Thursday 11 February 2010

Piss power for your boat.

I have just been on a "green and mean" sortie on the Internet. I thought, if we are going to cruise and park for a few days at a time, we need to look at additional forms of power other than marina power points. Should I go for a solar cell or wind generator system for power back-up on the boat?

Once more there is so much crap in depth on the interwebbie thingy. So much so that it is a real pain in the rear, just to wade through all the dross. It used to be a rule of thumb that the exchange rate was $2 = £1 now it seems that it’s the other way round.

So..... what will be a good live-aboard power budget to aim for 100-200 watts and what system would suit my needs?


Solar Cell.
  • Requires a solar regulator.
  • Estimated lifespan 20 years.
  • Low profile.
  • Quiet
  • Works while boat is on the move in daytime.
  • Best results in the summer.
  • Best efficiency in clear sunshine.
  • Monocrystallline Solar Panels.
  • Polycrystalline Solar Panels.

 100/200 watts = about £500/750.


Wind Generator.

  • Requires a regulator.
  • Estimated lifespan 10 years.
  • High profile.
  • Will not work while boat is on the move.
  • Best efficiency in the winter.
  • Needs a constant wind to work.
  • Works day or night.
  • Noisy.

100/200 watts = about £500/750.

Then I found this - a new Invention - A Battery Powered by Urine

Scientists in Singapore have invented a battery powered by urine. "We are striving to develop cheap electricity upon contact with biofluids such as urine" says Ki Bang Lee, PhD, MS, in a news release. Lee is a principal research scientist at the Institute of Bioengineering where the battery was developed. The battery is described in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.

How It Works

The battery sandwiches copper, paper laced with copper chloride, and magnesium between two plastic layers. The "sandwich" is later laminated. "When human urine is added into the battery... the urine soaks through the paper between the magnesium and copper layers. The chemicals dissolve and react to produce the electricity. In tests, the battery cell produced a maximum of 1.47 volts, dropping a bit with time but keeping a constant voltage of 1.04 volts."

Part of their paper describing the battery was presented in Kyoto, Japan, at the 4th International Workshop for Power Generation and Energy Conversion Applications.

I bet you thought I was taking the piss.


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