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Hybrid Houseboats - any electric, solar, or paddle wheel propulsion house boat?

by Joe Stein
(Sandusky, Ohio)

Hybrid Houseboats - any 28' Marinette boats around?

Hybrid Houseboats - any 28' Marinette boats around?

When it comes to hybrid houseboats, is there any electric, solar, or paddle wheel propulsion aluminum house boat around? I think an aluminum Marinette houseboat would be perfect.

My idea is a Honda Insight CVT drive train, paddle wheel propulsion, 1959 Marinette/Aluminum Cruisers 28'AllFamilyCruiser. 4500# dry weight EST. Regenerative braking effect with paddle wheels charging the 144v battery banks, engine shutdown when not under throttle.

Charging while moored/anchored with water current moving paddle wheels. Electric braking with energizing the IMA (Integrated Motor Assist/motor-alternator).

Now I just need to find the "right" boat. Any info on the wherabouts of one of these would be helpful! We want to take our 2 and 5 year old daughters touring.

Thanks in advance, JOEY

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Reply - Answer
Well Joey, it sounds like you have been busy designing the next hybrid houseboat, and I agree with your choice of the 28 foot Marinette.

As to finding an aluminum Marinette, you may want to keep an eye out on our Houseboats For Sale page.

There is also many articles that may interest you on our green, wind, and solar powered houseboats page.

Now if we look at advancements in technology, especially in the last decade, I see that we are close to achieving a commercially viable hybrid houseboat for consumers. I just hope that it will be affordable.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their electric, solar, wind, or hybrid houseboat experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Hybrid Houseboats - any electric, solar, or paddle wheel propulsion house boat?

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Solar houseboat
by: Liveaboard

I had a wind generator but decided even though I have much wind that maintenance wise it was cheaper to go completely solar.

Some things to consider: panels can last for over 20 years and are maintenance free. Monocrystaline polycrystalline amorphous flexible and so on.

I've gone for the mono angry poly. Mono for a given exposure area will produce more current than a polyglot for the same area but the poly performs slightly better on cloudy days.

Too much heat over say 27°C will cause an efficiency loss. So needs plenty of air circulation. Someone above suggested solar on the roof overlaid with plexiglass.

Panels need cooling and also even slight shading can drastically reduce their efficiency. My experience with plexiglass is that it scratches very easily and becomes brittle when exposed to UV rays for long periods of time.

I've chosen the solid aluminium framed panels simply because they are tried and true and now reasonably priced and the A grade panels are regularly guaranteed to produce under ideal conditions very well for 20 years.

Solar houseboat
by: Liveaboard

I've been living on a boat for 9 years. I'm currently designing a model boat. Just 23 feet by 8 feet when scaled to full size. It's trailerable. I call it not (tiny house) but a 'briny House.'

Attributes: shallow draft, 6ft 8" head room, shower, urine separator toilet, solar powered, rainwater collection, oven, full size kitchen sink in galley, fresh and gray water tanks, califont, camper van style diesel heater, fridge freezer, generator, queen size bed that doubles as a seat, ample window views, female companion friendly, washing machine, ample decks fore and aft for exercising sunbathing etc. able to used at bow or stern to view sunset or sunrise so need not worry about mooring angle, can be beached, can take heavy loads, can be fitted with various power motors.

No holes below the waterline. With a large motor it may be possible to plane but specifically designed for quiet comfortable living. This vessel will be seaworthy for inshore use.

The Marinette On Solar Steroids
by: Anonymous

I made a post to another topic on this site but it might not get to you so....

Try running a google check on 'mog canal boat'. I think you will find that this private build is as close as you can get to the 28 foot Marinette you posted.

It is TOTALLY solar electric DRIVE and also power for appliances. The draft is 18 inches on a 40 foot hull length.

TOTALLY Solar Electric Powered Boat
by: mogman

ALL the drive power AND appliances of the 'mog canal boat' are from solar electricity from the roof of this FORTY foot boat.

Patterned after the houseboats of the 1920's and 1930's with a bit of updating. If you wish to see it, I am sure you can google the words quoted.

This is a private build from a scratch design. The design is based on the Garvey (flat) hull as used on so many houseboats. It is completely made of marine fir plywood. For those that think plywood will not last... it is nearly 30 years old and no part of the water-lined hull has ever need any replacement.

