Energy Management

Welcome back to another weekly blog post from Charge Made Good!

This time, we would like to talk about energy management. Most of you will know something about Smart Grids. What it implies is that all the separate elements of an energy system can communicate with one another, allowing for very efficient management. However, large fluctuations in a system’s scale are currently difficult to manage effectively. The answer to this issue is to make the system large; not only the system’s ability to generate electricity, but to increase it’s capacity to utilise it as well. Big fluctuations in the system’s energy harvesting can be used to make life far more comfortable, and not letting that charge made go to waste. This also allows you to live on your yacht in the same manner as you would on land, letting you use your appliances and water with the same leisure as you would in your house. This comfort only requires an increased consumption of electricity.

Preliminary Design.

If we expand the Smart Grid to a full Smart Energy System, what we are doing is fully integrating the ‘transportation sector’ (which, in our case, is our motor-sailing drivetrain), the ‘heating/cooling sector’ (which, in our case, are large electric heat pumps and an instant hot water califont), and being fully electric, these together help manage the fluctuations of renewable energy we generate. They all operate together as a single communicating system.

This has lead to the design criteria.

  1. That you can live aboard as you would in a modern apartment.
  2. The rig and sail plan are optimized for motor-sailing in all conditions.
  3. The ability to safely make trans-ocean journeys short-handed.
  4. Absolutely everything would be done to ensure the vessel remains zero-emissions for it’s entire life-span.
Battery Level and Water Tank computer model.

To get energy into the system is a matter of installed capacity and availability; or how how often it is contributing to something. By optimising the drive-train for motor-sailing, a subtle change of course and angle is able to contribute to the energy management of the vessel for long periods of effective trickle-charging. This new way of managing energy harvesting, sailing operation, and the Smart Energy System is called CMG – Charge Made Good. Sailing to your ‘CMG’ allows you to travel to your destination with a known future battery state. It functions for both trip-planning and live for instant feedback and adjustment.

We believe that CMG is a truly intuitive system for sailors. Adjusting course, angle, and speed is something we find enjoyable to do. If sailing is your way of managing your energy supply, and you enjoy sailing, you will of course enjoy CMG as it combines the activity you enjoy with the management of your energy supply.

Unlimited Range

Hello everyone!

We are delighted with the response and feedback we’ve received so far and we think it’s great to be able to communicate and respond to you all.

Preliminary Design

Some have correctly identified ‘unlimited range’ as something worth defining more critically. So we thought we would take that task on in today’s blog. When there’s no sun or wind, you’re not sailing around for free. It’s all about management and planning.

At the very heart of CMG is the calculation of your battery state at the end of your journey. Whio II’s energy model is based on an itinerary around the Mediterranean, the Bahamas, the Baltic, and Alaska with 4500km (2500nm) and about 22 stops in each region. The journey is planned in advance with a fixed arrival time at each stop. The weather data from several different years is then applied to the model to see if Whio II can travel at a minimum of 5kn and arrive at enough battery charge and water to last for the stay and provide for shore trips, fishing trips, waterskiing and other leisure activities, as well as providing power to the tender, and all house loads.

Not only is all this possible, but there is enough energy to afford quite a luxurious lifestyle aboard. On occasion the weather will not abide to the needs of the vessel. This would drain the batteries and obviously be a major concern. However, in the model we looked for periods of weather 2-3 days prior with moderate to strong winds, where Whio II can sail around in what we call ‘supercharging mode’.

The vessel is slowed down to around 3kn by the specialised trailing-edge propellers, and charging at 50kw is achievable. This engineering has been independently verified twice. The end result is that you can prepare for long journeys through poor weather when there is no sun or wind by pre-charging the batteries. This is analogous to charging your E.V. before a long road-trip.

The energy model shows that on average, the supercharging (sailing around required to charge batteries, but not to travel anywhere) makes up less than 1% of the sailing hours for any given period. Here is a graph showing just such charging events in the Bahamas.

A section from one of our battery state models.

