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Gull to cruise the lake quietly

By johnboy 4 September 2012 30

andrew barr and gull

Andrew Barr is letting us know about the launch of Lake Burley Griffin Cruises electric boat:

Today I was pleased to help launch Lake Burley Griffin Cruises’ newly converted electric Gull vessel.

During winter, Lake Burley Griffin Cruises, owned by long-time locals Jim and Virginia Paterson, converted their 30 passenger vessel Gull, to electric propulsion.

The vessel is powered by ActewAGL’s Green Choice energy to align with the owners’ low carbon footprint business philosophy.

It’s fantastic to see a small tourism operator investing in their business to not only enhance the experience for visitors to the nation’s capital but also to make their business operation more environmentally friendly.

The Patersons are no strangers to electric power, with their other vessel, the Cygnet, the first all electric commercial vessel to operate on Lake Burley Griffin when they began their service in 2003.


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Gull to cruise the lake quietly
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mcleodwealth 9:45 am 08 Sep 12

Regardless, hydrogen is still just an efficient fuel transport and storage mechanism, just a particularly volatile one as it has a “high GI” if you will. Bio-diesel or any other form of chemical fuel can also be produced from solar energy, but it’s much more boring and does not tend to invoke romantic visions of the future-we-were-meant-to-have. But sometimes boring is good. It means, potentially, you just feed in the new fuel source in to existing networks and vehicles and be done with it. Much less capital intensive and faster to adapt.

Indeed, current research suggests around 2.7KW per cubic metre of waste can be obtained. Nothing to sneeze at. And it can also pump out some bio-degradable plastic so we can all have our plastic shopping bags back again please.

Improved performance of CEA microbial fuel cells with increased reactor size, Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 8273-8280

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2012/ee/c2ee21964f

But sadly, research has often also shown that due to the tribal nature of our evolution and our tendency to ‘future discounting’ (i.e prefer short term social gains over long term solutions) – voters tend to prefer socially visible ‘solutions’ such as solar power, to something such as say microbial fuel cells attached to the sewage plant down the river.

There is literally megawatts of energy being wasted in that resource while we debate the merits of proven abatement failures such wind coal combinations.

And I tend to agree that electrical propulsion would tend more to the social gain than the environmental gain side of the equation once you factor in supply chain loss.

I suspect that at least chemical transport would have a relatively lower distribution loss than electricity.

So yeah sign me up to that one.

Anyone up for an investor take over to future harvesting rights on the local sewage plant?

Real solutions for real investors and real environmentalists 🙂

I would have had more respect for this local policy if it actually abated any CO2 emissions, but I doubt we will see any solid evidence that social measures ever will.

ummmm_no 1:29 am 08 Sep 12

c_c said :

As a fuel cell, I don’t believe…

Look! Up in the sky! It’s FuellyBoy!

gazket 10:42 pm 07 Sep 12

I’m surprised the boat doesn’t run on methane since the hill next to the lake is full of bullshit.

c_c 10:17 pm 07 Sep 12

johnboy said :

Why you’d want difficult, dangerous hydrogen when methanol fuel cells will work just as well is beyond me.

As a fuel cell, I don’t believe hydrogen propulsion is any more dangerous than the very volatile compounds used in lithium chemistry batteries not becoming common in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.

Regardless, you should probably read up on just how bad methanol, and more broadly bio-fuels could potentially be for people around the world.

RadioVK said :

I won’t be really impressed untill it runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

You’re wasting your time on battery/hybrid technology. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is the future.

I wouldn’t hold your breath on that. Biggest issues with hydrogen aren’t filling infrastructure, of production, or safety. It’s energy density for fuel cells. And I’ve not seen enough progress on it in 10yrs.

mcleodwealth 10:07 pm 07 Sep 12

RadioVK said :

johnboy said :

Why you’d want difficult, dangerous hydrogen when methanol fuel cells will work just as well is beyond me.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and more importantly, you don’t need to grow it.

It’s also easy to make out of any source of water, which makes it almost impossible for anyone to gain any sort of monopoly on its production or supply.

Yes, Hydrogen can be tricky, and a bit tempramental, but these problems are hardly insurmountable.

But there are still not reserves of hydrogen lying around that we just go and mine, and it needs to oxidise or react with something to be of any use. It’s still just a very powerful energy transport and storage system. It does sound good though. Perhaps more sexy than say bio-diesel buses powered by fermented sewage, even if the latter made more business and environmental sense (hypothetically speaking).

There is also the question of source energy. When Victoria rolled out all those wind plants and associated ‘credits’, someone forgot that coal plants do not vary consumption, only output. So the wind plants not only failed to reduce CO2 output, they actually increased it due to their own construction and maintenance footprints. All the while driving up energy costs care of tax payer funded subsidies.

