HATS OFF – Sitka High School graduates toss their mortarboards in the air after receiving their degrees Monday night in the Sitka High gym. This year 74 seniors graduated in a ceremony that included addresses by teacher Howard Wayne and class representative Nai’a Nelson, a performance by the symphonic band and a video of graduates. A car parade was held after the ceremony. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Himschoot's Bill Goes to Governor
21 May 2024 15:17

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Rep. Rebecca Himschoot hopes the bill she successfull [ ... ]

Awards, Diplomas for Pacific High Class of '24
21 May 2024 15:16

By Sentinel Staff
    Pacific High School Class of 2024 received diplomas, awards and lots of appl [ ... ]

Mullin Crushes Record at Regional Track Meet
21 May 2024 15:11

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Sports Editor
    Continuing their high-performing streak into the late [ ... ]

Dunleavy Checks Out Session's Energy Bills
21 May 2024 15:08

By YERETH ROSEN
Alaska Beacon
    Energy bills passed by the Alaska Legislature will help the state [ ... ]

Bill Passed to Require Harbor Safety Ladders
21 May 2024 15:06

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    Harbors owned and operated by Alaska’s cities and boroughs will [ ... ]

May 21, 2024, Police Blotter
21 May 2024 14:07

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
May 20
A case was opened after a man report [ ... ]

May 21, 2024, Community Happenings
21 May 2024 14:06

Forensic Training
Academy in Sitka
A public meeting to learn about the Alaska Comprehensive Forensic T [ ... ]

Assembly to Revisit Hiring of Attorney
20 May 2024 15:44

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Assembly members are weighing their next steps in hir [ ... ]

It's a Big Night for Sitka High Seniors
20 May 2024 15:41

Jamison Dunn, Felix Myers, Nai’a Nelson, Kylie Orlando, Benjamin Hedrick, Clarence Joaquin, Dani [ ... ]

Peltola Thanked for Aid to Projects
20 May 2024 15:37

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The leader of a Southeast commercial fishing organiza [ ... ]

Wolves Sweep Series, Secure State Softball Spot
20 May 2024 15:34

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Sports Editor
    Sitka High swept to victory in a three-game softball  [ ... ]

$92,000 in Grants Awarded By Sitka Charitable Trus...
20 May 2024 15:28

By Sentinel Staff
        Grants totaling $92,240 from the Sitka Alaska Permanent Charitable Tr [ ... ]

Bill Passed to End Use of PFA Pollutant
20 May 2024 15:25

By YERETH ROSEN
Alaska Beacon
    For the second time in two years, the Alaska Legislature passed a [ ... ]

May 20, 2024, Community Happenings
20 May 2024 15:22

SJ Museum Posts List
Of Summer Native Artists The Sheldon Jackson Museum will host several artists t [ ... ]

May 20, 2024, Police Blotter
20 May 2024 14:38

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
May 17
A traffic complaint was turned in at [ ... ]

Task Force Presents Report on Tourism
17 May 2024 15:56

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    At a sparsely attended meeting Thursday, the Assembly [ ... ]

C.G. Presents Findings on Fatal Boat Accident
17 May 2024 15:55

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Well over 100 Sitkans attended a town hall-style prese [ ... ]

Short-Term Rental, Variance Approved
17 May 2024 15:52

By ARIADNE WILL
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Planning Commission passed two conditional use permit [ ... ]

City Loses Offer for Attorney Job
17 May 2024 15:50

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The single finalist in the Assembly’s search for a  [ ... ]

Driver Injured In SMC Road Traffic Accident
17 May 2024 15:49

By Sentinel Staff
    A driver was medevacked  early this morning following an accident in the 20 [ ... ]

Julie Hughes 40th Anniversary Triathlon Nears
17 May 2024 15:44

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Sports Editor
    Competitors will line up Saturday for the 40th annual [ ... ]

Lawmakers Expand Food Stamp Program
17 May 2024 14:35

By CLAIRE STREMPLE
Alaska Beacon
    More Alaskans will be able to access food stamps following law [ ... ]

Legislature Leaves Some Bills for 2025
17 May 2024 14:34

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    In the last days of their two-year session, Alaska lawmakers pass [ ... ]

May 17, 2024, Police Blotter
17 May 2024 13:23

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
May 16
At 12:41 a.m. a man wa [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

