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DSC04108TORQEEDO POWERS THE BBC ON THE AMAZON RIVER

Torqeedo, leader in the growing electric marine propulsion market, worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to power its natural history documentary team’s boat on the Amazon River. There, they filmed pink river dolphins in the water and jaguars on shore, for its latest “Planet Earth II” series. It will be presented by Sir David Attenborough on BBC One, beginning November 2016, and on BBC America, starting January 28, 2017.

While preparing to start filming, the BBC contacted Torqeedo. Its primary concern was the need to preserve the environment, without disturbing the animals with noisy motors or polluting their habitats. Torqeedo recommended its popular low-maintenance, low-voltage Travel 1003 model with integrated high-performance lithium batteries and a solar panel for charging in the field.

“We were keen to get as close to the animals in their natural environment as possible, but their wellbeing and safety will always come first,” said Tom Crowley, part of the BBC Natural History Unit for the “Planet Earth II” series. “Using Torqeedo’s electric motors ensures we can protect and preserve their habitat, whilst getting closer than we’ve been before. The Travel 1003 model was so easy and simple to use, and allowed us to concentrate on the most important factor: filming these gorgeous creatures.”

tqo23109h

Torqeedo’s environmentally friendly outboards are easy to lift, stow and carry, almost silent in use and extremely inexpensive to run. They achieve the same power as a gasoline-powered engine, without the emissions and risk of leaking fuel. With vastly improved battery technologies, the cleanliness, reliability and low maintenance ownership experience of a modern electric engine is now highly appealing to a wide range of boat owners.

Contact Torqeedo Inc., 171 Erick Street Unit A-1, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. 815-444-8806; Fax: 815-444-8807.usa@torqeedo.com; http://www.torqeedo.com

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome. Please contact us by using the COMMENT tab at the lower right hand corner of this page.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2016 in Green Dock

 

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        Face Off With The Enemy: Lionfish

 

U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland considers congressional hearing on invasive lionfish

I have met a lot of people during my tenure at the mastheads of the magazine end of the boating industry and many of them have quite passionate feelings about an overall concern for the environment we have decided to dedicate our lives to. Pete Johnson is an articulate, well-spoken gentleman and has taken up the cause of invasive species and the particular problems associated with them. To help get the message out, Pete sent me this latest release. Take a read and decide for yourself. -Capt. Ken

During a recent trip to Key West, Fla., U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland, (R), who serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and its Fisheries Subcommittee, got an up-close, personal look at an invasive lionfish.  Two rapidly reproducing and voracious non-native lionfish species, imported from the Indo-Pacific region, are wreaking havoc on fisheries and marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.

Southerland, who was attending a Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting, spent extra time to learn more about the lionfish invasion which is also growing more populous on the reefs near his hometown of Panama City, Fla.  The congressman serves Florida’s second district which includes over half of the Florida Panhandle’s coastal waters.

The  culprit. Beautiful and deadly at the same time. Photo by Dr. James Morris.

The culprit. Beautiful and deadly at the same time. Photo by Dr. James Morris, NOAA.

“We discussed the significance of this invasion and impacts on indigenous species,” said Kelly.  “While the typical fisherman may not know much about them, since lionfish are rarely caught on conventional fishing tackle, thousands of recreational divers, descending to 100 ft. depths, have observed growing numbers of them on popular Florida reefs, submerged wrecks and other underwater sites.  However, these population densities pale in comparison to lionfish aggregations found deeper (120-300’ or more) beyond safe recreational diving depths.”

“Anglers and the general public should be very concerned,” Kelly said. “For example juvenile groupers and snappers are among some 100 documented fish which lionfish prey on and despite its now 1-1/2 pound average size, the lionfish can live for about 15 years and most likely double in size again.”  Marine researchers at the Lionfish Summit reported a single lionfish necropsy verified consumption of 20 tropical fish in only 30 minutes time.  In highly infested areas native fish populations have been reduced by as much as 80% in five weeks.

“Crustaceans like crab, shrimp and even juvenile spiny lobster are also popular food sources found in the stomach contents,” Kelly added, “as are herbivores, the very important small colorful fish that help keep coral reefs free of algae. Divers in many communities have helped keep lionfish populations in check through organized lionfish derbies and contests by spearing and hand-netting them.”

“In the five-year history since 2009 when lionfish were first spotted in the Keys, commercial lobster trappers have been finding increasing numbers as by-catch in their spiny lobster traps.  The numbers and sizes of lionfish have skyrocketed from 49 lbs at a 1/3 lb average caught the first year, to more than 10,000 pounds in 2013 averaging more than a pound apiece, as reported by just one commercial fisherman during an eight month fishing season.”

