This year, as we were not on the way to the Caribbean – we went to The Bahamas instead – the timing worked out to fly to Amsterdam for the biggest Marine Tradeshow – METS. At least in the end it worked out for one of use but that’s a different story.
We had been to METS in 2016 during our refit in France. Already impressive at the time, the trade show didn’t get any smaller. It took me almost the complete three days to see all the 7 halls and walk through all the aisles. I had some meetings in between and stopped at some stands but this should give you a good idea of the dimensions of this show.
METS is an exciting opportunity to see and test new products and to meet old and new suppliers and friends in one “concentrated” Marine environment. METS also featured this year “E-nnovationlab”, a selection of suppliers and stands that focused on hybrid and electric propulsion systems in combination with battery and generator technologies. There were also interesting presentations on a separate stage from different suppliers, naval architects and experts on the topics.
Moonwave’s owner 10 years ago invested energy and passion in the hybrid system. At this time he convinced Gunboat it was the right thing to do and this how 4 of the Gunboats 60 have been developed around hybrid technology. The beginnings were difficult of course but the right things have been done since. A complete ecosystem was set up, including engineers, boatbuilders, mechanics, electrician, sailors and operators. From this initial stage to today all the hybrid gunboats have been experiencing different level of developments in their systems. But for Moonwave team we decided to go all the way, experiencing and testing three different hybrid systems. Today we would qualify our experience to be successful as we manage to find the right balance between the boat requirement and what the hybrid system has to offer.
Now taking a step back and looking at the “E-nnovationlab” here at METS that mostly focused on hybrid and electric propulsion systems, we realize that the world is finally changing and the interest into this technology is getting momentum. Moonwave team is very proud of having pioneered in this domain and market. We are already looking at new challenges.
Since May 2018 we are running with the current Deep Blue Hybrid System from Torqeedo – we did some upgrades since than but only because they were nice to have and available, not because we needed them [upgrade of the battery capacity of 30% within same battery housing, weight etc. and titanium saildrive legs instead of the aluminum ones that came with the motors].
Most important, the system is very reliable and user-friendly on board Moonwave. We invested a lot of time and effort in placement of components, cooling systems, cable runs, accessibility and ergonomics which makes it a great success. We also continue to work with the engineer of Torqeedo to adapt the system/software and improve it.
It is great to see and “actually use everyday” all the R&D [research & development] that we have done over the last eight years that have resulted in a reliable, almost maintenance-free and performant Hybrid System. We especially love the “integration” and the comfort that comes with the system. At anchor we only run the generator every other day for about an hour due to our big battery capacity [i3 Battery] and solar installation – with all comfort of electric cooking, water maker, washing machine and without even checking the battery state of charge. The generator starts when it has to and when the battery is full, it stops without us having to interact with it.
As mentioned in other posts, the diesel generator is the one that gives us the most maintenance – other than that the system is almost maintenance free.
To come back to METS now – it was great to listen to some of the presentations about Hybrid Propulsions systems and new products. It is also very interesting that now the big “diesel” companies like Volvo Penta have launched their first test boat with electric/hybrid propulsion system. Their system is just at the beginning and still misses a lot of functions that we love about our installation, regeneration is one of them]. And it seems that there will be more coming to the market soon.
There is also a growing market for Hybrid System of bigger scales for Superyachts. As the electric engines are much smaller than diesel ones, they can free up “prime” space at the back of the boats for owner use. The generators can be moved more forward in the boat and this is more convenient for noise as well for balancing weight more center.
There is a multitude of providers of electric engines, different sizes and shapes and purposes – too many to list them all but very few are providing a full integrated package like Torqeedo with their Deep Blue Hybrid System.
It is great to see that there is lots of movement on this market and that more and more persons are interested in “clean” and “quiet” electric propulsion for their boats with either leisure or commercial application.
We are definitely “hooked” to electric and hybrid propulsion and would not want it any different. Moonwave is well thought out for the Hybrid System and we are very happy with the System that we have for now – lots of comfort.
You can find more information on the Hybrid system of Moonwave, feedback and specification in the blog section on moonwave.com as well industry news. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions and/or leave a comment below. We are getting contacted by phone and emails about twice a week on the topic and we are always happy to share our first hand experience. The more people are showing commitment and interest it the technology, the more movement in R&D and this is great from the whole industry.