Season’s Greetings And Good News!

Thanks you to all of you who have joined our community and are following our project.  We at CMG wish you all a happy and healthy new year. We are looking forward to getting the final designs and construction started in 2022 and show the world how to go 100% zero emissions.

In the 13th of December we received confirmation of a second place in the Galileo Masters.  This Europe wide innovation competition introduces the best innovative ideas relating to space-based assets to an ESA board who do a thorough due diligence and we are pleased to receive this recognition.  We would also like to congratulate the other winners who are all racing to get their innovations commercialised. 

We are going to take a couple of weeks off with family so we will speak again in the new year.

Skip Novac And Fossil Fuels

Last week’s Blog on Jimmy Cornell stimulated a lot of conversation. This week we thought we would highlight how CMG’s approach differs from Skip’s vision of a safe and reliable exploration vessel.

We want to highlight that this boat is built for a very specific purpose which differs from our vision.  As a charter vessel fully crewed with exclusive cruising areas envisioned, Skip often says that “everything on this boat is functional”.  Except it is not really, as is clear from this uncomfortable steering position when near ice, which it will be very often, with the head exposed to the boom when doing an emergency maneuver.

Curtesy: Yachting World

Or by this head height for the cockpit seating, the yellow black safety tape clearly identifies this hazard.

The clear advantage of electric systems on a yacht is obvious in the following picture. This engine room is full beam and takes up a huge amount of space. Triple Racor filters, massive water strainers, two engines and a generator, not seen is the 8125l diesel tank, and the 945l waste oil tank.  All of this can be eliminated and replaced with battery packs which need no access, as they’re maintenance free, and two electric motors with no gearbox.  Now, from a maintenance and reliability point of view; fewer components means more reliability without question.

Curtesy: Yachting World

On an electric boat, there’s only one moving part; that is the shaft, and the reliability of an electric motor is unquestioned by any industry, except the marine industry.

The total weight of all this (940 kg engines, 360 kg Genset, and 9000 kg fuel/oil) is then compounded by the weight of all the spares (300kg) which is fine on a monohull but would harm performance on a catamaran.  People often comment on the weight of batteries for what we plan, and in our current design, with high heating load, we have about 1600 kg for the batteries, less than 520 kg for motors, controllers and inverters, which comes to an overall weight saving of 70%! Our weight issues arise from the luxury items we have on board like a wine-fridge, large tender, and sauna, for example.

Safety on board Whio II is predicated on moving in a weather window and moving fast enough to avoid dangerous weather so we could not, or perhaps would not, follow Skip to Patagonia, but be forced to our own timetable which does not suit his need for charter work.

As for crew, Whio II is designed to be operated solo and has a powerful rig and sail plan. We choose electric winches and furlers to ensure we can optimise sails in any weather.  Skip explains his avoidance of electric is because the amateur crew “push buttons willy-nilly” but this means the whole deck area is optimised for operation in the worst conditions and as a consequence it is not a very comfortable place to live.

One of the key ideas behind Whio II’s design is to increase reliability by freshwater washing of all sails and sheets after every passage. This reduces the damage done by salt. Furthermore, our winches are in the interior so we will in effect never have salt water on them. This will massively improve their reliability over the lifetime of the boat. Moving winches inside eliminates any risk of harm by going outside in harsh conditions and when safety is truly paramount; eliminated risk is much better than reduced risk.

By implementing the CMG system we think Skip could offer another cabin for guests, offer similar passage times and never fear energy poverty as to recharge batteries you could make 50kW in winds over 20kn. His trips to the most protected parts of the planet, (where even green-waste cannot go over the side) could reduce emissions to the environment of poisonous residue of diesel additives, and fine particulates, noxious NO2 and other chemicals directly to the water via wet exhaust, poisons from ablative paints, and around 63,000 kg of carbon emissions per year if making 3 tours and most of the fuel.

Whio II would glide in silently, leave no imprint on the environment at all, even from ablative paint, and return safely. Diesel and our precious remote environments just don’t mix. It should be our leaders in exploration, leading the way in diesel’s removal. Hopefully the next generation of exploration vessels will leave the environment the same way they entered it. Unspoiled, untouched, and unadulterated.

Electric Is The Future

Jimmy Cornell, a name you may be very familiar with, gave a lecture to the Cruising Association about his experience with a zero-emissions project. The yachting legend talked in detail about the vessel, Aventura Zero and the ELCANO Challenge.

Today we want to talk a little bit about what we can learn and how we view the future industry adoption of zero emissions and our potential role in it.