To the left of the blue arrow shows where our energy is declining with demand from the tender and house loads. On the morning of the 23/09 we have to be in another harbor, so two days prior we take advantage of the good weather we have and fully charge the boat (indicated by the blue arrow). The actual journey costs us half our 200kWh energy (indicated by the green arrow). The weather is hot and we have visitors, so the tender is used for extensive watersport, exploration, and fishing. On the 28/09, we take advantage of a passing front for a hour of supercharging (indicated by the pink arrow), and have enough energy for exorbitant use of the full air-condition system, letting the batteries to as low as 30%, but we don’t mind this, as we know that the normal trade winds have kicked in again for our next island-hop and we can travel and charge at the same time.

In our eyes, unlimited range means no restriction on travel days, destination, or lack of power for comfortable living aboard. We have to manage the energy and we will live by the forecast.

We’ve used the same load profile on other years’ weather data to see if this can be achieved, and yes it can. Three months in the Bahamas showed 15 hours, 7 hours, and 5 hours of supercharging mode events in their respective year’s weather data. Using active management will not eliminate extreme weather anomalies, but normal yachts run out of diesel and water too, without proper planning and preparation.

Unlimited range for an all-electric, zero-emissions sailing vessel. We hope you’re as excited as we are for the future!

Thank you to everyone for showing your interest and helping us spread the word about CMG and Whio II!

Preliminary Design

Summer has arrived and we have been working hard to finalize the preliminary design of Whio II.

Preliminary Design

As you can see, the team at LOMOcean have chosen a catamaran with a length of 18 meters. Whio II is designed so that all the sailing systems can be operated from inside, and all the sailing and sailing trim can be done with minimal rope-handling. The rig is a powerful aerodynamic design which is fundamental as it will serve as our main source of energy. In addition, she has over 6 kilowatts of solar panels on the cabin top. Under the floor, the cabin has space for as many batteries as we could wish for. The process now is to calculate exactly how many batteries we’re going to need to truly achieve unlimited range.

Preliminary Design

At the back there are two additional helms and we envisage this will be used in the ‘supercharging mode’ with excellent views to the rig, full sailing trim control, and the feeling of sailing a racing boat; with the CMG display calculating your performance as you cruise.

Whio II features two front sails which will attach to the rail just in front of the mast. This allows tacking without any adjustment! The front sail will be a large ‘code zero’ for light wind conditions.

You will also notice the ultra clean design because you’re not expected to go outside in any conditions, so it’s not really necessary to have protection around the front of the boat for falling overboard. However, walking around the boat at anchor is completely safe because you are inside solid bulwarks. Additionally you’ll notice the large sugar scoops at the rear with a full-height door leading to a garage for all the toys, bikes, and other things. This design suits larger overtaking waves but also makes it easy to load from the garage to the tender. Remember, this boat is not really designed to tie up in a marina but ‘anchor out’, and this will be the main way you get on/off the boat to the shore via tender.

The team here are very excited and looking forward to working on this design and finalizing details to make Whio II the ultimate zero-emissions global explorer. It’s amazing to be able to present this preliminary design to you now!

If you have any comments, questions, or want to engage with us about the design, feel free to email us, follow us on Social Media wherever it suits you and tell us your thoughts.

The Right Time

Welcome back to another blog!

“He was years before his time.” We all know that expression. Someone has a great idea, but at the time, it wasn’t feasible and practical. A new idea or technology can’t always find a place to be used and incorporated into the way of life, or might just not be commercially viable. Sometimes culture or tradition might stand in the way.

But that doesn’t really judge the idea by itself.

For example, in 1891 Danish scientist, Poul la Cour, constructed a wind turbine which generated electricity and produced hydrogen by electrolysis to be stored for experiments and to be used for lighting the Askov Folk High School. The process achieved the first commercial use of wind-generated electricity in the 21st century.

You need the right time and place for your ideas to grow.

In 1830, the automotive industry considered that electricity would be the way to go. Alas, the world preferred horses, so it was another 50 years before cars really came into their own, and nearly 200 years before the electric car would be re-introduced and become a commercial success.

One way for technologies to avoid this problem is to spend time thinking about and strategizing how they will integrate into the status quo. How you can fit and introduce your idea into the world’s current way of thinking, in order to change it.

CMG – Charge Made Good – is happening at exactly the right time. This is because the whole industry is stuck on how to make a truly zero-emissions vessel. CMG takes the very heart and core of sailing and what sailors really love to do and turns those actions into the actions needed to manage your energy. It combines the activity within the solution. And we believe that it is this integration that is going to make the difference. Sailors can use their existing boat, they can use any electric motor and battery system, or akin to Whio II, design something truly special and unique from the ground up.

