The new innovative Sealence DeepSpeed engine is set to revolutionize the all-electric boat industry.
Sealence DeepSpeed as a new approach to boat building
Italian engineer William Gobbo was trying to solve a curious engineering problem. He wanted to create an electric boat that could compete in speed and range with ICE boats. The development came to a standstill, but William realized that such a boat could be created in a non-standard way. The result was the DeepSpeed engine.
Most engineers would simply swap the internal combustion engine for an electric motor and leave the transmission alone. At the same time, manufacturers would try to compensate for all the shortcomings of such an electric motor with power and battery reserve. With this approach, alas, it has not yet been possible to create an adequate response to boats on internal combustion engines. Green electric boats are either too expensive or too demanding to maintain.
William realized that a holistic approach was needed that took into account and exploited the strengths of the electric motor. William's solution is an electric motor-jet. Such an engine will combine both the engine and the power plant. DeepSpeed can be installed as an IPS motor or on a transom.
Innovative solutions offered by Sealence DeepSpeed
What makes DeepSpeed unique is that this new propulsion system offers a number of potential advantages over both propellers and traditional waterjets. It is worth starting with the fact that DeepSpeed does not have any mechanical wear of parts due to operation. The design has no gears, shafts or complex hinge systems. In the design of the engine, by and large, there are only a couple of wires that feed the engine.
The second advantage of DeepSpeed is its high compactness and lightness of construction. Without the battery pack, the motor weighs only 75 kg. For comparison, the Volvo Penta D4 weighs 660 kg. Moreover, the DeepSpeed engine itself takes up much less space and does not require an additional fuel tank. Thirdly, the efficiency of using such a water jet engine is higher than that of a standard ICE with a propeller. The shape and position of the DeepSpeed jet is directly in the path of the water flowing under the boat. In the standard variation of the onboard jet, the flow has to be redirected up through the suction system and out through the transom.
This approach reduces the complexity and inefficiency of using a water jet. According to Sealence, the drive system is more efficient than a propeller or water jet. At what in all range of turns, even at low speeds. It is a well-known fact that at low speeds water cannons usually experience difficulties.
History of the issue
William Gobbo's company, Gobbo, first proposed this idea back in 2007. Then, a complex computer simulation system was used to test the potential of such an installation. In 2010 Gobbo developed the first working prototype.
However, only after Professor Ernesto Benini joined the development, in 2016 it was possible to create a prototype that fully demonstrated the potential of the project. Benini is an expert in hydrodynamics at the University of Padua.
The team currently working on the project already consists of 21 specialists. Among them are engineers, designers, hydrodynamicists and even a racer who participated in motorboat races.
The body of the latest prototype is not without reason similar to the nozzles of jet aircraft engines. The front (wider part) takes in water and disperses it through a smaller nozzle at the back. The principle is similar to how airplane turbines work. The difference is that instead of a central propeller like in an airplane, DeepSpeed uses impeller blades on an outer ring without a hub.
Other associated design benefits include reduced noise and vibration. There is less noise and vibration due to the fact that the motor is located outside the housing. Due to the design features, there is also no additional cooling system.
System use and development
Sealence is currently working on two DeepSpeed models, the 120e and 280e. The first of these has a constant power of 72 hp, and the peak power is 92 hp. Thanks to the added efficiency of the jet engine design, peak power is equivalent to 120 hp. internal combustion engine. The DeepSpeed 280e has 163 hp. with a peak power of 244 hp Here the situation is similar - the power of this model is equivalent to 280 hp. internal combustion engine.
Both models can be installed in both single and double nozzle versions. Fitting a pair of 280e's to a 40-foot, 12-tonne sport cruiser will deliver a claimed top speed of 38 knots, according to Sealence.
The startup already has a number of potential customers. Among them are Amer Yachts and Scanner RIBs. Shipyards are already considering fitting Sealence engines to new and existing models of their boats.
Sealence's long-term goal is to offer a complete hybrid electric powertrain package, including a modular system of expandable lithium-ion batteries, solar panels, a diesel range extender, and a range of different DeepSpeed injectors up to 540hp controlled by a single Smartbox.
“We want to make these technologies to reduce energy consumption attractive and affordable. At the same time, our company also strives to provide higher power and speed. Among other things, DeepSpeed will help achieve silent cruising and near-zero emissions,” says William Gobbo.
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