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.

Silent 55 sails free at sea with solar power and storage by MG

A growing number of luxury yachts is hybrid-electric. Some are even equipped with solar panels or power banks, but as these generally don’t provide enough energy to power both onboard systems and propulsion, most still rely on burning fossil fuels at least to some degree.

But that’s about to change. Enter Silent 55, the newest cruising catamaran by Silent Yachts, that relies nearly entirely on solar energy. No toxic exhaust, no noise from generators and no excessive vibrations from diesel engines. It’s virtually self-sufficient and maintenance-free.

The 55-foot vessel comes outfitted with 30 high-efficiency solar panels with a power output of around 9 kW. Using charge controllers this energy is stored in 28 high-energy Litium-Ion batteries to power both onboard amenities (through a 15 kVa inverter) as well as a its silent electric propulsion system.

The entire installation includes 2 systems, each consisting of 1 MG High Voltage Master and 14 MG High Energy Battery Modules, configured in series to achieve a system capacity of 2 x 70 kWh. Unique in this application is the unusually high system voltage of 400 VDC, while the setup is very compact and weighs only 2 x 400 kg.

A generator is on board for rough weather or emergencies, but the Silent 55 meant to cruise for weeks on end. Carefree.

Components used

2 systems, each consisting of:

Windcat Workboat sets a new standard for efficiency with batteries by MG

Windcat Workboats is Europe’s leading provider of specialist crew transfer vessels to offshore wind power industry. These high speed crafts are operated on a daily basis to ferry technicians and other personnel to and from installations in North West Europe, from the UK to Denmark and Germany.

The small yet fast catamarans are optimised to guarantee excellent quality of service, enabling the crew to perform their work offshore without delay, in a reliable and comfortable way. When it comes to operational safety the company is committed to the highest standards for international projects.

Windcat 41 is the latest addition to its fleet. This state of the art vessel, carrying 26 technicians, was built according to the latest technologies, rules and regulations. In order to comply with the industry’s energy reduction goals, while simultaneously meeting ever-increasing demands for higher comfort and performance, the 23 meter vessel was radically optimised in terms of hull design and – in stead of conventional batteries – outfitted with MG’s lithium-ion equivalents, due to their superior energy density.

The result surpassed all expectations. High performance, at a top speed of 31 knots using only two 720kW engines, with low fuel consumption and low emissions, stating a reduction of up to 40% compared to conventional designs. Which also yields a saving in costs. Thus the Wincat 41 sets a new industry standard for efficiency.

A total of four energy systems were installed, for emergency, service (twofold) and radio. Work on installing a similar setup on the next vessel is already underway. While MG’s energy systems are often used on luxurious super yachts, this projects shows they’re strong enough to perform on industrial workboats too.

Components used

Emergency system

Service systems (twofold)

Radio system

Supply, installation & certification

This system is supplied and installed by our partner Alewijnse Marine and certified by DNV-GL.

Pagani’s fast cruiser Mister A is powered by MG’s batteries

Aldo Pagini’s Mister A is everything you might imagine, when you think of a fast cruiser: a highly researched, technological and stylish 20-meter long sailing yacht that delivers top performance in great comfort. And not just for leisure and pleasure: it even steered to victory in the cruising division of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in 2004.

When it comes to the design, the materials are of special interest. A pre-impregnated vacuum-treated carbon fibre is used for the construction of both hull and deck, as well as the interior structures and even furnishings, in order to guarantee low weight and maximum strength. Yet it features everything you’ll need to enjoy your sailing trip in total relaxation.

So when it comes to batteries MG’s energy system is a perfect fit: low weight, low volume, yet superior high energy density.

Components used

Supply

This system is supplied by our dealer Asea Nautica.

Solar airplanes: future or reality?

Are solar airplanes reality?

Flying a commercial passenger airplane from point A to B takes a huge amount of energy and power. If these demands were translated to a sustainable solution based on current technology by replacing kerosene with batteries, the weight would be much higher and more surface would be needed (or more efficient solar cells) to yield sufficient energy.

So it may not be possible for commercial passenger flights yet, but there are several initiatives to prove that solar powered electric airplanes are indeed the future.

One example is the famous SolarImpulse initiative that aims to fly around world on solar energy. The Solar Stratos project takes it even one step further, demonstrating the potential use of renewable energy by taking on the challenge of flying a solar powered electric airplane all the way to the stratosphere (altitude of 20 km).

Apart from these special initiatives, there are a number of commercial manned and unmanned (drone) airplane projects with different goals. Google’s solar powered drone, for example, has the goal to spread internet all over the world, especially to remote areas. These so called atmospheric satellites also fly at an altitude of 20 km.

Solar energy

One thing alle these projects have in common is the need for solar energy to power their flight. This is where MG comes into play. The energy generated from a solar panel is only a small percentage of the available solar power, typically between 20% and 25%. On earth the average irradiation is around 1000 W/m2.

