Here is a good resource article to help you decide what you need regarding Integrel and the amount of battery energy. Should you go with the full Integrel solution or can you get away with the new Integrel LITE?
Almost all your electronic devices on the boat will not amount to even 1/4-1/2 of the energy requirements of an air conditioner – and at night you are not using the other electronics, just the air conditioner. So that makes it easy. You just need to size your batteries to take care of the airconditioning requirements for a good night’s sleep. The reason you want to try to efficiently size your batteries is because of the cost of Li-Ion batteries. They are approximately $1000 kiloWatt-hour (kW.hr). A kW.hr is an amount of energy (In a 12-volt system, Americans would liken 1 kW.hr to 83 amp-hours)(An amp-hr is not a true measurement of energy. You must multiply by the voltage to get energy: 83 x 12 = 1000)
To determine the size of batteries required, here is a good datum point to start with. We tested a boat’s airconditioning energy load overnight. The parameters of the test were:
- Monohull boat – Beneteau 41
- 80 deg F water temperature
- 78 deg average night time temperature
- Thermostat set to 75 deg
- Hatches and companionway closed and curtains drawn
- Cabins and salon all open to each other internally
- No one slept on the boat that night (but note that humans do put off a lot of heat energy while sleeping. Up to 100 watts each.)
- Energy used through a 12 hour night 8pm to 8am – 12 kW.hrs – 1kW.hr per hour
- The boat was NOT fitted with a soft start air conditioning unit. Newer a/c units can be up to 30% more efficient. If you are fitting a new unit – ask for a soft start unit. Instant-on units draw up to 60-80 amps on startup which uses a lot of unnecessary energy.
As another real-world test, we tested the energy drain on a Sunsail 454 catamaran in the Mediterranean at the dock overnight. Water temperature was 75 deg and outside air was 72 deg with 8 people sleeping on board. The energy consumed was 11.5 kW.hrs. Although the boat was much larger, the water temperature and air temperature were around the comfortable sleeping and thermostat temperature of 75 deg F (24 deg C).
From the above, you can extrapolate to your size boat, while also considering ambient water and air temperatures, in order to gain the energy used. Also, look at the practical conditions. Perhaps you can close off all cabins that are not being used and only have the a/c on in your 1 cabin. Perhaps you can cool the boat down first inside with the engine running earlier on in the evening so that you are not using battery energy to cool surfaces and mattresses etc. i.e. you start with a cool boat when you turn off the engine and start running from battery only. In these manners, the above boat could get down to maybe 5kW.hrs during the night.
Also, keep in mind that Lithium-Ion can only use about 80% of its reported storage value. For example, if you have 7kW.hrs on Lithium-Ion storage capacity, you can really only use 5.6kW.hrs.
Considering the above monohull boat, with some efficiencies employed, a 7kW.hr battery storage bank could possibly work to run your air conditioning at night. In the morning your batteries would be almost depleted. But within a short time running the Integrel smart generator, (connected to your main propulsion engine in much the same way an alternator is connected) you would be topped back up again.
The Integrel LITE produces 6kW of electrical power – meaning in 1 hour, it can produce 6kW.hr of energy. Thus for the above situation of using 5kW.hr, in less than 1-hour engine run time, you have replaced your depleted energy. Compare this to a full night running your standard generator. Compare this to listening to the generator noise all night. Compare all this to the environmental nuisance you make of yourself running a generator all night. If you’re trying to go lite on cost then consider this – the worst thing is that you have to get up in the night and turn on your main engine and generate electricity for a half hour and create another 3kW.hrs of energy to complete the rest of your sleep (6kW for 1/2 hr = 3 kW.hrs). Not bad considering a standard generator runs all night. With Integrel LITE, you could also invest in another 7 kW.hrs of energy capacity to make it through the night on a bigger boat.