Meanwhile the least sexy solutions don’t seem to get much airplay – like say fermenting sewage to power existing vehicles using existing distribution networks, or, forbid, even considering nuclear power even though statically speaking it is safer than any other industry and actually releases less radioactive waste in to the environment than burning coal does (go figure).

Sometimes it’s not as simple as rolling out a few token feel good measures, you really need to look under the hood (sic) and consider what may actually make a real difference without sending us all bankrupt at the same time.

RadioVK 6:39 pm 07 Sep 12

johnboy said :

Why you’d want difficult, dangerous hydrogen when methanol fuel cells will work just as well is beyond me.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and more importantly, you don’t need to grow it.

It’s also easy to make out of any source of water, which makes it almost impossible for anyone to gain any sort of monopoly on its production or supply.

Yes, Hydrogen can be tricky, and a bit tempramental, but these problems are hardly insurmountable.

p1 8:04 pm 05 Sep 12

‘Cause there is no transmission loss with diesel… The pipes from Saudi Arabia to here are completely frictionless….

HenryBG 6:52 pm 05 Sep 12

tommo said :

Actually, electric motors are relatively efficient. In the context of electric vehicles vs diesel vehicles the electric variety has on board efficiency of 80% compared to the 20% for diesel engines.
Quality batteries if well maintained should also last at least 5 years.

So the electricity generated from coal at moderate-to-low efficiency, reduced further by transmission loss, is used, with yet more loss of power, to charge these boat batteries which then lose another 20% to generate motive power and need replacing after (the optimists tell us) 5 years.?

You are comparing 4 stages of efficiency loss with the single stage lost by diesel engines, which last for decades without needing replacing, and, when they do, generate far, far less waste than clapped-out batteries.

Don’t get me wrong – I am all for the democratisation of power through making the power company monopoly rip-off obsolete, but re-packaging power-company electricity as “Green” just because you’ve pumped it into a battery is completely – and utterly – ludicrous.

tommo 5:34 pm 05 Sep 12

Truthiness said :

I nearly had a Tesla shipped in, until I read about how they die completely if you leave them unplugged for a couple of weeks, at which point it takes $40k to replace the batteries. Tesla’s aware the issue is widespread, but instead of fixing the problem, they have added tracking devices to every car so they can find you when it breaks down.

As awesome as the Tesla’s specs are, there are still some hidden costs I’m not comfortable with.

I didn’t realise that, but when would it ever really be unplugged for a couple of weeks. Even if you’re not using it surely you could keep it plugged in. I also imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to add some sort of device to discharge and then recharge the batteries weekly for long periods in which it isn’t in use.

p1 4:22 pm 05 Sep 12

johnboy said :

meaning methanol will ship just fine in the existing logistics chain!

Yes, but when you wanna produce a lot of it, you have to start growing crops to provide the inputs. Which is renewable (fertilizers etc aside) but means you can’t use that land for food production…

I tend to think all these options have pros and cons, and all of them probably have little niches where they would excel.

The idea that the coal companies are pushing hydrogen disturbs me a little though.

Truthiness 4:09 pm 05 Sep 12

I nearly had a Tesla shipped in, until I read about how they die completely if you leave them unplugged for a couple of weeks, at which point it takes $40k to replace the batteries. Tesla’s aware the issue is widespread, but instead of fixing the problem, they have added tracking devices to every car so they can find you when it breaks down.

As awesome as the Tesla’s specs are, there are still some hidden costs I’m not comfortable with.

Truthiness 4:01 pm 05 Sep 12

hydrogen can be produced cleanly using a photocatalyst, the simplest such catalyst I’ve seen is merely powdered anatese and lye. The ingredients are common and the method is simple, we could all make our own hydrogen out of sunlight and water.

The problem is, hydrogen is tricky to store safely, it has a habit of exploding most inconveniently during accidents.

p1 3:31 pm 05 Sep 12

johnboy said :

Why you’d want difficult, dangerous hydrogen when methanol fuel cells will work just as well is beyond me.

The only advantage I see to hydrogen is the production of it, on site, using electricity. Methanol fuel cells, while perhaps better then using methanol in a internal combustion engine, is still limited by the need to produce methanol, ship and store it.

    johnboy 3:37 pm 05 Sep 12

    meaning methanol will ship just fine in the existing logistics chain!

    johnboy 3:41 pm 05 Sep 12

    Also if you follow the money in the hydrogen push you quickly find the coal industry.

    The Fischer–Tropsch process can convert coal into diesel, hydrogen, and insane pollution. So a market for the hydrogen and a greenwash works nicely for all concerned.,

Mysteryman 2:15 pm 05 Sep 12

tommo said :

RadioVK said :

tommo said :

RadioVK said :

I won’t be really impressed untill it runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

You’re wasting your time on battery/hybrid technology. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is the future.

