GREEN WAKEBOARDING
BY NICK EDMUNDS
nrv25@wildcats.unh.edu


Wakeboarding has most certainly progressed as a water sport over the last 5 years or so, especially with the population growing every year. That being said, there would therefore be more gas emissions going into the atmosphere from boats. It's obvious that boats are used less then cars but wakeboarding boats, on the other hand, are known to be "gas hogs" with their long sessions on the lake. Not only does the gas "hurt the wallets" of wakeboarders but it also hurts the environment we live in. Thankfully, even though over time gas emissions put harm toward the environment and gas prices have skyrocketed, technology is always progressing. With that being said, technology can therefore save us from our gas emissions and we can switch over to something more sustainable for the environment. Sure, this has been done on the road but why not progress and engage in "green technology" on the water. Perhaps "green wakeboarding"? One wakeboarding company, however, has stepped up and brought wakeboarders a gift not only to save them money in the long run but to reduce or even eliminate gas emissions to the environment.

There are three hybrid or electric powered wakeboarding boats following this paragraph that will be compared to an average wakeboarding boat and with one another. These boats are each by the same company, called Epic, and have been the first sport boats developed that run on battery to reduce emissions into the environment. Below is a quick PowerPoint overview of these three boats to give some specifications along with photos.



The average wakeboarding boat obviously runs on gas but all boats are different when taking the sizes or makes of them into consideration. As mentioned before, these gas-powered boats use gas very inefficiently and many people spend $5,000+ on gas alone each year. As far as MSRP (manufacture suggested retail price) goes, the average wakeboarding boat will start around $70,000 depending on the manufacture name, size, options etc. However, even though some wakeboarding boats are sold around this price, it is very common for consumers to pay $150,000+ for a brand new, fully-loaded boat. Even though wakeboarding boats are a minor percentage of what goes toward the effects of global warming, carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion still leads to global warming. This could include the rising of sea levels that will flood many of the cities located on the coast. Below is a balanced chemical reaction for the combustion of an atom of carbon in methane (CH4) to give a chemistry aspect on what occurs during the use of fossil fuels (gasoline) to energy (to move the boat).

CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O + energy

The first to hit the market in 2009 was the Epic 23e, a hybrid wakeboarding boat, which means it runs on both gas and electricity with the help of 800 pounds of lithium-ion batteries. At full power on battery, this boat is able to run through an entire 1-hour session without using a single drop of gas (wakeboard speed is around 24 MPH or about 20 Knots). Using the on-board flux generator, it can be fully charged once again after being parked back at the dock for an hour. Of course, there's always the option of plugging it into a standard wall socket, which may take about 2 hours to be fully charged. Also, using these batteries at the same time as gasoline will reduce emissions by 50%. Below is a link to a You Tube video of the Epic 23e to give a good look at how the boat preforms with a wakeboarder behind the boat.

Epic 23e

There are many types of lithium-ion batteries but all have the ability to be recharged. This is why they aren't disposed like lithium primary batteries and instead are used in many consumer products such as this hybrid boat by Epic or in portable electronics like iPods. Not only can these batteries be recharged but they can also last many years. While functioning, they discharge to provide energy and the lithium ions Li+ (atoms with a positive charge) carry current from negative to positive electrodes. The lithium-ion battery actually gets its name from this course of action rather then the substances used. As far as substances go, these batteries have a lithium-based cathode and carbon/graphite anode in a lithium-based solvent that preforms like an electrolyte. For more about cathodes and anodes, please visit the following link: Cathodes and Anodes

In 2010, Epic came out with an even greater technology, launching the 21se, which is also a hybrid and can run up to 10 hours of riding (depending on how many knots the boat is moving at). In this boat, the hundreds of pounds of lithium-ion batteries can be charged with any type of electricity source or by its generator that runs on either diesel or bio-diesel fuel (also different from the 23se). In just a year, the company was able to add another 9 hours of battery life! This jump in technology alone demonstrates that in the upcoming years, it is to be expected that other companies will do the same and hopefully the trend will turn into a competition between companies (so that the technology expands to help the environment). In the link below, there are photos that were posted to wakeboardingmag.com as well as other information on the Epic 21se.

Epic 21se

Next to hit the market was the Epic 232se, an all electric powered boat from this company. For it's battery power, it uses a Flux Power battery with lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4), which lasts about 8 hours at 8 knots and with 0% emissions to the environment. As for charge time, it would take between 1 and 6 hours depending on the source of power. But how is this battery different from the other lithium-ion battery used in the previous boats that were manufactured? Well, a lithium-iron battery is still a type of lithium-ion but is slightly upgraded in terms of safety and reliability. They also receive their name from the substances used, rather then the process it takes when charging or discharging as the 23e and 21se did originally (the substances include a lithium-iron phosphate for the cathode instead). The lithium-iron battery, however, offers less performance but is much more stable chemically speaking and isn't as sensitive with higher temperatures.

The video below shows how this boat preforms and gives some valid information to get to know this product even more.



An interesting fact to remember with this company, which was mentioned in the Translogic video, is that all of their boats are designed in San Diego and assembled in Louisiana. "If you're doing something for the environment it doesn't make sense to ship stuff across the ocean," says Matt Ostmeyer, director of product development for Epic Boats.

In addition to the Epic 232se, the company has provided customers with a brochure on their website (below) to provide even more specifications on this boat.



References:

"Lithium-Ion Battery." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 04 Dec. 2011.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery>.

"How to Define Anode and Cathode." Welcome to Av8n.com. Web. 04 Dec. 2011.

<http://www.av8n.com/physics/anode-cathode.htm>.

"Epic Boats Unveils Epic 21se Electric Boat | Wakeboarding Magazine." Wakeboarding Magazine. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.<http://wakeboardingmag.com/features/2010/01/26/first-look-epic-21se-first-electric-wakeboard-boat>.

"Washington Boating License and Boat Safety Course - Unlawful and Dangerous Operation." Boating Safety Course. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.<http://www.boat-ed.com/wa/course/p4-4_recklessoperation.htm>.

"2011 Wakeboard Boats Son! | MFM and Fam | Stevie Bell." MFM & Fam. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.<http://mfmandfam.com/stevie-bell/2011-wakeboard-boats-son/>.

"EV WORLD: Making Electric Waves." EV World: Making Electric Waves. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.<http://evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1680>.

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Feed, By DomenickYoney RSS. "Epic Boats Introduces All-electric Wakeboard Craft." AutoblogGreen -- We Obsessively Cover the Green Scene. Web. 24 Nov. 2011. <http://www.green.autoblog.com/2010/02/16/epic-boats-introduces-all-electric-wakeboard-craft/>.

"Epic Boats - 232SE." Epic Boats - 23V. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.<http://www.epicboats.com/232se.html>.

"TRANSLOGIC 63: EPIC 232se Electric Sport Boat - YouTube." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 12 Nov. 2011.

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pP-YHWq1cI>.

"EPIC 23e Video 2 - YouTube." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 12 Nov. 2011.

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQiV_0BZfg8>.