The idea of CMG is to be able to predict the state of your battery at the end of your voyage (that’s just a function of distance, the energy used, and the time you want to get there in – the same function used today by electric cars). The difference with a yacht is that the conditions change. The wind is rarely consistent with the forecast, and so the CMG calculation display is set right at the helm. The sailor can adjust the course, or the sail trim to extract exactly the energy predicted.

CMG will be giving you a drip-feed of your energy potential!

This is where the sailor can manage manage the risk of being without power. Normally, a sailor waits for the weather window, so most journeys should work out, but the trick with CMG is that we also incorporate a ‘supercharging mode’. By looking at a weather forecast, you can manage a longer journey really safely. At sea, safety considerations are heightened because the environment and conditions can change quickly and you are largely on your own to deal with it.

Further on this matter, next week we will look into how to survive long periods without wind.

Passive Energy

Last week, we introduced our previous boat, Whio, which taught us a lot about life afloat.

Internal air quality is very important. With Whio, we had bad condensation problems, even though the boat was well-insulated. Hatches and windows grew ice on their interior on cold and dark winter nights. I also learned the the marine industry’s drive towards 12/24 volt equipment has negative consequences in regards to maintenance. And last but not least, diesel on a boat is, by and large, really unpleasant. After purchasing my 5th gas bottle for the galley onboard Whio, I vowed never to use gas on a boat again.

Whio at Loosdrecht, NL

When considering life afloat once more, we determined that there should be no diesel or petrol engines or heating systems. To deal with condensation, I thought, either we needed properly insulated windows, or a forced air ventilation system – capable air conditioning.

While the marine industry is well aware of these issues, the energy constraints on a vessel leave most boat owners with a cost/benefit solution. This conversation starts with a discussion about which comforts you are prepared to go without onboard. From here you determine size and type of yacht you want, then determine the size of the generator or extra alternators in a highly engineered and carefully calculated plan. After many years of industry improvement, you land on a relatively efficient technological solution.

In the last few years I have been working at UCN, and have been surrounded with enthusiastic colleagues teaching tradespeople these exact lessons, based on many years of building improvements and construction. Students would head out to investigate buildings suffering similar problems and as a group, they troubleshoot how to solve the problem.

Using this approach, we redefined our starting criteria for the yacht. Warmth, comfort, heat, and air quality were all given, and the starting point for how we would specify equipment. This is not a truly new concept. Anyone can make a wishlist for their yacht – we just call them superyachts. The revelation is to do this at a price which doesn’t push the cost of a normal production yacht, to deliver uncompromising comfort through a smart energy system to maintain affordability.

That means no condensation!

Using a combination of the right materials, design, and an ultra-efficient energy transfer system, we can provide the comfort by harvesting, storing and reusing energy in multiple ways which eliminates the need for lots of instant power by generator.

For the design of Whio II – The idea is not to pick what comforts we can go without, but to start with everything we want and need, and deliver that through effective management. This means we will use a normal house water pressure system instead of the marine style, normal flush toilets and domestic appliances which are all substantially cheaper and more reliable.

Our energy heat management will be linked to the cabins as well as hot water. Heat pumps will be used with effective zone management and the intense tropical heat managed by effective ventilation, and using the larger water storage to activate evaporative cooling.

Whio II will be a nice place to live.

Whio II

Welcome back to another blog post!

Today I want to be a little bit aspirational and talk about our new boat and a little bit about our old one. I have always wanted to travel the world by boat. It has been a dream of mine I was very young. In 2002, my wife Kathrin and I launched our canal barge ‘Whio’.

Kathrin told me she was happy to live aboard the boat so long as she could always see land out the window. Our canal trip was a life-changing experience, touring Europe and its waterways, and it sowed the seeds for more exploration.

The original Whio. What an amazing adventure we had with her!

We both really enjoy experiencing culture through food, markets, history, and of course the people that make every place so special. This requires a vessel which can comfortably anchor for two or three weeks without external inputs and no requirements for fuel. When you arrive somewhere, you want to be able to stay there and experience it without much pressure to move on. To give you the time you need to appreciate the local lifestyle.

Therefore, the vessel we are designing needs to be a comfortable place to live. Picture a modern apartment; a spacious living room, big kitchen area, and long hot showers. That doesn’t fit in a traditional yacht, so we’re attracted to a multihull design to give us the space we need.

