China Has Launched the World’s First All-Electric Cargo Ship

DooKey

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China launched an all-electric cargo ship that supposedly takes 2 hours to charge and has a range of 50 miles at it's top speed of 8 mph. While this sounds cool the irony of the situation is it's going to be used to haul coal to power generating stations along the Pearl River. It's going to lower their price for hauling the coal, but it's helping to further pollute the air with that coal. Quite the quandary if you ask me.

The new ship has two primary benefits. First, it will emit no carbon emissions while underway. Cargo vessels tend to be some of the biggest carbon pollution sources in the entire transportation sector. Second, it will lower the cost of transportation for bulk cargoes because the price of electricity is lower than the price of diesel fuel
 
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It's an eleventy-billion megawatt charger. ;)
At some point a charging accident becomes indistinguishable from getting struck by lightning.

Kinda makes sense though, a large boat is gonna have a bank of many batteries so as long as you're distributing power correctly if each smaller battery charges in 2 hours then it's at least possible the whole thing could as well. For some reason I'm imagining a giant rack of the 18650's that are inside my phone power bank
 

the-one1

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It takes the coal to the coal power plant to burn the coal to generate electricity which is used to charge the batteries on the boat so it can go get more coal to start the cycle all over again.

They should just make a steam powered coal transport ship. :D
 

U-238

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Waiting for the PETA hand-wringers to go nutso if this things sinks and kills some fish.
 

CombatChrisNC

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While yes, it is ironic that it's hauling coal.... if you've got a short and static route why not set it up like a trolley? You know, connect it to shore power via some cables. Put a nominally sized diesel generator as backup in the event you lose that.
 

CombatChrisNC

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since coal powers most electricity, yes. see how clean it is?

Well, as long as their coal plants aren't complete shit, turning coal into mechanical motion via a power station is one of the most efficient ways of converting carbon into energy. More efficient than say, a coal fired steam engine, or a diesel engine.
 

Dead Parrot

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Even if ultimately charged by a coal plant, could still be a net win for cleaner air. The bunker fuel often used for cargo ships is some of the nastiest crap around. It is what is left over after all of the good stuff is refined out of the oil. And it often keeps all of the bad stuff like sulfur and metals.
 

sfsuphysics

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2 hours of charge, can go for 6.25 hours.

Anyone remember the days of RC cars where you'd spend like 6 hours charging a battery then could only play with them for like 5-10 minutes tops before needing a new recharge. We have come so far! :D
 

katanaD

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Even if ultimately charged by a coal plant, could still be a net win for cleaner air. The bunker fuel often used for cargo ships is some of the nastiest crap around. It is what is left over after all of the good stuff is refined out of the oil. And it often keeps all of the bad stuff like sulfur and metals.

and sadly.. that very important fact, isnt being brought to light
 

bman212121

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2 hours of charge, can go for 6.25 hours.

Anyone remember the days of RC cars where you'd spend like 6 hours charging a battery then could only play with them for like 5-10 minutes tops before needing a new recharge. We have come so far! :D

Yea with Ni-Cad AAs it would take that long for the battery to charge but they were charging at like 200mah though which is why it takes so long. I never had them but the 9.6V packs I think were rated to charge faster than that. Once you got into real R/C, the 6 cell 1500mah packs I had could be charged in about 25 minutes on my dynamite charger. Ni-CAD doesn't like high charge rates, so that's where all of the time comes into play. Li-ion Li-Fe, Li-Po can all be charged at 1C or higher.


