First resort in the Serengeti to run entirely on solar electricity with MG batteries

In Tanzania’s Serengeti on top of a hill you’ll find Lahia Tented Lodge, a brand new luxury resort with a magnificent view. Equally amazing is the fact that it’s the first accommodation in Africa’s best safari park to run entirely on solar electricity. Not just for heating water and burning lights, but the whole place, from the giant pumps supplying fresh water, up to the equipment for the infinity pool.

No more diesel generators using over a hundred liters of fuel each day, exhausting noise and toxic fumes, but an advanced off-grid large-scale eco-friendly solar system. A plant of 488 panels harvests energy during the day to power the entire property and load a bank of 20 MG HE Series lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 150 kWh to keep providing energy, long after the sun sets on the Serengeti.

It’s our first system to run in parallel redundant mode, which means several strings of batteries are connected in parallel and set up to control the Victron inverter/chargers through a digital link. Even in the event one battery string should fail, the installation will keep on running on the remaining ones. In case of an emergency or maintenance a back-up generator will seamlessly kick in.

It’s a proof of concept for the tourist industry that it can be done and this is how. While small solar systems are in wide use, most of them store their energy in lead-acid battery banks, which are limited in (dis)charge capacity. Put to heavy use in tough condition like these they only last a few years. This lithium-ion system is strong enough to power an entire off-grid tourist resort for at least a decade or more.

This system was commissioned in close cooperation with Anco van Bergeijk and our local dealer Gadgetronix.

 

Components used

Cruise completely silent and emissions-free in an eco-tender with MG batteries

Imagine you’re the very happy owner of a 50m Perini Navi sailing yacht, but over the years your needs have evolved. It’s not so much that you want a bigger boat, you’re longing for flexible cabin space for your guests and something more than a conventional RIB (rigid inflatable boat) to explore closer inshore to pursue your hobby of nature photography.

You purchase a vessel with the same graceful looks, quality feel and luxurious comfort as the mother ship, that provides additional accommodation and can operate independently as a 25m extension of your sailing yacht. It’s no ordinary tender, it’s an eco-tender, designed and built with a super yacht mentality with amenities and technologies to match.

For one, it comes with a sophisticated hybrid propulsion system developed by Siemens, which provides four operational modes:

  • Diesel mode: twin MAN diesel engines (2 x 1213 kW) power two Hamilton waterjets for a maximum speed in excess of 30 knots.
  • Hybrid mode: one engine drives its neighbouring waterjet and also serves as a generator for an e-motor to power the other waterjet.
  • Diesel-electric mode: a 130 kW generator supplies electricity for two e-motors to drive the waterjets.
  • Zero-emission mode: a 2 x 70 kWh MG RS Series battery bank powers both waterjets via the e-motors at around 8 knots for up to an hour.

Although close attention has been paid to minimising noise in all propulsion modes and keep contractual sound levels below 55dB throughout, it’s the last mode that allows you to cruise at low speed in marine parks or other environmentally sensitive areas, completely silent and emissions-free. Honestly, what more could you possible want?

 

Components used

  • 2 x MAN 1213 kW diesel engines
  • 2 x Siemens 150kW electric motor
  • 1 x Siemens Custom 135 kW generator
  • 2 x Hamilton HM531 waterjet
  • 2 x 10 RS Series battery modules (2 x 70 kWh)
  • 1 x MG Master HV

 

 

 

Preserving Venice by boarding a hybrid vaporetto with MG’s batteries

When visiting the beautiful city of Venice there are to ways to get around: on foot or by water. In case the former is no option, a vaporetto is the way to go. It’s Italian for water bus and a large fleet makes up a public transport network for the city and province, transferring hundreds and thousands of passengers each day, from the mainland across the lagoon, through the canals and to the nearby islands.

The increase of tourists and therefor transportation has a dangerous impact on the delicate environment of the lagoon in general and the canals in particular, with many precious historic buildings on their banks. The constant navigation and frequent manoeuvring generates a lot of waves and washing water, which in turn leads to progressive erosion of their foundations, draining them of sand and clay.

Operating conditions of a vaporetto are very particular. Due to the many stops, congested traffic, varying speed limits and timetable optimisation their navigation pattern show high acceleration and deceleration performances. The heavy sequence of stop-an-go transitions requires a very irregular power supply. When supplied directly by a generator, this would lead to high diesel consumption and high exhaust emissions.

Enter Liuto: an acronym for Low Impact Urban Transport water Omnibus. It’s a vaporetto with a low resistance hull and a hybrid energy solution, designed around two decades ago. The 300kW Siemens propulsion system used to be powered by lead-acid battery pack, which in turn was charged by a diesel generator running at constant speed. This way the engine could operate at its optimum efficiency level, minimising fuel consumption, pollutant emissions, vibrations and noise.

At the time the hydrodynamic impact was reduced by the optimised hull and propeller, while the hybrid energy solution was a good compromise between technical, economic and environmental requirements. Recently its lead-acid battery bank has been upgraded to MG’s RS batteries, two strings of eight modules each, controlled by a HV Master. Together they operate as peak power supply and energy buffer, under very high but short charge/discharge power levels.

This is what our RS Series excel at. Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries these lithium-ion modules can take in and push out a large amount of power in a short time. Liquid thermal management keeps the battery cells on temperature, to improve performance and extend cycle life. A redundant BMS, a unique cell-to-cell propagation protection and a built-in fire suppression mechanism take safety to the next level. As an added advantage they’re compact and lightweight.