When Kathrin and I are sailing along we will predominantly be alone together and therefore, safety is a top priority. The boat should be easy to sail single-handedly, and the off-watch person should be very close by at all times. We want to absolutely minimize the excuses to go outside alone at night. This is why an internal forward helm station with sail controls is our preference and we’ve accepted the compromise it will occupy in the primary living area. This boat however, derives it’s energy from the action of sailing, which will be a primary activity on board, so its integration into the living space also makes sense in that regard.

This vessel is built to demonstrate new technology and therefore includes several luxurious items that would not normally be found onboard a yacht. We have a desire to demonstrate how much energy is available, and how energy is used on board is at the heart of this entire project.

A true home at sea. That means not worrying about your water usage too!

This will be expressed in the seemingly small things which make this sailing vessel a lot more pleasurable. We will have a fully air-conditioned wet-locker so that on cold and miserable nights, your jacket is warm and dry again at the start of your next watch. Berths will have electric blankets so that you never get into a cold and clammy bed. There will be a forced-air ventilation system throughout providing dry and clean airflow. The boat will travel from the tropics to high latitudes, so the boat must be able to manage every range of temperature and climate. This will need large amounts of energy, and we will utilise a Smart Energy Systems approach to enable this.

In our next blog, I’ll discuss how I take the thinking about passive houses and low-energy buildings into this project and make it truly comfortable and integrated.

Incubation & Innovation

Welcome back to another weekly update!

We would like to bring you up-to-date about the company and incubation with the European Space Agency and tell you a little bit about the Science Park Graz Innovation Prize.

In March 2021 we applied for and were successful in being inducted into the European Space Agency business incubation service. This is an incredibly strong network of business leaders, institutions, and companies who are all focused on helping Innovative businesses getting started. We have submitted a business plan to engage several key partners in CMG’s development and demonstration.

Our business is now fully funded for the first year and we are proceeding with the design of the demonstration vessel and preparing the technology, the company, and myself to be presented to the strategic partner companies in Europe.

In the future when we come to an agreement with any company, I will introduce that company in detail and clarify why we’ve decided to collaborate and update you in this blog.

In early April 2021, CMG received recognition from the Science Park Graz ideas competition when we won our category ‘Space’ and garnished a lovely prize to put towards the business. During the early days of our incubation with the ESA/Science Park Graz, I have been able to participate in online courses and have one-on-one coaching to help me prepare the company for our future partners. The feedback, even in these first few months has been of exceptional value and the whole team and I are incredibly excited for the years to come and how CMG will develop.

Unlimited range means exactly that!

In the last month, CMG has reached out on social media and we hope to cultivate a online community at a variety of levels. We want to hear what people think about our idea, and in principal, we would love those who contribute to this idea to be able to get a chance to experience the boat and CMG in full effect.

Our main source of updates will be this blog, but we want to communicate with you on whatever platform suits you best. I didn’t expect to build such a quick following and thank you to all those who have shown interest in 100% zero-emissions sailing around the world.

You can find us on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and we will soon be posting more information alongside videos on YouTube and much more! The best way to stay updated is to subscribe through our website and receive our email update.

The State of Electric Yachts

I want to introduce you to the current state of affairs with electric yachts, signal where the technology is at from the leading electric yachts companies, and I want to address just where our thinking is different.

May I introduce you to Jimmy Cornell and his Aventura yacht’s concept and special features. He has set a challenge to sail around the world on zero emissions. The choice of vessel was heavily weighted towards high performance and solar panel area. Jimmy partnered up with Oceanvolt who “have been working for the last 20 years on perfecting electric propulsion on pleasure craft”. The system is driven with electric motors on sail drives and quite large battery packs. Jimmy elected not to have a generator onboard and increased his battery capacity and solar panels to 1300W. He installed a servo propeller which “adjusts the pitch of the propeller blades automatically so that the power generation and power output are optimal. The servo prop is a feathering propeller designed “to get the minimum drag, it is highly efficient optimally in forward and reverse and in hydro-generation.” This system can generate 1kW of power at 7-8 Knots and up to 3kW at 12 knots.