This means if a solar panel has an efficiency of 25% the generate solar power from the panel is 250 W per square meter. Because of the small amount of energy converted by the solar panel, it is important to convert this energy with the highest possible efficiency in order to use it for propulsion or charging batteries.

The Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT)

Converting solar power to charge batteries with the highest efficiency is one thing, but solar panels are not an ideal source of energy. Each solar panel has a so called IV-curve, demonstrating the relationship between current and voltage. Figure 1 shows a particular example.

The key to getting the maximum amount of energy from a solar panel is to ‘search’ for the Maximum Power Point, which is called ‘tracking’. A DC/DC convertor with a Tracking function is required to convert the energy from the solar panel to charge the battery or use it for propulsion. This type of converters is called Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT).

Figure 1

There are basically two types of MPPT’s: Boost (from a lower solar voltage to a higher battery voltage) and Buck (from a higher solar voltage to a lower battery voltage). The type of converter we developed is a Boost converter. The MG Solar MPPT is a highly efficient MPPT with a ultrafast tracking algorithm.

 

MG’s history of development

The development of our MPPT began when we started building a solar powered boat, to participates in several solar challenges all over the world. After successful usage in this project, it we further optimized the efficiency and Tracking algorithm.

Several other race participants noticed the existence of our converter, for example the TU Delft solar team, participating in the World solar challenge in Australia with their Nuna car

s. They tested their existing best MPPT and compared it to our newly developed one.

Upon concluding MG’s new MPPT had a higher efficiency, they began to use it in their solar cars. After their successful win, more and more teams took an interest.

Now over … teams use our Solar MPPT. Every team has their own configuration and the Solar MPPT’s are tailored to their needs.

It’s possible to customize on voltage range, maximum current, connections and CAN-Bus communication.

The use of MG Solar MPPT in Solar Airplanes
The use of our MG Solar MPPT for racing purposes was also noticed by several solar airplane initiatives. One of the companies, Elektra Solar, implemented it in their one seater solar airplane, to face ‘the challenge of stratospheric manned and unmanned flight with solar-powered and emission-free aircraft”.

MG’s Solar MPPT solution ensures the maximum energy yield from the solar panels while keeping the added weight as low as possible, as you can see on our product page.

Technical specification
Table 1 shows the specifications of the different configuration types now available. Note that customizations to meet your project specifications are possible. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need additional information.

Technical specifications Industrial Solar Boat WSC-Si WSC-GaAs
Input voltage range *1 VIN 22 – 58 V 22 – 120 V 22 – 120 V
Output voltage range *1 VOUT 25 – 58 V 25 – 180 V 25 – 180 V
Output voltage limit VOUT_LIM Configurable *3
Input power range PIN 5 – 450 W *2 2 – 700 W 2 – 700 W
Input current range IIN_MAX 0.5 – 10 A 0.5 – 7 A 0.5 – 7 A 0.5 – 3 A
Input current limit IIN_LIM Configurable *3
Output to input ratio range *1 VOUT/VIN 1.0 – 3.5
Max. input forward current ( VIN > VOUT ) IFW_MAX 6 A
Peak efficiency ηe 98% 99%
Isolated CAN transceiver supply voltage CAN 10 – 58 V
Isolated CAN transceiver current draw ICAN 16 mA at 12 V
Off state current draw -IOUT_OFF 20 µA at 30 VOUT
50 µA at 60 VOUT
Weight    
Weight (approx.)   220 g 540 g 285 g
Environmental    
Operating temperature -20°C to +55°C
Relative humidity Max. 95%  (non-condensing)

Table 1

Solar airplanes in future

Even if we can’t fly a commercial passenger airplane yet, we are eager to see what tomorrow will bring and passionate to develop more technology to make the future a reality. If it’s up to us, rather sooner than later.

First hybrid yacht to cross the ocean relying on MG’s batteries

Solarwave 62 is the first hybrid yacht with electric propulsion to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The mighty cruiser built by Silent Yachts drove all the way from Spain to Miami, mainly powered by the sun. When necessary a generator gave support. Due to MG’s energy system it’s nearly self-sufficient, silent and emission-free, offering a whole new scale in reliability and luxury.

Last year MG Energy Systems established a partnership with Silent Yachts provide all energy systems to all their new yachts. ‘There are various types of lithium-batteries on the market. The brand we are using is they are best regarding liability, safety, performance, weight and life-span,’ Silent Yachts states. The Solarwave 62 is the first solar yacht equipped with MG’s lithium-ion batteries.

Lightweight superpower

The energy system provides a grand capacity of of 160 kWh and consists of 2 lithium-ion battery banks, weighing less than 1000 kg. With a system voltage of 48 V it powers four 22 kW electric motors used for propulsion, two 15 kW bow thrusters and 3 phase 230VAC hotel supply with three 10 kVA Quattro’s. It’s charged by solar panels and a 20 kW DC generator.

