Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Deep Blue couples power with renewable energy

Published on July 13, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

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Torqeedo, the world’s foremost electric outboard manufacturer, recently announced its new hybrid electric system for yachts – Deep Blue Hybrid.

Hybrid drives aren’t a new thing, 96 metre Limitless which was built by Lürssen in 1997 was one of the first vessels to have a hybrid drive combining diesel and electric propulsion, however the current technology, 19 years later, is vastly improved.

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Deep Blue Hybrid is an integrated system that acts as an energy supply for both the vessel’s hybrid drive and all electrical appliances on board.  It’s not just a case of plugging in when you’ve got shore power, while at sea this innovative solution uses renewable sources to top up the system’s high-capacity batteries.

Dr Christoph Ballin and Dr Friedrich Böbel founded Torqeedo in 2004.  The two colleagues were looking into power boating on their local lake, Lake Starnberg.  The lake, which is close to Munich, is a popular recreation area but due to its protected status as a wetland of international importance there are restrictions on operating combustion engines.  The two Drs quickly realised that what they were looking for didn’t exist and decided to fill the gap and produce a clean efficient electric outboard.

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Torqeedo has historically focused on outboards and still has many models available from 1 to 20hp, but as electric boating has become more and more popular they have branched out into inboard motors, launching their Deep Blue inboard system in 2013, which ramped up the power available in a Torqeedo motor to 80hp.

A year later they acquired the pioneering Moonwave Systems GmbH who were working on hybrid power systems for yachts and they have incorporated this technology into their latest product, the Deep Blue Hybrid.

Deep Blue Hybrid takes things to the next level, combining Torqeedo’s powerful Deep Blue inboard drives with a fully integrated energy management system.  This is an eco-friendly solution that can also top up the state-of-the-art batteries.  If it’s sunny then there’s the solar power, if you’re under sail then energy is produced as the propeller rotates – a process known as hydro-generation – and presumably if you’re sailing then there’s all that lovely wind energy to be harnessed as well.

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On the type of luxury boat that this drive is aimed at energy needs are high; you don’t peg your pants out to dry on the rails, there’s a tumble dryer for that, and if it gets too hot, don’t open a porthole, close one instead and turn up the air-conditioner.  This kind of energy consumption can’t be completely covered by renewable sources and that’s where the hybrid comes in.  There is an efficient, modern diesel generator onboard which can be used to top up the batteries as and when needed, but the Deep Blue Hybrid has been optimised to ensure that this happens as infrequently as possible.

The high-performance battery technology has been inspired by the car industry and the battery banks onboard allow prolonged cruising for up to 50 nautical miles without having to use the generator.  The icing on the cake is the electric tender which can also be charged from the Deep Blue Hybrid on-board power system.

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