A little more than a hundred years have passed since the beginning of industrial oil and gas production, and mankind is facing the threat of self-destruction. The rapid development of industry, urbanization of society and complete indifference to the environment have led to global climate change on earth.
Industrial enterprises throw poisonous waste products into the atmosphere, oil refineries produce millions of tons of gasoline, which, when burned in the carburetors of millions of cars, make the air poisonous. If we add to this list at least the harm from the chemical industry and uncontrolled deforestation, the disaster will turn out to be quite real. People have become consumers, and locked themselves in their homes - shells. In order to somehow weaken the negative impact of humanity on the planet, representatives of 160 states adopted the Kyoto Agreement, which regulates the emission of greenhouse gases and the emission of harmful substances from the operation of internal combustion engines.
Car manufacturers, in turn, have introduced stringent requirements for limiting harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Such measures gave a good result. Working on new forms of combustion chambers, improving the quality of the intake, changing the piston, turbines, exhaust system and introducing many more technical solutions, the engineers managed to reduce harmful emissions by more than 50%.
But this turned out to be negligible, to such an extent the Earth suffered from humanity. An intensive search for alternative energy sources, given to us by nature, has begun. This is the sun, air and water - all that the sea offers. And if the Euro restrictions apply to car engines, then boat engines will also be replaced. Such projects already exist and have even been implemented. The European Directive RCD (Regreational Craft Directive), adopted in the early 2000s, provides for the reduction of the environmental impact of internal combustion engines of private ships.
In this article, experts 2yachts show the most promising types of engines that will replace gasoline and diesel.
These types of engines have already been tested in the automotive industry, and the first results of their use have shown encouraging results. Automotive giants in Japan and Europe have partnered with marine engine manufacturers (MTU, MAN, Volvo, Caterpillar) to create an innovative hybrid engine. The idea of combining a familiar diesel engine and an electric motor was realized in an engine that runs without noise and pollution.
If such a hybrid is not tied to a single transmission shaft, the electric motor and diesel can work autonomously. Developing a line of hybrid engines, manufacturers are actively working on technologies for increasing the conservation of electricity obtained from diesel generators, with its subsequent use to ensure the propulsion of the vessel. The autonomy and speed of a boat with a hybrid engine depends on the solution of this problem.
The use of solar energy to charge ship batteries is a very promising direction for creating alternative power plants. Absolute environmental friendliness and quiet operation are the main advantages of the electric motor. An example of the successful application of solar batteries in small-size fleets is the practical use of new generation engines on boats no more than 7 meters long. Engines up to 1000 kW require a large number of batteries and generators.
Continuing the development of this promising direction, the Planetsolar catamaran, 30 meters long, was created and tested in a round-the-world voyage. This voyage confirmed that without the use of gasoline or diesel fuel, having only electric motors powered by batteries and solar panels (area of 470 sq.m.), this type of engine has the prospect of being used in private shipping. Already, work is underway to build 85, 115, and 135 feet yachts, the power plant of which consists of solar panels to power the onboard equipment, while the main thrust will be provided by a diesel engine.
The basis of such an engine is the conversion of the chemical energy of fuel combustion (hydrogen) into electricity. In addition to hydrogen, there are installations with another fuel - methanol. The electric motor is powered by a DC generator powered by fuel cells. The promising direction of obtaining cheap and environmentally friendly energy is slowed down due to the complexity of storage and supply of the power plant, as well as the high price of fuel.
While work is underway to reduce the cost of manufacturing a hydrogen engine, the first seven-meter boat equipped with a new generation engine has successfully passed the tests, developing a speed of up to 10 knots with mixed thrust. A promising direction is the use of a hydrogen engine, which has been successfully used in the BMW 7 Series. The mixed work of gasoline and hydrogen has shown excellent results. This technology is considered in perspective for widespread use on rented yachts yacht rentals.
The successful use of liquefied gas engines in land transport pushed designers to equip private ships with the same engine. Considering that when a gas engine is running, the reduction of CO emissions is 20%, and of nitrogen oxide by 90%, the prospect of using such engines is quite real. Gasoline and diesel engines installed on yachts, after minor technical changes, become almost "clean" in terms of harmful emissions. Gas outboard motors are not uncommon today.
The only concern is the increased explosiveness of the fuel, but work to solve this problem is being successfully carried out. The technologies that scientists are considering to normalize the ecological situation have different directions. Now the problem is the accumulation of the received energy, but the charge of the first electric vehicles also did not suffice for a long time, right?
Extensive research is underway to create wind-powered engines. And where to use such an engine, if not on sea vessels? The day is not far off when a nuclear reactor the size of a cigarette packet will rotate the propeller shaft of every ship.