Compared to steel or aluminium vessels with traditional propulsion systems Liuto is a beautiful example of a more efficient, more economic and more ecological solution even in a challenging application such as urban water transport. It generates less wave motion pollution, less air pollution and increases comfort for all passengers. Now it’s ready to serve another decade while protecting the delicate and valuable context of Venice and its lagoon, for both tourist and inhabitants alike.

Components used

MG’s safe and powerful solutions at the Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo 2019

From June 25-27 we’re at the Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo 2019, with a range of safe and powerful solutions we’re very excited to present to you.

On the threshold of an energy transition: impressions from the EES

It’s hard to describe the feeling of sheer excitement that filled us at ees Europe last week. We traveled to Munich for Europe’s largest and most international exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems. Together with around 470 suppliers of energy storage systems and technologies we presented our innovative products, solutions and services to around 50,000 visitors.

The atmosphere was vibrant due to a booming economic growth. A recent report by Delta-ee shows the European energy storage market grew by 75% in 2018 (which equals 1.2 gigawatts), marking a sharp upturn in a steeply ascending line. The trend reinforces earlier forecasts and is expected to continu worldwide. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) the global energy storage market will expand a staggering 13-fold over the next five years to nearly 1,000 GW by 2040.

We’ve noticed an increasing demand for domestic, commercial and industrial storage systems, with a focus on peak-shaving, off-grid and solar applications. MG offers a line of top-quality solutions to meet these demands when it comes to performance and efficiency. Moreover, while security regulations have yet to be developed for this sector, our products already comply with the highest safety standards for maritime storage systems. This makes them not only state of the art, but also future proof.

During the entire conference our booth was powered by our own energy storage systems, based on HE batteries configured in our E-Rack which was connected to our Energy Portal to monitor its performance real time. Apart from that we brought our RS Series to illustrate our head start when it comes to safety. Last but not least we introduced our new LFP Series in 12 and 24V, which suits a wide range of ess applications, both mobile and connected to the grid.

After three exhilarating days we traveled home with heads full of inspiration and hearts full of hope. The energy transition is definitely gaining traction and we are eager to take advantage of this grand momentum to expand our business even further by charging new territories to help the world run on renewable capacity with unlimited power. Full speed ahead!

MG’s energy storage systems at ees Europe 2019

From May 15 until 17 we’ll present our new E-Rack system at ees Europe in Munich, Europe’s largest and most international exhibition for energy storage.

MG celebrates ten year anniversary and an inspiring documentary

So today, ten years ago, they founded MG: ‘Back then we built the world’s first solar boats, now every new super yacht comes with a hybrid system. Think of where we could be in another ten years!’

Sealegs charges into the future with amphibious craft on renewable energy

Sealegs is a world leaders in amphibious crafts, designed and developed to take all the hassle out of boat launching and retrieval. The system simply drives from a storage location, down a boat ramp or beach and into the water. Once afloat, the wheels lift up out of the water to be stored against the hull, and the boat is used as normal.

The company has been driving the amphibious boating revolution since its start in 2001. The very first versions had electric motors driving the wheels, while across the rest of its models hydraulic propulsion is powered by a petrol engine. But the E4 combines high-torque brushless electric motors with MG’s high density 7kWh lithium battery technology. In many ways it may be the best Sealegs craft yet.

Without a petrol engine roaring the E4 is quieter, but runs faster and longer than conventional models. With a standard 150hp outboard it achieves 40 knots, while it drives for around 1.5 hours on a land, depending on speed, load and terrain. Performance is further increased by regenerative braking and outboard charging. All the usual safety features, such as emergency braking, are included.

Without having to accommodate a petrol engine, there’s more flexibility to house the 51 V 7 kWh lithium ion battery, which takes four to five hours to fully recharge, by simply plugging it into a 240 V mains supply. The outboard also feeds the battery via the VSR and a PowrFlow step-up charger, as does the regenerative braking system. Solar power is another option. All systems are connected to a central Naviop display which supports MG’s battery systems to show battery status.

Combining of the latest battery and motor technology quite possibly represents the future of amphibious boating. “The release of the Electric E4 takes Sealegs’ global leadership position in amphibious technology to the next level,” according to Founder and Chief Technology Officer Maurice Bryham. “We have made our amphibious system 33% faster, 60% quieter and 50% more powerful.”

Components used

Loodswezen saves weight by replacing lead acid battery banks by MG’s High Power alternative

Loodswezen‘s maritime pilots make sure sea-going ships enter and exit their ports as safely and efficiently as possible. Day and night. Under any circumstance. The highly trained crew assists over 90 000 vessels a year in their voyage to and from Dutch and Flemish seaports on the Scheldt River and is on call 24 hours a day.

Tenders are used for embarkation and disembarkation as well as transporting the pilots smoothly and securely. Normally these very manoeuvrable boats come equipped with large and heavy lead-acid battery banks in order to deliver energy for propulsion and onboard service systems.

However, in close cooperation with MG a unique and innovative systems has been installed, consisting of 4 compact, light yet highly powerful battery modules, strong enough to deliver the peak capacity needed to start both engines and keep all systems running.

The entire system weighs only 100 kg, which is 3 times less than the traditional lead acid battery banks. Yet it complies with Loodswezen’s high standards of safety and efficiency. But most importantly, the tenders run fast, quietly and conveniently.

Thus the project illustrates how a  successful cooperation results in a sustainable industrial application.

Components used

Engine starting systems, 24 V (twofold)

Service system, 24 V

Supply & installation

This system is supplied and installed by our partner Alewijnse Marine.