The biggest issue with trying to charge huge battery packs quickly is going to be getting the current to input to the cells, then actually having strong enough plates for the amount of current you need. Like jmilcher and sirnephilim said, it just comes down to the layout of the battery as to how fast you can charge it. 1C is very common charging for R/C LiPO, and would basically take 1H since that's what 1C is calculated from. (Batteries are rated in Milliamp Hours, so if you have 5,000 milliamp and charge at 5,000 miliiamps, you will get 5,000 MA per hour, aka MAH) If you need to balance the cells then it might take another 20 - 30 minutes to do so. You can actually charge cells at 2C, or even up to like 5C on some batteries, but it will create significantly more heat that you need to dissipate from the battery while charging, and obviously have that much input as well. On something this big and exotic, you could likely decouple stacks of batteries from each other to remove the parallelism, then charge stacks of batteries in series independently of each other. Using series will allow you to keep the amperage low, but you can feed high voltage into the stacks to charge lots of cells at once. At the power plant it is probably more efficient to take something like 480V and user that to charge 480V into the battery stack. Someone who actually builds that would know what's safe, but in theory you should be able charge at stack of around 100 cells with a high voltage source like that.
 
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It takes the coal to the coal power plant to burn the coal to generate electricity which is used to charge the batteries on the boat so it can go get more coal to start the cycle all over again.

They should just make a steam powered coal transport ship. :D

Someone may need to check my math on this but despite the fact that coal burns dirtier than gasoline, the process of using coal heat to turn a turbine to generate electricity is a lot more efficient than a gasoline engine so by that ratio it ends up being cleaner per unit of energy. Of the burnables commonly used for power natural gas burns the cleanest and that's still not what you'd call clean. Hydrogen would be almost ideal as a burnable but we're not there yet. At any rate for "clean" energy nuclear's still the most practical at the moment, provided someone's actually processing the waste water and spent rods.

And you've actually hit really close to the mark here. Coal power still uses steam to turn a dynamo to generate power, they're just leveraging capacitance in the process.

With only a 50 mile range, it won't be much good for any other use !!

I find that really weird. My dad and grandfather both ran both diesel and nuclear subs in the Navy and even the diesel boats could charge the battery and run silent for several days. How a surface ship can't match that feat is beyond me.
 

Joust

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That is literally the definition of irony.

Also 2 hours to charge?

Seems suspect.

I have to wonder, if this is possible, if it degrades whatever batteries are in that ship at an accelerated rate. That'd be great. Use the boat for a year and it's like a Galaxy S4 on an original battery today.
 

Wierdo

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Cheaper than diesel based options and cuts down emissions, so makes sense, but the irony is hillarious.
 

Joust

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Cheaper than diesel based options and cuts down emissions, so makes sense, but the irony is hillarious.

Marine diesels burn fuel that is far worse, and far cheaper, than diesel. In the US, they don't burn it within (40 mi?) of the coast. In China, I doubt they have similar restrictions. It's like the stuff they scrape off the bottom of refineries - still has a ton of BTU's, but also a ton of sulfur.
 

N4CR

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I have to wonder, if this is possible, if it degrades whatever batteries are in that ship at an accelerated rate. That'd be great. Use the boat for a year and it's like a Galaxy S4 on an original battery today.

2 hours for an 18650 on a safe, reliable long term charge rate is fine.
I have fancy torch batteries and a fancy charger (back when decent chargers were limited to basically one type), they have lasted now over 5-6 years or more.
Pila IBT with smart charging and graduated input amounts etc and AW IMRs. Best of the best.
They still hold ~80-90% of their original charge and have had at least 400-500 charge cycles or more.

So yeah it's not unfeasible as long as they manage the heat, which isn't too bad at 2 hour charge rate.

And people asking about the charger, it's a damn coal fired power plant... no shortage of juice there.
 

Joust

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2 hours for an 18650 on a safe, reliable long term charge rate is fine.
I have fancy torch batteries and a fancy charger (back when decent chargers were limited to basically one type), they have lasted now over 5-6 years or more.
Pila IBT with smart charging and graduated input amounts etc and AW IMRs. Best of the best.
They still hold ~80-90% of their original charge and have had at least 400-500 charge cycles or more.

So yeah it's not unfeasible as long as they manage the heat, which isn't too bad at 2 hour charge rate.

And people asking about the charger, it's a damn coal fired power plant... no shortage of juice there.

Well. I'm sure they did some kind of longevity analysis. Batteries, man.
 
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yeeeeah, push it moving with pilot/tug ships first , then when it is cruising, switch on the electric motors.
Chinese media loves to exaggerate things (it's part of their mandate)
 
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