beyond saving money or even, beyond the benefit to the environment that should be the most important premise.

It is known that traditional engines need to start up, warm up their system to avoid wear and tear, and when accelerating, increase revolutions gradually and not only in diesel engines, but also in gasoline engines, although they have more reprise than the diesels.
On the other hand, electric motors are always on stand-by, that is, at any time we can operate the control lever and achieve instant forward or reverse propulsion. What’s more, electric motors achieve instantaneous torque thanks to electromotive force; therefore, the acceleration is immediate.

Energy regeneration

The regeneration of energy is a unique condition of electric motors, sailing, from 6 knots and with the push of a button, the motor becomes a generator and begins to charge the batteries and as the speed increases, too production increases, while the speed reduction is practically imperceptible.

Accumulate energy

Lithium-ion batteries are superior to other storage technologies. They have higher storage capacity, high effective current delivery, high load capacity, and a wide temperature performance range. Oceanvolt’s technical team ensures installation and optimization of the system. Only the highest quality lithium ion batteries are used, to ensure performance and safety.

Different options for different boats

Private cruising sailboats appreciate the silence of the electric propulsion that will allow better communication with the crew in port maneuvers, a more relaxed cruise navigation when there is no wind or even the power to generate its own apparent wind when the intensity of the wind is very low. But regatta boats have the advantage that the total weight of the battery-motor assembly is considerably less than the weight of a heat engine, it takes up less space and its weight can be distributed more efficiently. If it is a new boat, the design team will take care of the weight distribution and if it is a re-engine, the Oceanvolt engineers will distribute the weight more efficiently so as not to modify the seat of the boat and lower the gravity center. Another advantage lies in specifically analyzing the navigation plan of the boat to optimize the weight of the equipment to the maximum.

100% electric or hybrid

Oceanvolt offers hybrid or 100% electric systems as a power and propulsion option in partnership with leading shipbuilders and is continually adding new partners. In remotorizations, weight savings are important by discarding the diesel engine, fuel tanks and the exhaust system. Cleaning the greasy engine compartments and gaining space below deck is also appreciated.

Oceanvolt systems are scaled and configured for maximum efficiency, taking into account the length, beam and displacement of the vessel, as well as the weight of the system and its location within the vessel. The autonomy, beyond the capacity of the batteries, is extended by hydraulic generation when it is sailed at more than 6 knots with a minimum reduction in speed. This can be supplemented with a portable AC generator or a DC generator (on larger vessels or for long distance cruises).

With regard to safety, Oceanvolt systems are designed to work with 48V so it does not imply a risk either for passengers or for maintenance, which, by the way, is very low and does not require wintering, it is so simple that there are no costs annual maintenance so the investment is quickly recovered.

Varied solutions

Oceanvolt has designed several possible solutions for different boats depending on the size or type of transmission, whether they are monohull, multihull.

AXC

The Oceanvolt AXC series is a modular system available in four power configurations: 10kW, 20kW, 30kW or 40kW; the latter provides a power equivalent to that of up to 100hp. The AXC system can also be installed as a double system on catamarans. The AXC offers many of the same benefits as Oceanvolt’s Sail Drive and AX shaft drive propulsion systems, only now with increased cruising range, higher top speed and even lower levels of onboard noise and vibration thanks to direct drive. AXC systems also require much less space on board compared to a traditional diesel engine.

AX

The AX systems are the lightest, weighing between 22 and 28 kg, and can be installed in sailboats or motor boats with shaft line transmission and with a power of 3.7kW, 5.2 kW or 8.3kW.

Oceanvolt SD (Sail Drive)

The Sail Drive Motors system has a light weight, only 42.5 kg and is the only complete inboard electric propulsion system with EMC certified liquid refrigeration of closed circulation (Assurance that electrical equipment is safe and does not interfere with normal operation other equipment in its vicinity) that provides both cooling and lubrication. Oceanvolt Sail Drive motors are available in 6kW, 8kW, 10kW and 15kW, which is equivalent to 20hp, 25hp, 30hp and 45hp respectively.

Sail Drive Servoprop

The Servoprop system, patented by Oceanvolt and winner of the Metstrade 2017 Dame for Innovation award, combines the propeller with the most powerful hydrogeneration system on the market.

Its key feature is the 180 degree swivel blades controlled by software that automatically adjusts the propeller pitch for optimal generation and power. ServoProp is capable of generating more than 1 kW at 7-8 knots and 3 kW at 11-12 knots. The generated power can be used to power both the propulsion system and all on-board electronics without the need for a separate generator. With this in mind, we can begin to talk about the possibility of a totally self-sufficient cruise. The ServoProp is suitable as a propulsion motor for monohulls up to 50ft and multihulls up to 60ft. It can also be used as a hydro generator on boats up to 100 feet.

Maintenance ? 

If we consider the number of parts, moving parts, connections, etc, etc. having a conventional heat engine, with the simplicity of an electric motor, it is more than evident that both maintenance and the possibilities of breakage are drastically reduced. But if this were not enough; In addition, we have the Remote Service Interface (RSITM) that allows Oceanvolt to monitor all connected Oceanvolt systems in real time.

Remote monitoring and management of the system, known as RSI is a key part of the system. Technology is not limited to monitoring; Oceanvolt engineers are able to solve at least 90% of possible faults, remotely. This is because all components are connected via standard system bus (CAN) cabling, allowing devices to communicate with each other and with Oceanvolt headquarters securely over the Internet.

Several of Oceanvolt’s current customers running charter businesses see RSI technology as a key competitive advantage.

The RSITM is a state-of-the-art remote service and diagnostic interface that allows you to view the status of your vessel from anywhere via mobile phone or navigator. Control all data related to your engine, batteries, solar panels and chargers online and in real time. Oceanvolt can – with your permission – troubleshoot your system remotely, regardless of your location, so you can minimize “downtime” in the event of a breakdown. Through the remote interface, you can view the overall power consumption or regeneration of battery banks from power from the port outlet, generator, or solar panels.

Another advantage appreciated by charter companies is the GPS module, with which you can see the location of the boat in real time, plotted on an online map.