Classic Yacht With Unique Hybrid Propulsion

By George Backwell at June 09, 2012 08:58
Filed Under: General

Reborn J-class yacht Rainbow will compete against three others later this month in a class-dedicated Falmouth, UK, sailing regatta. What’s so unusual about this big 140-ft yacht is its hybrid propulsion and power system, as we shall see. First though, the design concept.


J-class Superyacht Rainbow
: Photo courtesy of Holland Jachtbouw

The classic yacht was launched earlier this year from Holland Jachtbouw’s yard in The Netherlands, based upon the lines of the original 1934 America’s Cup winner.

The project’s naval architects Dykstra & Partners also partnered with deVosdeVries design on the interior. The original Rainbow (scrapped in 1940) was drawn by William Starling Burgees in the early 1930s whose design has now been incorporated into an all-aluminium yacht that meets the J-class Association maximum performance rules.
 
The first Rainbow, a thoroughbred racing yacht had no engine room so there was not a great deal of space to accommodate one within the lines plan. Holland Jachtbouw’s solution, developed in partnership with propulsion provider WhisperPower, was to create an ingenious hybrid propulsion and power system especially for this project.

 

Hybrid Propulsion & Power System: Photo courtesy of WhisperPower

WhisperPower Hybrid Propulsion & Power  System

In all, five power sources are available: the hybrid battery, the variable speed generator, the variable speed engine generator, the shaft generator when sailing and shore power (if available).

There are two gensets: the 'main engine' one which can also act as an electric motor to drive the propellor, and the second, a variable speed electrical power unit.

In all, five power sources are available: the hybrid battery, the variable speed generator, the variable speed engine generator, the shaft generator when sailing and shore power (if available).

Rainbow can be operated entirely on her Hy-Store Li-ion batteries, including sailing, navigation and hotel load to meet the owner’s request for silent periods onboard, without generators running in the hours of darkness.

The 50kW genset ‘Genverter’, based on a Steyr 4 - cylinder engine, is a variable speed ultra compact and light weight diesel generator fitted with a 1200-3600 rpm flywheel integrated AC alternator.

The batteries are recharged during sailing (12 kW max) utilising the 50 kW permanent magnet flywheel integrated electrical alternator – electrical motor, which is connected to the shaft and CPP propeller.
 
Extended periods of silent AC power come from the DC to AC inverter, connected to the Li ION batteries giving a speed > 5 knots.

The ‘Genverter’ is switched off during sailing, when sail management manoeuvring and other hydraulic functions, are  operated via inverter on the Hy-Store batteries (Lithium ION LiFePO4).

‘HY-Shore’, the yacht's electrical system can be plugged into any shore power connection in the world, disregarding the frequency (50 / 60 Hz) as the system has a build-in frequency converter.

 

 

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