Boaters should consider all of the pros and cons of marine wind energy prior to choosing and installing boat wind generators.
Pros of Boat Wind Generators
The clean energy producing capability of boat wind generators is a major “pro” for boaters seeking a cost-efficient and eco-friendly power source.
Wind generators are ideal for sailboats or large power boats that spend time in areas like the Caribbean where there is a generous supply of strong winds. Depending on the size of the unit, a boat wind generator system can create enough energy power to trickle charge boat batteries or provide basic electricity for a small to mid-sized refrigerator. When the wind is blowing at 15 knots, small six blade wind generators can produce 3 amps per hour, while larger three blade units can produce 7 amps per hour.
Trickle charging batteries with six blade boat wind generators is ideal for weekend boaters that need to extend their power capability while cruising. For larger boats, three blade wind generators can enable more energy power for longer trips away from the dock. With new compact designs, boaters can also choose to install multiple units to maximize the electricity producing power of wind generators.
Cons of Boat Wind Generators
One of the biggest possible cons of boat wind generators is the availability of adequate wind energy. In regions where constant, strong wind can be a problem – such as the Long Island Sound area – boat wind generators may provide a lower or inconsistent stream of electricity. A six blade boat wind generator will work better in light wind areas because they require lower start-up wind speeds, but they will produce less power.
Another con or drawback of boat wind generators is the noise level. Larger, three blade wind generators may produce more electricity, but they are known to be somewhat noisy when running. Improper installation can create vibration and add to the noise.
Installation of boat wind generators can also be tricky. The larger wind turbines must be installed very high on a pole or mast to allow for a larger diameter of clearance for the blades. Blades need to have adequate clearance and be well-maintained so that blades do not come off during high winds.
A potential danger of wind generators on a boat is generating too much electricity, causing damage to boat batteries or fires. A shunt or controller should be used to regulate the battery charging during energy generation to avoid this issue.
Going Green with Wind Energy
Utilizing boat wind generators is just another way that boaters can demonstrate green boating practices. As compared to gas or diesel powered generators, wind generators are a very eco-friendly method of generating energy. There is no harmful discharge to the environment, and wind generators tap into an endless natural resource. Boat wind generators can also be used in conjunction with boat solar panels, for the ultimate green energy generation on the water.
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