The cost of Integrel LITE is currently $US14,995 (@1.31 $US to GBP exchange rate) plus taxes and shipping. The pack includes the following:
- Integrel Generator (7″ dia by 8″ deep)
- Engine Mount (mounts on the opposite side of the alternator)(Yanmar and Volvo supported) (Integrel-side drawing supplied for other engine types)
- Serpentine Belt
- Integrel Controller (8″ by 8″ by 4″)
- Data Display Screen 5″
- 7 kW.hr Lithium-Ion Batteries (2 of 3.5 kW.hr ea) (23″ long by 8.5″ high by 10″ wide)
- Proprietary Li-Ion Safety cut-off-switch
- 3 kW Inverter (with remote on/off panel as an optional extra)
- All necessary Data Cables
- Complete Installation Instruction Manual
What you need to provide:
- Battery Cables to length
- Bus Bars
- Installation labor
- Shipping cost to your location (Current stock in Austin, Texas and Hayle, UK)
Integrel LITE’s big sister or really its Momma is “Integrel”. Integrel produces 9kW of energy which amounts to you being able to charge your batteries even faster.
For perspective, your standard alternator produces less than 1kW of power and even less when it heats up – around the order of 500 watts. It’s no wonder when you go on charter that the charter company asks you to run the engine(s) for a full two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening just to charge your batteries. And if you don’t do it, you’re going to be sorry with very warm drinks and meats going off pretty quick in the fridge. Wow – that’s a lot of diesel and pollution especially when you think about 500 charter boats in a popular charter destination like the BVI (2000 hours per day of stinky diesel engines running). The shame of it all is that when you convert a 40 hp engine to potential kilowatts output, that’s about 30 kW. But your alternator is trickling out only 500 watts – what a waste of engine run time.
This is why we’re all so excited about the Integrel Solution. Integrel creates more creature comfort with a quiet night’s sleep, oodles of energy to run everything with minimal engine run-time, and all this without a heavy, expensive, and maintenance-heavy generator. Now when you think about it – a generator is just another diesel engine on your boat purely designed to make electrical energy. But wait … there is already a diesel engine on the boat- your propulsion engine. Integrel simply creates an efficient means to turn that diesel into your generator using a device not much bigger than an alternator and a smart electronic controller box about (8″ by 8″ by 4″).
To add some further information to your decision making effort, a typical electric and electronically loaded boat with say radar, chart plotter, bow thruster, electric heads, fridge, freezer, inverter, electric stovetop, and other toys can consume up to 4kW.hrs of energy during the daytime. Some of this 4 kW.hrs can be made up with solar. Solar generates about 300 watts per square meter. On a monohull, 2 sq meters is pretty big but can be done. In 6 hours then you could generate 3.6 kW.hrs (300 x 2 x 6) – on a sunny day! But without solar, 4 kW.hrs can easily be generated by Integrel LITE with 20 minutes of running in the morning and 20 minutes of running in the evening. That’s about the same time you run your engine anyway while hoisting and dousing the sails and or performing anchoring or mooring maneuvers. i.e so that is really essential free energy. If you are running the air conditioner at night, then you will need to run your engine longer in the morning to top up your battery energy drain from the previous night.
Integrel LITE generates up to 6kW. It is really designed for smaller monohulls – around 40 feet and less OR where you will permanently operate in waters where the water temperature and night time temperature is close to your comfortable sleeping temperature. On smaller catamarans, you could install an Integrel LITE on each engine giving you 12kW of available energy generation.
When you have a big airconditioning load you might consider upgrading to the full Integrel solution to be able to top up your batteries faster.
With Integrel LITE, you can install yourself. It’s not hard, but you really do need to know what you are doing. If you’re not familiar with boat electrical systems, then you should hire a local professional to help.
With the full Integrel, we do require that you hire a professional purely because the current produced is much higher and there is an increased level of danger with a non-professional installation.
GAIN CREATURE COMFORT, SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT, GET AN INTEGREL LITE FOR YOUR BOAT NOW!