Jimmy expressed confidence in the Outremer platform, and in this, we wholeheartedly concur. Our system (CMG) on his platform, would provide enough energy for conspicuous consumption (Whio II, in contrast, is a radical demonstration to prove a point). However, his design criteria for the project was that the crew accepted spartan living standards, a compromise that nearly every cruising vessel rejects, which is why all new yachts have a diesel engine/generator.

We believe that this philosophy is absolutely false, and if it were true; there will be no electric future. It is a huge roadblock to acceptance, and it needs to be comprehensively proven that a zero-emissions vessel is not only possible, but far more safe, comfortable, and flexible than any existing vessel out there.

During the design of Aventura Zero, the equipment specification was driven by the equipment supplier, including propeller design. This resulted in an electrical system that was out of balance, susceptible to periods of critical excess energy and not capable of delivering even moderate levels of comfort during intermittent supply.

Interestingly, Jimmy states that the refrigeration and cooking used more energy than expected and they were looking for savings there. It is this single-minded focus on saving that hides the alternative of making more energy and having plenty for comfort. Jimmy delivered himself a vessel designed to have the outcome of spartan conditions, as per his expectations and design criteria. He also shared a touching reflection on the effects on crew morale when subjected to energy poverty.

Frustratingly, this all seems to build up the overall perception that zero-emissions is not yet possible. Our answer is to engineer Whio II with a focus on optimising energy by sailing to ‘CMG’, providing safer sailing, faster passage times, and at the very least, hot showers for the crew every day.

When specifying the size of the battery pack, Jimmy recalls that the decision was based on the system supplier’s recommendation of a little over 50kWh usable. Jimmy’s question was; “What does that mean… …Tell me how long I can go at full throttle.

This criterion was never even tested, let alone used. Whio II’s battery pack is designed on the back of many years of hourly wind and solar data, matched with four predetermined 4,500km cruises, several climate zones, and conspicuous consumption of water and energy, including a fast tender charger. Just as in Jimmy’s project, we will achieve exactly as our expectations and design criteria have set out for.

While we’re sure Aventrue Zero’s unsuitability for the ELCANO Challenge is a result of many things, these two key points are the ones Jimmy chose to talk about in his only public lecture regard the project and it is reassuring to me that the lessons he has learned the hard way, we have engineered to be easily managed.

Here’s a quote for the last design input to the Aventura Zero from its special features page:

Following from that [crew with the right attitude] – and this is perhaps the most important factor – to accept that we now live in a world and a time when we must be ready to change our ways, from what we eat, how we live, how we travel; and certainly how we sail.”
Jimmy Cornell, 2021

Here we find the roadblock to change; expressed as the bedrock of the project, they suffered energy poverty, range anxiety and this must be eliminated in order to progress. As someone who comes from an Energy Management background, we know people will only adopt the technology if it is safe, more comfortable, faster, and cheaper to operate than what is already existing. So, we’ve started with this as the bedrock, and when we run the numbers and engineer the solution, we find out that it is actually quite simple after all.

Shopping For Suppliers

Welcome back everyone.

Just a brief update regarding what’s been going on recently. We had a grand plan in line with the METSTRADE show in Amsterdam last week. METS is the world’s largest B2B marine trade show, although with this year’s restrictions, it probably won’t be. Many companies elected to stay home or to only staff their stand with local personnel.

Courtesy of metstrade.com

While some potential meetings fell through, we did get to meet some awesome potential suppliers, mainly for the key energy systems. We were principally interested in ‘smart’ ancillary equipment such as freezers and watermakers. ‘Smart’ in this sense meaning being able to connect them to your onboard network and have them controlled by your computer. This is important for our project as the smart energy system relies on using this capability to store energy in different ways.

We also met with suitable partners for supplying our rigging, mast, and sails. This was a very positive meeting and I hope we can utilise their expertise.

We chatted to many electric motor suppliers and not one had any plans for, or was working on, a 100% zero-emissions project, and most were insistent on a backup (diesel) generator. Most take the traditional engineering approach of efficiency to gain an advantage over their competitors however, very few were working with the more efficient higher voltage, but were stuck with the legacy of 12/21/48V. This leads to higher RPM and the need for a gearbox and cooling system. We also had a great chat with the MD of EPTechnologies, who have installed systems in the Sunreef 60 charter boat, and they sometimes find 50% fuel savings on charter runs where the power cat uses 900 litres per week. We asked about a system foregoing the 17kW and the 22kW generators, but we were informed that they only do complete systems due to the warranty liability. This could be surprising, because looking at the weight of both gensets plus 1000L of fuel, it comes out to around 1800kg, which is a lot of weight for batteries. The boat had 77kWh, but even with another 500kWh (which equals the weight of the gensets and tanks) we doubted it could do the same range as a 1000L diesel tank, or not be able to do it at any decent speed. So they are completely stuck with the extra weight, noise, pollution and CO2 emissions. Running the numbers, CMG would save the owner over a tonne of weight, around €20,000 of capital cost and slash O&M by up to 80%.

