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Jan 14, 2022  •  6 min

Hydrogeneration: The Importance of Hydro Electric Power and How It Works

Hydrogeneration, which harnesses natural resources to generate electricity for optimal sailing experiences, is driving the future of boating. The technology prolongs the battery life of electric outboards and is more energy-efficient and eco-friendly than conventional charging methods. Hydro generation could well be an important milestone in achieving completely self-sufficient cruising.

In this post, I will guide you through everything you need to know about hydrogeneration.

Table of Content:

ePropulsion Hydrogeneration

How does hydrogeneration work?

Hydrogeneration enables a boat’s electric motor to charge its own battery while the boat is sailing or towing. During hydro generation, water, instead of electricity, passively spins the propeller on the motor in either a forward or reverse motion, which generates electricity through electromagnetic induction. This electricity is storage in the battery bank, which is then used to power sailing systems and electrical appliances, such as microwaves, on boats.

What can hydrogeneration do for you?

Travel further and more sustainably with a hydrogeneration-enabled electric outboard, such as motors from ePropulsion’s Spirit Evo and Navy Evo series, which are the industry’s first known hydrogeneration-powered electric outboards.

The Spirit Evo, the first electric outboard to feature hydrogeneration, is one of the brand’s lightest outboard motors and also their best-selling since 2015. The Spirit 1.0 Evo is a portable 3HP electric outboard that was designed for dinghies, tenders, and sailboats. It comes in a remote version, the Spirit 1.0 Evo Remote, that allows remote steering.

ePropulsion’s Navy Evo, which the brand considers the backbone of ePropulsion electric outboard motors, is available in two power levels, 3kW and 6kW. Also featuring hydrogeneration, the Navy Series provides efficient and clean power for aluminium fishing boats, dinghies, daysailer and cruising sailboats, and can operate in both salt and freshwater.

The most compact of the brand’s motors, ePropulsion pod drives are great for sailboats and small watercrafts. Offered in three models – 1kW, 3kW, and 6kW – the hydro generation-powered pod drives are a silent, eco-friendly alternative to internal combustion outboards.

Check out what Captain Rick Moore says about ePropulsion outboards in his hydrogeneration test (starting from 7:48):

The strength of hydro electric power

With the power of renewable resources, ePropulsion motors, for example, generate different levels of wattage depending on the boat’s towing speed and the drive system models. When it reaches a speed of 10 knots, the 3HP Spirit 1.0 Evo can generate 330W; the 6HP Navy 3.0 Evo, 660W; and the 9.9HP Navy 6.0 Evo, 1,010W. Stored electricity generated while the boat is sailing can be used to power electrical appliances, such as microwave ovens.

ePropulsion’s hydrogeneration technology in its Spirit Evo and Navy Evo series enables you to sail further and more sustainably by harnessing the power of renewable resources.

Having a hydrogeneration-enabled outboard extends the runtime of your motor, which means you get to travel further and more sustainably. Take ePropulsion electric motors as an example. It takes only 4.8 hours to charge the brand’s 1,276Wh large integrated lithium battery to 90 percent while sailing at 16km/h. You could even extend the runtime by replacing the integrated battery with one of ePropulsion’s E-Series batteries. Sailing at the same speed, the 2,048-Wh E40 battery takes 7.6 hours to reach 90 percent capacity, while the 8,960-Wh E175 battery takes 33.3 hours.

How to activate hydrogeneration

Enabling hydrogeneration on your ePropulsion outboard motor is easy. Hydro generation on ePropulsion motors can be activated when the outboard is in a neutral position and the boat is sailing at 4 knots or faster. ePropulsion’s hydrogeneration system will shut itself down when the battery is charged to almost 90 percent, or if the boat is too slow for hydrogeneration.

Stay up to speed on the hydrogenation process with the tiller, which features an indicator that will flash when the battery is being charged with hydrogeneration. When hydrogenation is enabled, the indicator light will turn on. However, on ePropulsion outboards, hydrogeneration can only be activated when used in conjunction with batteries from the brand, which, for safety, can only be charged to a maximum of 90 percent.

To ensure steady charging from hydrogeneration, use an anticavitation plate to ensure a constant flow of water spinning the propeller on the motor.

Why hydrogeneration is important for you

By harnessing the power of natural resources to generate electricity, hydro generation is one of the industry’s most eco-friendly and forward-thinking sailing solutions. A longer battery life means spending more time on the water doing what you love, without worrying about “wasting” precious power from your generator on electrical appliances, and overspending on fuel.

In the long run, hydrogeneration helps you save money. Charging batteries is simply less efficient and economical: you use almost as much fuel to charge the batteries on your boat as you would motoring, and running your engine just to charge batteries could reduce its lifespan as it is not designed to operate below its rated level. A five-hour trip on a motorboat could cost you more than US$300 worth of gas; even a slower pontoon boat could set you back around US$3,000 a year in gas if you take a five-hour trip once a week.

Hydrogeneration: The bigger picture

Water replenishes naturally and is virtually infinite, whereas the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity has been linked to consequences such as rising global temperatures — on land and at sea — and extreme weather.

Changing precipitation patterns and sea-level rise negatively impact marine ecosystems, while ocean warming is often the cause of coral bleaching and the loss of breeding grounds. If you care about the wellbeing of oceans, rivers and lakes and are looking for a way to help slow the process of climate change, consider making mindful and informed lifestyle choices.

One way is by reducing our carbon footprint when boating, which does not necessarily mean giving up our passion for sailing and sacrificing comfort. With their efficient, durable and fuss-free electric outboards, brands such as ePropulsion offer eco-friendly alternatives. Harnessing the power of nature to generate electricity, their hydrogeneration-powered motors also minimize the consumption of fossil fuels and help you reduce costs in the long haul. 

Our world is changing, and it is up to us to ride the waves of change — starting with hydrogeneration.

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