Sitka Longliner Goes Hybrid-Electric

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The F/V Sunbeam is close to becoming Sitka’s first plug-in hybrid diesel-electric fishing boat.
    “It will probably save me maybe 30 to 40 percent on fuel,” Fabian Grutter said in an interview on the boat, “but another big savings is my main (diesel) engine won’t run 40 percent of the time, probably.”
    Grutter has longlined and gillnetted in the Sitka area with the Sunbeam for more than two decades. He grew up in Southeast and learned to fish when he was young, though both of his parents emigrated from Europe.
    Grutter said his interest in electric propulsion systems began several years ago, when he converted his truck to all-electric operation.
    The finishing touches of the plug-in hybrid conversion involve programming the controller, which drives and regulates the motor, he said. Grutter is unsure when the first sea trial will be.
    At its berth in Crescent Harbor, the Sunbeam looks like an ordinary longliner, but inside, the engine compartment is open and exposed. Lengths of wiring, a row of batteries, and a sleek electric motor on a custom welded aluminum bracket surround the decades-old diesel engine.
    Grutter cites a number of reasons, besides the savings in fuel costs, for his hybrid project on the Sunbeam: “A combination of performance and cleaning up the environment, and just quietness. All day long gillnetting you’re running your diesel 18 hours and you’re not even going anywhere. You’re moving 2,000 moving parts for 18 hours straight.”
    A reduction of noise levels while gillnetting was a key motive for the project, he said.
    “Every time I’m gillnetting or longlining there will be silence,” Grutter said. “The goal is to only use the diesel to run around.”

Favian Grutter looks out from the head of his boat, the F/V Sunbeam, where he has installed wiring for a new electric motor. The shaft of the small motor can be seen sticking out from a metal plate just above his main diesel engine. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

    He said Sunbeam’s diesel engine can charge the 70 kilowatt battery bank with an alternator.
    “Basically, it could charge that whole big battery bank in four or five hours cruising, then you shut the diesel off. And the theory is that it should get me gillnetting all day long, basically 12 hours of putzing around the net on one charge.”
    The batteries in question are lithium iron phosphates, a non-flammable form of lithium ion batteries. The boat is a plug-in hybrid because the batteries can also plug into dock power to charge.
    Grutter said he learned how to do the conversion online. “Hopefully, I’ve done all the wiring right,” he said as he pointed to a wiring diagram which resembled a plate of spaghetti.
    “They built a boat in Norway that’s made out of carbon fiber, the same size as this boat,” Grutter said. “It’s a commercial boat called F/V Karilene. And it’s got the best combination, it doesn’t have a main (diesel engine), it just has a genset (generator), a battery, and a motor. Obviously it has a bigger battery than this (on the Sunbeam), but it can go offshore and fish all day, come back without starting the generator.”
    Explaining the gains in the energy efficiency he expects, Grutter said only about one-fifth of the energy from diesel fuel ends up propelling the boat. The rest, he said, is lost to heat and noise. In contrast, he said that the electric motor would allow about 90 percent of the energy to go into propulsion.
    Pointing to the massive diesel engine, he said “weight-wise, horsepower wise, you could do the same thing with a 200-pound (electric) motor, where this diesel is 1,800 pounds. Especially if you have cooling, my motor doesn’t have cooling. That’s like a magic point... that means that you can have a motor that’s 100 pounds that can do 250 horsepower – it’s incredible.”
    But there’s another motive behind the diesel-electric conversion: engine maintenance. “The electric motor is rated 50,000 hours (before maintenance) and then you can take them apart, there’s a bearing on one side, and a seal, and that’s it, and you can put it back to together,” Grutter said. “The diesel, they’re good for 20,000 hours and then you’ve got to pull them out and it’s 20 grand to rebuild them.”
    Grutter showed his confidence in the long-term efficiencies of electric propulsion with the $20,000 investment in his specialized batteries. But that’s just under $300 per kilowatt, he said, which made it a bargain.
    “The biggest point,” he said, “is that the batteries have finally gotten cheap enough that it’s worth doing now, and it hasn’t been before.”

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20 YEARS AGO

May 2004

Dr. Arthur Cleveland, a former dean at Columbus State University in Georgia, was named the new president of Sheldon Jackson College, SJC officials announced today. He will be replacing C. Carlyle Haaland, who has held the position for four years.


50 YEARS AGO

May 1974

Coaching and managing the Little League teams this year are John Abbott and John Calhoun, ANB; Dale and DeWayne Vilandre, Alaska Federal; Walt Barker, Elks; Frank Simmons and Frank Vilandre, Lions; Leo Bacon, Pat Ness, Cliff Robards and Bob Edenso, Moose; and Everett Webb, Sportsmen. Head umpire is Carl Karpstein.

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