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Friday, June 10, 2011

Still More Engine Musings: DC Gensets

So, if you check boating forums on the Internet, this parallel hybrid stuff seems to be a hot topic of debate on the internet. One of the arguments against hybrids is cost. Example, I got a quote for the Beta60 and the Beta60 Hybrid, and the hybrid version was about 75% more expensive. Seems like a lot, but the question is, compared to what?

On this build I do plan on having a DC genset to help charge the large battery banks. Any large AC loads will be run off inverters. As a parallel hybrid propulsion engine can be operated as a DC genset, is the cost of a straight diesel propulsion engine + separate genset more than the cost of a parallel hybrid? Not sure, as I haven't priced DC gensets, but here are a few of them (prices published on the internet if available).

WhisperGen stirling engine DC generator. About $10,000+ (?)
Volvo diesel based 5.5kw DC generator. Cost? Not Sure, but green Volvos always cost a lot in my experience.
AmplePower DC Generator with smart controllers. 8.5kW. Cost $16,000
Then there is the cost of the consumed engine room space for the genset. As with most boats, space in the engine room on a Westsail 42 is at a premium.

As I haven't really calculated power requirements, I may be able to get by with dual high capacity alternators on the propulsion engine, the cost of which will very likely be cheaper than a hybrid (even after special brackets, pulleys and charge controllers).

220 Amp 24v DC Alternator. Two of these would total about $3000 (without controllers).
As the word "musings" in the title of these posts suggests. Nothing has been decided and I am just thinking out aloud while examining the possibilities.
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