Reduce Drag for More Efficient Boating
Words by Michael Tyrrell, Managing Director
Weight dispersion seems to be a common factor across all leisure industries. Lithium Marine batteries are a great choice when you are concerned about excess weight in your boat. Let’s dissect this industry and hone in on different sizes and capacities to explain why a light weight Lithium (LiFePO4) Battery or batteries are more efficient than Lead Acid.
The advantage of Lithium Batteries in marine applications is the great savings in weight. Bigger projects can strip hundreds of kilograms of dead lead out of the boat.
I had the opportunity of visiting the Coomera boat precinct early June to suggest battery use for a newly purchased yacht. Alongside the yacht was large catamaran. I was called over to examine the vessel and speak with the owner. He was faced with the issue of large energy consumption and required 8 x 100 Amp Hour lead acid batteries. The owner explained all was fine energy wise but when the Cat was in the water the back of the Catamaran was too far into the water due to the weight of the batteries. These batteries are weighing 240Kg approx. so it was very easy to suggest 2 x 225Ah Lithium batteries should substitute the lead acid. He now had the option of decreasing his weight from 240Kg to just 44kg and increasing the battery capacity to 450Ah. This is a very simple exercise to see how LiFePO4 can give a better result.
On a smaller scale, for smaller sized boats, the benefits of lithium are also evident, when you reduce the weight of Lead Acid to Lithium, you’ll find that your boat will be easier to tow, the fuel efficiency will be better, and the performance on the water and speed will improve. Lithium Batteries do come with a higher price tag; however, the Lithium batteries are rated for 2,000 – 5,000 cycles and much more if used carefully, giving you several times the life expectancy of standard lead acid batteries. When considering the usable capacity and lifespan of lithium batteries, they work out cheaper than lead acid. When you add the cost and inconvenience of refitting new lead-based batteries every few years the total cost of ownership over the long term is far better with lithium batteries.
Lithium batteries come in an extensive range for all applications, you will mostly find that boats operate under the 12v category with larger vessels using 24v system. As you are aware lithium can be used in 12v – 48v systems and anywhere from 50Amp – 400Amp which can be used in parallel to gain more Amp hours. The benefits of Lithium surpass those of traditional AGM Lead Acid batteries and can be used for Marine, 4WD, or RV.
Stay out on the water for longer? Find the perfect Lithium battery for your set up. Shop now.
Your FAQs answered
Are all lithium batteries the same?
There are several types of lithium-ion chemistry on the market, including lithium cobalt oxide, lithium manganese oxide, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide and lithium iron phosphate.
The cells come in different packages including cylindrical prismatic and soft pouch. Cylindrical look like bigger AA batteries while prismatic cells are rectangular about the size of a small book. Pouch is a soft jelly like material which needs outer casings. Lithium iron phosphate is the safest chemistry and prismatic cells are the most efficient and mechanically robust way to package the stored energy.
Beware of lithium batteries using the small cylindrical cells soldered together in plastic boxes using a cheap low quality BMS. Cylindrical cells need sometimes up to 100 spot welds to join them together whilst prismatic cells have sold metal posts that withstand vibration and are suited to be used in tough environments.
Do I have to mount batteries upright?
No. Our batteries can be installed and mounted in any orientation. That’s a great benefit of lithium, there’s no worry of acid leak like your traditional lead acid battery types.
Are lithium batteries deep cycle?
Yes. Lithium batteries provide more usable capacity than lead acid batteries. Deep discharging does not affect the life of a lithium battery the way it does with lead acid batteries. You can use the battery longer before needing to recharge, without damage to the battery.
Are Lithium Batteries safe?
Our batteries are equipped with an internal Battery Management System (BMS) that prevents over charge and over discharger of the Lithium cells, keeping the battery within a safe operating envelope.
A Battery Management System (BMS) is a key part of a lithium battery. Unlike lead-acid batteries which do not require a BMS, lithium batteries do.
BMS primarily is a circuit board which manages, monitors, controls and protects the lithium cells from being over charged or over discharged, which can lead to permanent damage or in the worst case lead to fire. It also needs to be able to disconnect your battery before the cells go outside of their safe operating limits.
Therefore it is vital that your investment in a lithium battery is not compromised by using an inferior BMS. That is why we have opted to design and engineer our very own BMS right here in Brisbane, Australia – so that we can control its functionality, quality and reliability.