One critique of his approach is that 1.5kW is not a big solar system. In good conditions,
4.5kW installed would cover a couple’s energy domestic use. The solar is scaled to his
system not his consumption, therefore in the long term his amenities aboard are dependent on other sources of energy (most yachts have a generator). The team sets out to cross the Atlantic and they run out of electricity and despite the fact that they are sailing in constant 12 knots of wind the hydro-generations system being optimised for low drag, underperforms. Their situation became very dangerous, refrigeration shut off, no hot drinks, no autopilot, no hot food – for nearly two weeks. The extreme risk posed by the power shortage meant they “had to hand-steer the boat for quite some time just to have enough energy for critical systems”.

In the ocean, loss of power becomes a life threatening situation and that is something we need to avoid at all costs. With CMG we change the approach to focus on the propeller and have engineered a way we can increase the wind range of hydro-generation, if the propeller is optimised for hydro-generation, or more correctly, motor-sailing. The system can deliver 50kW kilowatts of charge or a 10x improvement however, the expanded wind range allows effective generation for many hours in easy sailing conditions. When cruising, picking a weather window allows 10-20 kW of continuous generation resulting in always arriving with full batteries and a lot of fresh water. If you’re near the variables and you see a squall – in that half an hour of wind – you would be able to add over a hundred kilometers of range. The fundamental difference between what is currently happening in the market and our approach is not magic, but a normally engineered propeller optimised for hydro-generation, it is a little bit larger than the servo prop however, it generates energy differently because we select a fixed speed for the boat to travel and turn excess power of the sails into electricity. For an efficient sailing yacht, the loss in speed is not such a harsh price to pay for the amount of energy that you can make available for comfortable living – it’s really that simple.

Welcome to Charge Made Good

I would like to introduce you to a new project called CMG – Charge Made Good. The objective of this project is to design and build a boat which is capable of traveling from any two destinations and offer a completely comfortable lifestyle on board. In addition, there should be absolutely zero input from outside resources, and most importantly, there should be no fossil fuels on board at all and the project will be as close to zero emissions as physically capable.

We intend to design a 50 to 60 ft catamaran as the basis for this project. The idea behind the energy system is actually very simple and we will explain it in detail in further blog posts.

Instead, I want to introduce you to the most exciting news. We have officially started the business!

The company is called Charge Made Good GmbH. It’s located in Graz in Austria. We applied and were successful in getting an incubation of 2 years with the European Space Agency. Recently we also won a Science Park Graz Innovation prize in category Space!

Just last week, our company entered into a design agreement with LOMOcean Design
in Auckland, NZ, a company which specialises in radical, efficient, and robust marine design projects. For example they designed the boat used in Earthrace using biodiesel that was eventually sunk by a Japanese whaling boat in the Southern Ocean. LOMOcean is also the designer of the boat the Planet Solar which is a solar powered vessel traveling around the world with zero-emissions.

In principal it’s quite easy to design a zero-emissions boat if you take the approach of using very little energy and water, and are quite happy to sit and wait for the wind conditions. Think of the IMOCA 60 sail boats, most now use hydro-generation and solar, but some still have a diesel generator for house loads. Such races show it is easy to sail great distances and cross oceans with no emissions. It is however, not very comfortable to be in these boats and it is not a place to live for an extended period of time. The objective of this project is to try and find some sort of balance between living on boat with all the comforts that you have at home and being emissions-free.

I’d really like to shout out to Jimmy Cornell who has set out to do the El.Ca.NO Challenge and sale a trade route with a zero-emissions yacht. His first attempt was exciting however, he found that his Hydro-generation system was not enough to cover even just the basic house loads, even in trade-wind sailing. This project will be quite different and we hope to not only supply house loads, but to be able to offer a very high level of comfort and amenities on board this vessel.

In the following weeks I will endeavor to bring you more details about the design and the energy systems onboard, introduce the key partners that we get involved, the prizes that we win, and the businesses which join us to make a truly zero emissions vessel – capable of sailing around the world and be as comfortable as a modern apartment to live in.

Please share this blog with your friends in the community – feel free to ask questions, follow along via the web page and the social media links below. We have some really exciting opportunities for those who are enthusiastic about this project, and we would like to offer prizes such as a week or weekend on board when the vessel is built. You can come and share a drink with us as we attend all the world’s boat shows demonstrating this fantastic vessel. Thanks for joining us – and we’ll speak to you next week.