U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland (left), of Panama City, Fla., and Capt. Bill Kelly, Exec. Dir. of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, view a lionfish on display in an aquarium at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Eco-Discovery Center in Key West, Fla. Two rapidly reproducing and voracious non-native lionfish species, imported from the Indo-Pacific region, are wreaking havoc on fisheries and marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Thompson)

U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland (left), of Panama City, Fla., and Capt. Bill Kelly, Exec. Dir. of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, view a lionfish on display in an aquarium at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Eco-Discovery Center in Key West, Fla. Two rapidly reproducing and voracious non-native lionfish species, imported from the Indo-Pacific region, are wreaking havoc on fisheries and marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Thompson)

“And as we explained to Congressman Southerland, our commercial lobster trappers have seen denser populations of lionfish in deeper waters from 100 to 300 feet,” said Kelly.  “By developing the right trapping methods, lionfish could become a very valuable and nutritious consumer commodity while protecting our ecosystems.”

History of the Lionfish Invasion

The first sighting of lionfish in U.S. waters was reported in 1985 in the Atlantic waters off Dania Beach near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.  It was believed to have been released by a tropical fish enthusiast who may have grown tired of caring for the exotic import, which may have been eating other expensive and colorful fish in his tank.

Indigenous to the tropical waters of the South Pacific, lionfish populations are held in check in their native habitat by natural predation. However, invasive lionfish have no natural predators and have spread rapidly in the past 29 years in sub-tropical and temperate waters of the northern hemisphere.  Just one female is capable of producing as many as 30,000 eggs every four days or more than two million eggs a year.

With a thermal tolerance of about 50 degrees, some 35 degrees less than their native habitat, lionfish have been found in Atlantic waters as far north as Rhode Island. In the U.S. the heaviest concentrations have been from Carolina waters south to the Florida Keys. They have also spread throughout the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean Islands and eastern Central and northern South America.

The ornate red and white stripped lionfish possesses 18 venomous spines on its dorsal fin and its pelvic and anal fins, which are used for defense. Its venom, a protein-based neurotoxin, can cause severe pain and swelling. Spearfishermen and commercial fishermen use safety techniques such as long spears, hand nets and puncture proof gloves to carefully avoid the spines. Though the spines, which are removed during the cleaning process, are venomous, it has no effect on the lionfish meat which is considered a delicacy and cooked in a variety of recipes.

Next Steps

Kelly said he and Southerland discussed several core issues. “Besides talking about how quickly this invasion occurred, the damages to the ecosystem and how widespread it has become, our hour-long conversation included containment methods such as divers using spears and nets near shore, and major emphasis on a well-monitored commercial trapping program offshore. Once that begins we’ll tie-in consumer awareness and educational program, leading to bigger demand for these fish in more restaurants, seafood houses and grocery store fish counters.” Southerland, Kelly said, was very concerned and indicated he would call for a subcommittee hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee.

“The alarm was sounded over 20 years ago by NOAA biologist and ecologist Dr. James Morris.  Now, in a relatively short period of time, we may very well be facing one of the most threatening marine invasions of our lifetime.  Until such time as native species of fish acquire an appetite for lionfish, if they ever do, our most promising method of containment will be a well-designed and closely monitored commercial trapping venture.  Time is of the essence,” said Kelly.

           GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome. Please contact us by using the COMMENT tab at the lower right hand corner of this page.

 For more information, contact Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications, Inc. E-mail: JohnsonCom@aol.com, ph: 480-951-3654

 

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Green Dock

 

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To Use or Not to Use: Is it really a question?

Boaters are squaring off on the controversy of having E15 added to the fuel used in their engines.

By Ken Kreisler

According the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) summary of The Clean Air Act of 1970 “ [it] is the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. Among other things, this law authorizes EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and public welfare and to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” Sounds like a plan to me. I mean, who doesn’t want clean air? But as widely attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in about 1150, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Fast forward to the 2007 signing of the Energy Independence and Security Act. In essence this tome included, among many other objectives, one that most boaters can relate to: Reducing petroleum use and increasing the utilization of alternative fuels with a stipulation that, according to Forbes contributor Larry Bell in a 9/23/12 Op-Ed article, “…a certain amount of ‘renewable’ fuel must be introduced into the market each year, an amount that will rise to 36 billion gallons in 2022.” In October of 2010, after an almost year- long urging from Growth Energy, a coalition of Ethanol supporters, along with over 50 Ethanol manufacturers, that same EPA decided to allow a bump up in the percentage of Ethanol from 10%, known as E10, to E15 in a selected group of gasoline engines.

corn-1847037_1280Here’s where things get contentious. E15 is a 15% solution of Ethanol; the alcohol fuel made from the sugars found in grains, with the most popular being extracted from corn and, in harmony with marine industry thinking, not a very good thing for internal combustion engines.