Redundant set-up

Because it’s paramount the system needs to be redundant, the battery banks are set up in parallel. Even if one battery bank should fail, it still provides energy to the complete propulsion system, although in this situation the power will be limited. This redundancy is realized by using only the functions of the Master LV’s and some additional I/O’s and programmable relays.

Autonomous running

Clever configuration enables autonomous running of charging/discharging and controls processes. Limits are set in case one battery bank should fail and/or is overloaded by discharge. The generator will automatically start when the battery bank is below 30% State-Of- Charge or when the current drawn from the battery is too high for a certain amount of time.

All status information from the battery banks is visible on Victron’s Color Control GX.

Components used

Supply & Installation

This system is supplied and installed by our partner Silent Yachts.

Record-breaking ICE Cat 61 equipped with MG’s batteries

ICE Cat 61 boast the record of being the largest and most technological catamaran ever built in Italy. This impressive yacht was even nominated for Multihull of the year 2018, by Multihull Words, an international magazine of catamarans and trimarans, in collaboration with the International Multihull Boat Show.

The catamaran is an example of Italian excellence from ICE Yachts, the only shipyard in the country that produces everything at home, similar to its illustrious neighbours such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, that the company likes to compare itself to. It’s the kind of quality that customers from all over the world, from Hong Kong to Mexico, travel to Italy for.

This luxury performance cruiser is the result of craft workmanship, from the design to the materials and the use of cutting-edge technologies. Including its energy system, which consists of MG and Victron products and is charged by Solar, Alternators or Multiplus, to power the 18-meter-long catamaran by two engines to speeds of 13.5 knots.

Components used

The MG Master LV is connected with NMEA2000 to EmpirBus and charged by Solar, Alternators or Multiplus.

Supply & Installation

This system is supplied and installed by our Italian dealer Asea Nautica.

Sanlorenzo superyacht SX88 runs sustainably on MG’s batteries

SX88 is a revolutionary new superyacht by Sanlorenzo, characterised as a crossover between a compact explorer and a flybridge yacht. It’s innovative in its technical and environmental solutions, in its exterior and interior design. This “superyacht that feels like an open loft” features wide open spaces and large glass windows, assuring passengers feel one with the surroundings, the light and the sea.

Highest attention was paid to environment sustainability, both in the use of low impact materials as well as the low impact procedures used in its construction process. Moreover, the superyacht is equipped with an MG energy system that meets the highest maritime standards. Normally a generator is used to provide energy, emitting noise and exhaust gases as unpleasant by-products. But in this case, ‘quiet power’ is supplied during the night and stored in 16 MG Lithium-Ion HE Battery Modules (24 V / 200 Ah), allowing the generator to run for shorter periods of time, in a more efficient range and therefor with less maintenance. During the day the superyacht can top out at 23 knots without any comprimise, any noise or any exhaust fumes.

Thanks to the combination of MG’s high power lithium batteries with new lighting technologies, low consumption systems and efficient thermal insulation, SX88 can use all the services on board for four to eight hours with zero emissions. Whichever way you look at it, even from an environmental viewpoint Sanlorenzo’s SX88 is a sustainable crossover, between its inside and its surroundings.

Components used

Supply & Installation

This system is supplied and installed by our Italian dealer Asea Nautica.

Electric houseboat holidays powered by MG

Most motor- and houseboats are equipped with diesel engines. But not Elfsteden Vaarvakanties Friesland‘s rental fleet. Endorsing the need for the transition to a ‘circular economy’, the Frisian company has decided to renew their diesel houseboats with a new luxury outlook and modern techniques based on sustainable materials and energy.

Elfsteden Vaarvakanties Friesland rents out houseboats with low height, width and depth, allowing tourists to navigate the world-famous Elfstedentocht: a 200 km long circular route along canals, rivers and lakes visiting the eleven historic Frisian towns, with picturesque bridges and scenic views.

Recently the first few of eleven outdated diesel houseboats have been completely modernised and equipped with electric propulsion and engines. Depending on the vessel’s length, a number of MG Lithium-Ion HE Battery Modules are being installed, to store the green energy supplied by the solar panels on deck. A Fischer Panda generator is used as a backup supply.

The houseboats vary in size, accommodating 2 to 10 persons, and offer sustainable luxury on board. All equipment runs on 220 V, including a smart tv with wifi, radio, coffee maker, ceramic cooking and a combi oven. Water is heated by a boiler, walls and windows are insulated and an air heater guarantees a warm and pleasant atmosphere.

Comfort and luxury, combined with silent cruising for hours at a time will allow guests to enjoy the most of Frisian nature, peace and quiet. Recharge your inner battery during a holiday powered by the sun.

Components used

Supply & Installation

This system is supplied by our dealer Combi Noord and installed by  CP Tech.