This could be seen as a very compelling argument for an owner, but it was not attractive to EPTechnologies for the obvious financial losses they would have on the entire system. This is further evidence that we must grow our community, demonstrate CMG working in full effect, and change the industry from the bottom up. The big incumbent companies have little incentive to act at all.

We were able to discuss a lot about propellers and we realised that our system is still quite unique, and nobody is even looking at CPP, except for our partner, Bruntons. With Bruntons however, we were able to spend an excellent portion of the day discussing schematics, plans, and the approach to our partnership. Exciting stuff!

CPP in action. Courtesy of James Lyne.

COP26 and Eliminating ICE

Welcome back everyone!

This time we’re here to talk about COP26 and eliminating ICE from the marine industry.

The UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Uk.

The COP26 climate change conference has come to an end recently and world leaders have signed a new climate agreement. Progress has been made in some respects, but it is a far-cry from what is truly needed. Many industries are being slowly driven towards lowering emissions, including the marine industry. But in a lot of respects, it’s too little, too late.

A new technology must be ‘bankable’ and usable. It must be competitive in the market and must be simpler or compelling to use. Solar and wind power are now the cheapest forms of energy available, and the end user can choose a green energy plan simply and without complication. The rapid uptake of electric vehicles has been due, in large part, to them being far better than their ICE competitors; faster, safer, and with home charging; most E.V’s rarely visit a charging station, eliminating even the thought of having to recharge.

The pathway to a clean and socially stable future is going to be built on the back of technology that people don’t have to adapt to use, and that come to users’ natural inclinations. Our project is going to show a yacht that is both safer and simpler than any other currently afloat. It is our vision that CMG is the solution that can be the backbone for the whole industry to move away completely from fossil fuels. We will have to demonstrate the safety and comfort, and it will be the boat owners that will drive change, not government regulation.

There are signs of regulations coming through that harm end-users due to belated government action on climate change. Emissions and noise restrictions in areas with large coasts are on the horizon, and as a community of seafarers, we look forward to not being affected in the least, because CMG enabled us to reach zero-emissions while keeping the experience of sailing intact.

Many of the main OEM’s are supplying a myriad of awesome electric motors, batteries, and other solutions and everyone will have their own implementation of CMG to make it work safely and reliably. We are committed to making this widely available, as quickly as we can, so that everyone can benefit, and not be hampered by the well-due regulations that are coming to the marine world.

We can eliminate fossil fuels from our industry faster that what has been agreed to at COP26. We believe 100% zero emissions is possible for all sailing and cruising yachts before 2050. Before CMG, the only realistic option was a hybrid system, saving only between 10-30% of emissions, while also being expensive and predicted only to achieve a maximum of 5% of the market share by 2025.

First we need to get Whio II in the water, show off just how effective CMG can be, and then we can start changing the industry over to fully-electric and zero-emissions. Make sure to read our previous blog posts to learn more about how CMG and Whio II intend to do this.

Electric Vs Diesel Storage

Hello again everyone!

Recently, researchers with the National Renewable Energy Research Labs, a department of the DoE in the USA, published a paper entitled “Optimal strategies for a cost-effective and reliable 100% renewable electricty grid“.

It’s interesting and relevant because it is based on extending the smart energy system to the US, even if the fundamental principles have been widely promoted in academic arenas since the 1980’s.

Some of the skepticism surrounding our claims, especially the claim to unlimited range and houseload energy production, is grounded in the false assumption that a smart energy system must “store” as much energy as is found in a tank of fuel. Our Blog on Energy Management addresses the smart energy system but the aforementioned publication shows how slowly the establishment comes around to these nuanced and complex understandings regarding the challenge of moving to 100% renewable.

While their paper considers a grid scale, the concept is directly applicable to our project because at all times the ‘grid’ must be able to absorb all the energy it requires and distribute it at a fixed voltage and frequency to the end user. It is the same requirement for a closed loop system, like the one aboard Whio II, just 7 orders of magnitude smaller.

After reading the paper in detail, it becomes clear that their approach is very similar to ours. Providing managed storage, highly efficient use (electric has about 75% less losses per NM travelled), biddable loads, alternative storage mediums (hot water, or desalinated water), and a large capacity for oversupply (in supercharging mode, 50kW) means an effective and balanced combination is achieved.