Firstly, it is hygroscopic by nature and attracts moisture and will therefore encourage internal engine rusting and other downstream problems. It also tends to dissolve and release destructive engine gunk which plug fuel filers, clog injectors, and play havoc with carburetors. Then there’s possible gasket and rubber hose failure and an issue with the decomposition of fiberglass fuel tanks manufactured prior to 1991. And while there are conditions with being able to use E15 with 2001 model year engines and newer in cars, light trucks, certain SUVs, and FlexFuel vehicles, it seems as if marine warranties are voided should the brew be introduced into the boat’s fuel system.

Case in point, Mercury Marine’s take on using E15: “E10 is considered acceptable but fuels with higher levels can void the warranty.”  Mercury’s David Hilbert, a Thermodynamic Development Engineer, in his November 2, 2011, testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, United States House of Representatives, reported the following paraphrased findings of a 300 hour test performed during 2010 and 2011 on three Mercury outboard products using E15:

Ethanol damage done to engine parts.

Ethanol damage done to engine parts.

“We were able to complete the entire test running E15 in a 9.9 HP engine…results indicated poor running quality, including misfires at the end of the test, an increase in exhaust emissions, increased carbon deposits on the underside of the pistons and the ends of the rods indicating higher engine temperatures. Additionally, deterioration of the fuel pump gasket was evident, likely due to material compatibility issues with the fuel blend.  This deterioration of the gasket could lead to fuel pump failure, disabling the engine.

“The 300 HP four-stroke supercharged engine did not complete the test, encountering a valve failure after 285 hours. One valve broke apart and two others developed cracks. Analysis showed the cause of these fractures was deteriorated mechanical strength due to high metal temperature.  The 200 HP two-stroke engine also failed a rod bearing at 256 hours of testing, resulting in catastrophic destruction of the engine. There was so much damage to the engine that we could not determine the exact cause of failure.  It is important to note that two-stroke engines of this architecture mix the fuel and the oil and use that mixture to distribute the oil to the critical interfaces such as the bearings and cylinder walls.  Ethanol may have an effect on the dispersion or lubricity of the oil as it is mixed with the fuel.  More testing of such engines is necessary to understand the ramifications of an E15 blend fuel on this type of lubrication system, as it is not well understood at this time.”

To move the information-gathering process forward so as to be able to understand what is at stake here, I went back to the proverbial horses’ mouth—although some would say it was another anatomical region of that most noble breed of equine—and perused more of the aforementioned EPA site. Among the listed factoids and talking points I found, clearly listed under the What Vehicles May Not Use E15 heading, this:  “…all off-road vehicles, such as boats and snowmobiles.” But as with those most annoying infomercial pitchmen, there’s more.  And this one is a real eye-opener: The E15 Waiver.

In essence, the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to disregard the exclusions on E15 use as long as, “…the prohibited fuel or fuel additive will continue to meet their emission standards over their ‘full useful life.’” Enter some data, such as that from the Biotechnology for Biofuels site, a Euro-based research group, where, in its conclusion of testing in the UK and Sweden—remember, we are not in this alone—pointed out that the large amounts of electricity used during the conversion process may actually increase greenhouse gasses so much so as to diminish any gain in reported exhaust emissions. Then there is the whole land use discussion and how it impacts not only our own economy but that of established and emerging nations as well.

Cap warningWhile E15 remains on the EPA’s Do Not Use List, it can find its way into the boating fuel supply. “A majority of boats are pulled on trailers. You get to the pump and fill up your tow vehicle and then fill up your boat. That’s the way people have been doing it for years and will continue to do it,” said Jim Currie, NMMA’s Legislative Director.

Most recently, a D.C. Court of Appeals ruling denied a suit brought forth by the Engine Products Group (EPG), of which our own National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is a part of, in its opposition to the higher concentrations of Ethanol in gasoline.  “The ultimate goal is to get the law changed.  Our plan for the 113th Congress is to re-open the Renewable Fuel Standard, the law that requires ever-increasing amounts of renewable fuel—like Ethanol—in the marketplace. We’d like to have the Congress pass legislation that would basically freeze the standard for Ethanol where it is, at about 10% by volume,” Currie added.

And finally this from NMMA president Thom Dammrich: “E15 is a disaster for boaters and the environment. We need to have everyone learn as much as they can and to get in touch with their members of Congress and let them know we need to change the requirement that is driving this process to get more Ethanol into gasoline.”

If you have any thoughts on this subject, please feel free to contact me by using the Leave A Comment feature at the bottom of the page. Future discussions will feature a lengthy interview with the NMMA’s Thom Dammrich.

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Green Dock

 

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