What a wonderful houseboat site you have here. Quite a great resource with my thanks to those that contribute to and read it all.

Cheap & basic hybrid eco floatings homes for all
by: Graham Peters

I have been developing a DIY hybrid floating home for AYB in Europe. We are still in early stages, but the idea is that if you use readily available basic cheap DIY materials and avoid fancy sea-going marine fittings It is possible to build a simple solar powered floating home with electric drive and basic home utilities.

The design is modular, so that a small home can be dis-assembled and transported in a standard Ford transit van.
We are testing some modern materials and techniques unseen elsewhere on boats.

We currently provide a DIY manual and various Kits and components to supplement your local supplier. Top of the range is under £15,000 while a complete kit is less then £5,000.

Green Houseboats - wind powered 1957 Marinette
by: JRL

I came across the article about the hybrid Marinette houseboat. How strange because I was mulling around with the idea of putting together a wind powered houseboat after a visit to the Mississippi River and saw all the boats in dock and none out traveling. Who could blame them with the price of fuel.

So, I am looking for the right boat and am almost convinced in purchasing large pontoons and putting an old Airstream on it. That would look so cool. However, I saw this old houseboat in a field near the Wisconsin Dells.

It is a 1957 Marinette. It was for sale for $1500. It needs to be gutted, but the aluminum was all good. I have since purchased 3x 1500 watt wind turbines from Wild Nature Solutions and will mount them approximately 15 feet off the deck.

I found a 1958 Penta Volvo I/O that the out unit was rebuilt. I did not want to waste horsepower turn an I/O from a 200 hp engine. This was 80 hp and the smallest I could find.

Right now, I have the boat gutted and am ready to take off paint. I hope by the end of the summer I will have the electric motor in and give it a test run.

Let me know if you found your boat and have converted it to hybrid. If anything else, it keeps my mind busy. JRL.

Electric Houseboats - a PADDLEWHEELER design
by: Anonymous

I have a 35 ft Paddlewheeler I built for my Ice Cream Business. She's all electric, joystick control, including the steering. I am working on the solar recharging of the batteries or wind generator, not sure which way I want to go.

Regenerative is designed into this but provides little since Paddlewheelers only travel max 10 knots.

For those who will visit southwest Michigan this summer, you can see her on Corey Lake, Three Rivers, Mi

The Ice Cream is all homemade on the boat using a 1917 hit miss churn.

Green houseboat, with plenty of solar power
by: phil

We have a '95 ThreeBuoys houseboat, our roof is an unobstructed 15'x60', our bilge is huge 10'x5' (minus the 175 Merc), What I was thinking is does anyone know if I could lay solar panels on the whole roof and put plexiglass on top of the solar panels so I still have all my entertaining area?

Also is there any heavy duty electric prop motors to push this 60 tonne vessel? I am thinkining I could fit 60 batteries in the bilge (if I get rid of the motor) any ideas or companies that would know?

A sizable array of solar panels
by: Albatross

One thing that occurred to me was that one thing you have on the water that you don't necessarily have on land is a lot of unobstructed space.

It seems like one could HAVE "a sizable array" of solar panels simply by floating them behind the boat on aluminum pontoons.

This would only work in calm, clear weather and you'd still need a combustion engine for backup, but there would also be a lot of days when one could deploy the solar array, turn on the electric motor, and hum quietly along...

The Vision of Green Energy for Houseboats
by: Old Houseboater

Don't want to stifle creativity but:

1. Propellers are way more efficient than paddle wheels.

2. Solar is an established technology but conversion effiency is pretty poor and high energy required to propel a boat would require a sizeable array.

3. Harvesting energy from a moving body of water is feasable and is an established technology.

Putting all this together in one package is possible but would/will take a lot of engineering and money.


video ot solar paddle wheeler
by: Anonymous

Here's a link to a Youtube video of an aluminum solar paddle wheeler. Their website even has a parts list. (Not a cheap project).

Oh, and paddle wheels, if designed right can be very efficeint for low speed applications. Their main advantage is that you can operate in shallow weed infested waters without a propellor
to constanly get tangled.

or search google for solar paddle wheel boat.

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