“Why isn’t it being done if it is so well understood?” We hear you ask.

Herein lies the key ingredient to our closed loop system. To achieve a smart energy system in a grid requires tens of thousands of individual actors, companies, and institutions to work together, while I as the operator of Whio II, have the ability to control everything. From propulsion to generation, supply and demand, safety and comfort; everything can be balanced from the helm.

In Whio II’s case, everything is calculated with well-defined error margins. With this overview we can easily model energy flows and show conclusively that there are plenty of resources to allow you to get from A to B safely and comfortably.

There is still a lot to prove for CMG. Unfortunately there are commerical speed-bumps that hinder us talking more freely about some of the techinical aspects. However, I hope that this paper and the article that lead me to it helps everyone in understanding our methodology is sound and a simple reapplication of well-understood systems in a more controllable and much smaller scale. We really hope that this approach is going to play a major role in the electrification of the marine industry!

We’re all looking forward to building and kickstarting the revolution towards 100% zero-emissions!

Experience At Sea

Welcome back everyone!

Our project head and founder has was away last month doing some yacht deliveries around Europe. It’s been a while since he’s been sailing, so getting some time back out at sea has been invaluable for reaffirming some of our beliefs in the design of Whio II, and the CMG project as a whole.

We’ve got some exciting news and events coming forth very soon, but for now, we thought it might be nice to show what Andy has been up to out around Europe.

First up was a taking a Lagoon 42, up to England. A catamaran I am sure many of you will be quite familiar with.

Quite a snug space to sleep in, and perhaps a little bit loud and creaky. Quite a contrast to the mansions along the English coast.

But what a fantastic trip! A good week, with some weather delays, but all around; smooth sailing!

Beautiful sights, and some long nights, but the delivery was made without issue. The Lagoon 42 proved to be an able vessel, albeit with some discomfort in rougher seas. Difficult to sleep with all the creaking that boat made.

Next up was a monohull, another crew, and a trip that started in the Mediterranean.

And what blue seas they were! Amazing crystal clear waters and such beautiful skies.

The mighty Spanish Fjords and then around the Cape of Death and up towards France!

They then crossed the Bay of Biscay, and headed to Brittany, to then cross over to England once more, just in time to avoid some poor weather. It may have been a great deal easier with a CMG system onboard, but it was great to have Andy back out at sea, doing what he loves!

Check out our little video on the journey here, and thanks for stopping by!

Batteries

Welcome back to another blog post!

It’s been a while, and we’ve been busy gaining some hands-on experience at sea, which we will talk about very soon.

This week we wanted to talk to you about batteries.

Originally, there was an idea about utilizing a modern automotive battery system on board our all-electric yacht, Whio II. However, the engineers who worked on the preliminary design have advised that the chemistry preferred by the automotive industry is oriented towards providing fast charging and extremely fast discharge. This allows for the rapid acceleration and high performance demanded by the modern electric car. In our case however, the batteries are only going to receive a trickle charge for the vast majority of their life via the solar panels or from the impellor while cruising. The batteries’ discharge requirements are going to be limited by the engine size; roughly 20% of what an electric car motor might use.

Utilizing batteries designed for industrial energy systems, instead of automotive ones.

Our engineers recommended a battery design based on industrial energy storage applications, manufactored by CATL. CATL is currently the largest battery manufacturer on Earth and is not solely focused on the automotive industry. By changing our apporach to battery selection, we have managed to improve the warranty period by more than double. This is achieved by a mixture of form and chemistry that is entirely suited to the more gradual nature of the charge/discharge and deep cycle that we will be able to exploit. The engineers specified a very large battery pack with a fantastic power-to-weight ratio. The reduced cooling requirement (fewer pumps and ancillary equipment) again improves reliability over the lifecycle of the system. It is hoped that this approach will extend the overall lifetime of the pack, and we will not need to consider changing the batteries for the entire lifetime of the boat, which is more than 20 years.

As mentioned in a previous blog, the arrangement of the battery pack may lead to an operating voltage of over 700v. This in turn reduces the current in the system, makes for smaller cables, and better heat management. This also reduces weight, simplifies the system, and improves reliability. With the battery pack and electrical system being a dangerous voltage, improved relability is important and a set of troubleshooting/safety procedures will be strictly implemented. Electronic monitoring of cells and a sophisticated BMS should provide all the safety we require.

We look forward to CATL being our preferred supplier and the lessons learned from this system being more widely implemented in the marine sector.

