Single Fuel Sailing – Integrating Integrel – The 9kW ‘Alternator on Steroids’

Most sailing yachts carry three fuels onboard: diesel, propane and petrol. It would be nice if you didn’t have to – for both safety and simplicity. And in fact that’s exactly what Ken Wittamore, Managing Director of Triskel Marine Ltd., has achieved with his Hallberg Rassy 42, named Armorel.

Not only does Armorel use diesel as a single fuel solution; her electrical energy needs are primarily taken care of by Integrel – an advanced generator replacement technology. We’ve reported about the award winning Integrel before in the blog – Nigel Calder and the Integrel 9kW ‘Alternator on Steroids’.

The headline image above shows Integrel fitted to a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44.

Let’s have a look at how single fuel sailing aboard Armorel, fitted with an Integrel system, comes together –  utilising Victron Energy products to store and distribute all that power.

A bit of history

First a quick look to the past – Ken and Nigel combined have many decades, nay a few lifetimes of experience in the marine world. Nigel with his world famous books and articles, along with his various personal yacht projects – plus Ken with his own boat Armorel and his company Triskel Marine.

Getting to the juncture of single fuel sailing with oodles of self generated energy; is one that is the culmination of such experience, the genesis of which can probably be traced back to the HYMAR project in which Victron also initially had a role. I won’t bore you with the details of how we got from there to here – suffice to say a diesel engine with Integrel generation and plenty of stored energy onboard has emerged as the best commercial solution for most yachts with demanding energy and propulsion needs. If you wish though, here is a link to the: Final Report Summary – HYMAR (High efficiency hybrid drive trains for small and medium sized marine craft).

Subsequently and as a consequence of the HYMAR project, Nigel Calder was involved in the development of Integrel with the Triskel team. Fast forward to the present and Integrel is now a production item, with system design, manufacturer and installation all by Triskel Marine.

Integrel has now been fitted to a number of vessels – all of which use Victron Energy products. They include Armorel – a Hallberg Rassy 42 (using just one fuel), Topaz – a Sun Odyssey 44, plus a brand new Lagoon 46, which uses 4 x Victron 200Ah, 25,6V Lithium Smart batteries in series/parallel giving 20.48 kWh of energy storage @48V, along with an 8kVA Quattro combined inverter/charger.

Of course, subject to the vessel, not all require 8kVA inverter/chargers. Armorel in fact uses 2 x Victron MultiPlus 3 kVA inverter/chargers instead, along with the same battery setup as above – which is sufficient to achieve single fuel sailing in her case.

Why use one fuel?

The best person to explain this single fuel solution is Tom Pugh-Jones, Customer Service Manager at Triskel Marine. Here’s his take on the matter:

“Firstly, getting propane off the boat increases safety levels onboard, as you’re no longer having to cook with a naturally colourless, odourless and highly flammable gas. A gas that can’t escape anywhere, save usually into the bilges; an explosion waiting to happen? Also, as many of our client’s cruise in different parts of the world, they have to adapt their gas configuration dependant on where they are in the world – not convenient. The alternative is electric cooking which is a game-changer, but it doesn’t come without its power demands.

Armorel’s Techimpex Horizon2 gimballed induction stove, grill and oven – showing the 2,000W & 1,800W hob plates in action.

Secondly, we’ve done away with the 4 stroke outboard tender engine, the reasoning behind this is two-fold, we don’t want to have multiple fuels – yet another flammable hydrocarbon – therefore electric simplicity is key. Also, 4 stroke engines seem to struggle more and more with modern fuels as there’s a higher level of bio-ethanol in petrol these days, which gums up carbs and makes them less reliable. Modern electric outboards are great, requiring less maintenance with a similar performance and they charge straight from a 230V socket.

Torqeedo offer an excellent range of electric outboards. Their Cruise models range from 5 – 20hp.

Torqeedo Cruise electric outboard.

With an all-electric energy boat you have to plan less, as you’ve always got available power which allows you to be off-grid for longer. The only difficulty is the large amount of electricity needed, but with new technologies being able to generate, store and distribute large amounts of electrical power throughout a boat – this can now be achieved.

Armorel at anchor, with no shortage of electrical power.

Integrel whether at anchor or underway allows us to make the most out of our diesel engine and it’s spare capacity, by generating lots of energy – storing that in modern batteries that can easily accept and discharge large currents, quickly.”

Integrel

“Integrel to our mind is the future of power generation afloat, completely replacing your stand-alone generator by using spare capacity from your existing inboard diesel engine. Integrel uses smart new technology to generate up to 9kW of electrical power without compromising your engine’s performance. In fact, the system actively manages its output, so that the engine is always running at its most fuel efficient.

Side view of a standard diesel engine with an Integrel Generator, fitted to Topaz, a Sun Odyssey 44. The battery bank on the right is a 48V bank, comprising of 4 x Odyssey PC1800-FT batteries.

By using your engine for both propulsion and power generation, both tasks are delivered at optimum efficiency, resulting in overall fuel savings (in comparison to a separate generator and diesel engine) of up to 25%. One engine, two jobs, less fuel.

Integrel Smart Controller aboard Topaz, a Sun Odyssey 44.

Integrel is completely automatic, working in the background with no direct input from you. It requires no maintenance other than a periodic belt change, offering substantial savings on fuel and maintenance costs across its lifetime.

Integrel Monitoring aboard Topaz, a Sun Odyssey 44.

Energy storage and distribution

Of course it’s all well and good having an integrated smart generator, but without a method of storing and distributing that energy to create the power to run air conditioning, a stove, fridge/freezer, maybe a microwave, charge an electric outboard, plus all the usual nav and domestic demands of a modern yacht – well it simply couldn’t be done. That’s where Victron Energy come in. Here’s how such an upgrade works on Armorel.

Click the image above to download a PDF of Armorel’s system schematic.

With Integrel and the normal alternator – you have system power, stored energy and redundancy like never before.”

Complementary Victron Energy products

Triskel Marine use a variety of Victron products in their installations including:

  • Lithium Smart batteries
Example – 4 x 200Ah Victron 25,6V Lithium Smart batteries being fitted to a Lagoon 46.
  • Quattro Inverter/Chargers
  • MultiPlus Inverter/Chargers
  • Orion DC-DC Converters
Example – Victron Orion DC-DC converters fitted to a Lagoon 46.
  • SmartSolar MPPT – Solar Charge Controllers
Lagoon 46 – integrating Integrel and Victron Energy power products.

Conclusion

Combining Integrel and Victron Energy products helps vessels achieve energy autonomy for Triskel Marine and their customers – which to my mind makes a lot of sense.

Such a system gives you as much AC and DC power whilst away from a shore supply as it seems one could possibly need – and all with just one diesel engine, plus a single fuel solution if you wish.

  • One engine, two jobs, less fuel.
  • Single fuel sailing – simple and safe.

If that appeals to you then why not check out the links below.

John Rushworth

Triskel Marine – https://triskelmarine.co.uk

Integrel – https://www.integrelmarine.com

Credits

Thanks to Tom Pugh-Jones, Customer Service Manager at Triskel Marine, for the images and information used in this blog.