Right, except for the few miracles required before anyone invests in the mass production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Of course the car and fuel industries like the idea of hydrogen fuel cells because it still requires you to go a service station and fill up.
I agree that the whole hybrid thing is a waste of time (being only a half-assed step in the right direction).

There is the Honda Clarity trial currently running in Califonia (I think). It’s relatively small scale at the moment, but as a proof of concept, it’s a big step.

I’m aware of this and will admit it’s not a bad effort. It is indeed running in select parts of California where hydrogen refueling is available. However mass production is at least 6 years away which is optimistic given the investment that needs to be made in hydrogen refueling stations and the reduction in vehicle cost required before the public would consider such an alternative.
In comparison a Tesla Roadster (whilst not as practical) or even the Tesla Model S is much cheaper with similar mileage and is more powerful.
The Ford Focus Electric is similar to the Clarity in terms of practicality and has similar power but less mileage. Again it is much cheaper though.
However the best thing about these is you are not dependent on any fuel, no need to go to a servo, no dependance on fuel empires, you can charge at home. Now imagine if just a fraction of the the half trillion that may be needed to put up hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the US alone was instead invested in battery technologies and battery recycling/reuse.

The Tesla Model S looks fantastic. I’d love to drive one.

tommo 1:56 pm 05 Sep 12

RadioVK said :

tommo said :

RadioVK said :

I won’t be really impressed untill it runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

You’re wasting your time on battery/hybrid technology. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is the future.

Right, except for the few miracles required before anyone invests in the mass production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Of course the car and fuel industries like the idea of hydrogen fuel cells because it still requires you to go a service station and fill up.
I agree that the whole hybrid thing is a waste of time (being only a half-assed step in the right direction).

There is the Honda Clarity trial currently running in Califonia (I think). It’s relatively small scale at the moment, but as a proof of concept, it’s a big step.

I’m aware of this and will admit it’s not a bad effort. It is indeed running in select parts of California where hydrogen refueling is available. However mass production is at least 6 years away which is optimistic given the investment that needs to be made in hydrogen refueling stations and the reduction in vehicle cost required before the public would consider such an alternative.
In comparison a Tesla Roadster (whilst not as practical) or even the Tesla Model S is much cheaper with similar mileage and is more powerful.
The Ford Focus Electric is similar to the Clarity in terms of practicality and has similar power but less mileage. Again it is much cheaper though.
However the best thing about these is you are not dependent on any fuel, no need to go to a servo, no dependance on fuel empires, you can charge at home. Now imagine if just a fraction of the the half trillion that may be needed to put up hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the US alone was instead invested in battery technologies and battery recycling/reuse.

p1 1:24 pm 05 Sep 12

tommo said :

Of course the car and fuel industries like the idea of hydrogen fuel cells because it still requires you to go a service station and fill up.

Hydrogen fuel cell are just a way of converting electricity (which stored in batteries has a low energy density) into something (hydrogen) which has a high energy density. Which overcomes one of the problems of poor range in EVs, at the cost of, as you say, having to go to a station and fill up (and having to put that station infrastructure in everywhere).

    johnboy 1:28 pm 05 Sep 12

    Why you’d want difficult, dangerous hydrogen when methanol fuel cells will work just as well is beyond me.

RadioVK 1:00 pm 05 Sep 12

tommo said :

RadioVK said :

I won’t be really impressed untill it runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

You’re wasting your time on battery/hybrid technology. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is the future.

Right, except for the few miracles required before anyone invests in the mass production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Of course the car and fuel industries like the idea of hydrogen fuel cells because it still requires you to go a service station and fill up.
I agree that the whole hybrid thing is a waste of time (being only a half-assed step in the right direction).

There is the Honda Clarity trial currently running in Califonia (I think). It’s relatively small scale at the moment, but as a proof of concept, it’s a big step.

tommo 12:31 pm 05 Sep 12

RadioVK said :

I won’t be really impressed untill it runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

You’re wasting your time on battery/hybrid technology. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is the future.

Right, except for the few miracles required before anyone invests in the mass production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Of course the car and fuel industries like the idea of hydrogen fuel cells because it still requires you to go a service station and fill up.
I agree that the whole hybrid thing is a waste of time (being only a half-assed step in the right direction).

RadioVK 12:00 pm 05 Sep 12

I won’t be really impressed untill it runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

You’re wasting your time on battery/hybrid technology. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is the future.

watto23 10:58 am 05 Sep 12

Keijidosha said :

The vessel is powered by ActewAGL’s Green Choice energy to align with the owners’ low carbon footprint business philosophy.

In light of recent information this stagement is likely to raise eyebrows.

Well assuming ACTEW choose to provide it from green sources its all OK 🙂

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