Stay tuned, as we’re back and will be updating you on all the recent activities we’ve had, here at home…

… and out at sea!

Why Aluminium?

Welcome back everyone! Time for some more details about Whio II and its design.

One of the key areas of energy management is the knowledge that energy can change its form. The efficiency of this change is a strong indicator of the efficiency of the overall system.

In recent years, companies such as Windelo and Sunseeker have released new ‘Eco Yachts’ using novel materials to build the hull and insulation. While the energy contained in the building materials is a part of the consideration, a more rigorous approach is to look at the entire life cycle of what is being created. When we talk about a ‘life cycle’ we mean from the cradle to the grave; the impact of its creation, what it requires to maintain, and what it costs to dispose of at the end. This completes a circle of calculation about energy inputs, the impact on the environment, chemicals produced/released and so on.

If your goal is to make a low-emissions vessel, it does not make much sense to choose eco-friendly materials and then put in large engines which release a lot of carbon.

In our search for true eco-friendly materials, it is hard to look past aluminium. As you can see from the graph above, aluminium has the highest energy density of any known material and it is substantially higher than batteries or hydrogen conversion when thinking about harvesting renewable energy and storing it in some form. Once made, aluminium can be cut, welded, and reformed in so many ways, but the energy required to make it is kept safe and sound within the material for the foreseeable future. Our approach in thinking about the entire life cycle means that at the end of this vessel’s useful life, the aluminium will be worth almost as much as what is cost to build from and the hulls and main structure of the vessel are almost completely recyclable.

In the previous few blogs we’ve shared, we had some really amazing comments from people all over the world talking about CMG and its potential impact on the industry.

Particularly, we received many questions about why we are building our demonstration vessel from scratch, and not purchasing an existing yacht and refurbishing it; being more environmentally friendly.

Whio II will be only one part of the used aluminium’s life cycle.

It is very difficult to improve the life cycle and economics of recycling an older vessel. In our case we are trying to produce a stunning demonstration of CMG at work and we want to design Whio II to be the best a yacht can be, rather than shoehorning this new technology into an existing vessel. In an effort to ensure that this entire project has the lowest possible environmental impact, we need to be able to be able to select all the materials involved, and aluminium is our material of preference because when all is said and done, the hull can be scraped, repurposed and utilised once again, giving it a far longer life cycle than just our vessel. It’s ability to be repurposed give it the lowest overall impact of any alternative building material.

The Plan for CMG

Hello again everyone! Thank you for tuning into our blog.

A lot of people have asked about what our plan for CMG is.

The modelling of CMG has shown it to be an extremely powerful tool. Most energy management processes, particularly those involving renewable energy, require attention to future forecasting for potential production from solar, wind, and demand-side operation. Being able to predict your production and compare it to your load-management is an effective strategy at all scales, from the national grid, all the way down to the micro-grid that would exist on Whio II.

Whio II

Because the technology does not really rely on any particular technical solution, it would be useful for any type of yacht, be it a catamaran or a monohull. Yacht owners who currently travel the world with minimal energy use can continue to do that however, their increased ability to manage their energy systems means they don’t need to carry around extra fuel or a diesel back-up.

From a commercial point of view, it is our intention to work with the world’s leading OEM suppliers to provide a CMG solution that works with their equipment. It seems reasonable to expect that the next time you buy navigation equipment, some form of CMG would be embedded in the hardware, and you’d be able to input your technical specifications to provide management options for your vessel.

One challenge we need to tackle to make this all happen is to build a community of people with a variety of backgrounds and learning experiences who are working to assist in providing CMG solutions to others in the community. We believe that mutual assistance will be the key to getting CMG in as many boats as possible. The building of this community will determine if and how we are able to provide CMG solutions to existing yacht owners and people building new yachts.

From a commercial perspective, the company intends to work with large production boat manufacturers developing a solution for rental boats, so there is an opportunity for people to ‘try before you buy.’ If we are successful, then there will be ample opportunity to see CMG in operation and for people to see it and try it for themselves. To see that operating CMG is as simple as sailing the yacht as per normal. Further, that anybody can use CMG to eliminate their needs for fossil fuels, and we fully expect this technology to become ubiquitous throughout the sailing industry.

This is our ultimate goal; our reason for doing what we are trying to do. We realised early on that cornering the market on CMG was only going to hinder the rapid uptake of the technology. We are focused on allowing CMG to be the reason for electrification, and those companies that are already in the business of supplying equipment would really be where the growth and financial returns are. To start this process however, we do need to demonstrate the concept and operation. We are very excited with our fledgling community so far, and they are the catalyst for the future demand and growth of this technology.