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Gas free narrow boats

Hi, we are having a boat built and want to get it right. My wife is not a lover of gas and therefore we are thinking of having Diesel electric/Hybrid system. what are the pro's and con's? help.

Asked by: suzie  | 1.42pm, Tuesday 24 April

WW says:

I don't want to appear to be ducking your questions, and you may have done this already, but if you get a copy of the Inland Boatowners' Book published by Waterways World, you will find the answers to many of your queries in there.
Diesel electric hybrid systems are really about propelling the boat using as little diesel and as much electricity as possible. They are not aimed at producing a gas free boat.
You can do without gas on a boat fairly easily until it comes to cooking. Conventional diesel cookers take much longer than gas cookers to get up to operational temperatures. In order to reduce the time, they can be left 'ticking over' but this can make the cabin very hot in summer.
There is one type of diesel cooker, made by Wallas, than has a faster response time but these are quite pricey.
Gas cookers, on the other hand, are relatively cheap to buy and run and, provided they are installed and maintained correctly, should not be an unacceptable safety risk.

Graham Booth  | 2.07PM, Tuesday 24 April

Gas is inherently dangerous on boats because it is heavier than air; this is why the Boat Safety Scheme checks are stringent in this area. It is however a very useful energy source for cooking, the alternative systems are usually fuelled by diesel whether directly or indirectly, unless you wish to have a traditional solid fuelled range for cooking.
There are hobs and ovens that burn diesel and are suitable for boats. They do not provide the instant heat of gas, but are a good alternative, talk to Kuranda. Electric appliances use a lot of power which is best generated by a dedicated generator, or a combined power management system that manages inverters, generators, and land power as required. If you are contemplating a diesel hybrid propulsion system then you will be investing in a good quality battery bank which makes electric appliances more feasible, but you may need a larger capacity.
Ultimately it is your decision based upon your needs, all systems have their own drawbacks.

Rupert Smedley  | 2.26PM, Tuesday 24 April

Another alternative to gas and diesel, are alcohol fuelled cookers- the Origo range, now marketed by Dometic, offer single and double burners, plus ovens, that run on methylated spirit.
Although slower than gas, they are quite economical and very safe- the fuel is unpressurised, by being adsorbed in a mineral-wool filled container and if it did spill, evaporates without mess and can be extinguished with water!
They can also have a 230V electric element, for use when attached to shorepower (or a generator), giving a dual-fuel option.
They are certainly an alternative worth looking at, and can fill the gap between electric systems, gas and diesel stoves.
Years ago, I used a two-burner Origo cooker with great success on a GRP cruiser and it gave faultless service.
www.dometic.com for more details.

Mark Langley  | 4.17PM, Tuesday 24 April

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