Fuel Cells - future or failure

Mr. Ed

Super Anarchist
3,006
341
Ah thanks

I see I have garbled two things

Efoy claim .9 litres per KWH and their top model delivers 210 AH per day at 12 V which is about 2.5 KWH which would use 2.25 litres per day

So not terribly economical at their cost of fuel.

I do hope it does become mainstream and cheaper.

 

Mr. Ed

Super Anarchist
3,006
341
Something will have to give at some stage, for the netweb shows us methanol for use in labs (and I suppose therefore high quality) available at c £1 a litre. Efoy's insistence on using their fuel is probably part market protection and part well founded technical prudence. Like printer toner - scandalously overpriced yet the knockoffs just don't really work.

 

Maine Sail

Anarchist
555
4
I have now quoted a few of these and no one has yet to bite. After doing the research found it to be a very expensive way of generating power. They are cool and cutting edge and quiet but a 5000 hour life, on a low charge current device, that may need to run 24/7/365 means a 210 day life on an actual crusing vessel. A genset driving a 100-150A charger runs much less.....

The biggest problem, other than expense ($7000.00 for the 210), is that even the EFOY 210 only pumps out 8.8A of charge current or roughly 140W. Wind and solar can easily exceed this, and for a lot less than 1/4 the installed price.

The fuel cells also need to be purchased directly from EFOY, and are pretty pricey... Over the long haul at the cost of the unit, the fuel cells, and how much current we use on cruising boats it's a tough sell until they can get these up to 20-30A output +........

The fuel cost for these units is quite steep. Roughly $20.00 per gallon plus shipping. It runs about $5.00 per kilowatt-hour or roughly $5.00 for every 80 amp-hours of charging. A single 140W solar panel will produce 40 +/- Ah's /day for no additional cost. Oh and when I say plus shipping, I mean PLUS.

My closest EFOY dealer is in MA and when I priced it out last time for a customer who wanted the straight dope on them I found that shipping an M-10 fuel-cell, which is 2.6 GAL, it costs nearly $100.00 to get from MA to ME due to the fact that it had to go FedEX and was classified as Haz Mat shipping. So 2.6 GAL / $159.00 = $61.15 PER GALLON... That jumps the cost to well over $15.00 per 80Ah of charging.

If you are a long distance cruiser I think the 5000 hours expected life and fuel availability make it a no-start. If you are coastal and have deep pockets it can work...

 
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Maine Sail

Anarchist
555
4
"If you are coastal and have deep pockets it can work..."

How does it "work"?
Umm you pony up $7000.00 plus fuel, plus instllation cost

You wire it to the house bank

You turn it on

5000 hours of charging time later you pony up $7000.00 and start all over.... <_<

Our solar array has been charging for approx 12,000 hours over its life and has not cost us one cent since it was installed.... I have cruising customers with over 24,000 hours of solar charging with zero break downs.....

At our 12,000 hours we'd be on our second EFOY or $14,000.00 in equipment cost vs. less than $400.00 for solar....

 
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Mr. Ed

Super Anarchist
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341
Maine Sail - thanks. One-Nil to SA Collective Wisdom!

Gosh - where did the 5000 hour life expectancy for the device itself come from? Didn't notice that in the glossy literature. That certainly turns that particular fantasy off. Back to more reliable ones - like early Florence Arthaud

Screen-Shot-2015-03-11-at-17.12.55-copy.jpg


 
I've been running dual Genasun 360 Ah batteries for almost five years now. They've been in HARD service 7/24/365. After all this time, I'm just now starting to have issues with a couple of cells. I'm on a big cat (55') and do crazy things like running A/C powered by inverters should I be motors sailing in hot conditions. ALL charge sources are DC. I'm running twin 270AMP alternators on the main engines.

From dead discharged (well, actually 80%) it takes a little over an hour top FULLY recharge the batteries -- 'though with 1.5kw of installed solar (4 x 250w + 4 x 135w) panels, I almost NEVER engine charge the batteries.

I can't recommend Genasun enough. Even though my batteries are completely past any warranty they have truly stepped-up and just shipped me brand new batteries at a price that Alex would kill me if I disclosed.

Being one of Genasun's customers (via the AWESOME Bruce Schwab) we've learned a couple of key factors concerning the LONG-term application of LiFePO4 chemistry. The most significant is to reduce the float voltage on charging sources to 13.8 or so. When we did the initial setup we set the float to 14.2 for the solar charge controllers as well as the shore-power charger (Victron Quattro). We believe that keeping the cells so close to the upper shoulders is what has led to the degradation of a couple of cells.

So, to address the topic of his thread, I truly believe that you cannot beat the energy density of dead dinosaurs at the time being. The key is to use this precious resource as efficiently as possible.

So, my recommendation would be to throw-out your genset. Massively increase your DC generation on your main engine, and switch to LiFePO4 battery technology.

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
I've been running dual Genasun 360 Ah batteries for almost five years now. They've been in HARD service 7/24/365. After all this time, I'm just now starting to have issues with a couple of cells. I'm on a big cat (55') and do crazy things like running A/C powered by inverters should I be motors sailing in hot conditions. ALL charge sources are DC. I'm running twin 270AMP alternators on the main engines.

From dead discharged (well, actually 80%) it takes a little over an hour top FULLY recharge the batteries -- 'though with 1.5kw of installed solar (4 x 250w + 4 x 135w) panels, I almost NEVER engine charge the batteries.

I can't recommend Genasun enough. Even though my batteries are completely past any warranty they have truly stepped-up and just shipped me brand new batteries at a price that Alex would kill me if I disclosed.

Being one of Genasun's customers (via the AWESOME Bruce Schwab) we've learned a couple of key factors concerning the LONG-term application of LiFePO4 chemistry. The most significant is to reduce the float voltage on charging sources to 13.8 or so. When we did the initial setup we set the float to 14.2 for the solar charge controllers as well as the shore-power charger (Victron Quattro). We believe that keeping the cells so close to the upper shoulders is what has led to the degradation of a couple of cells.

So, to address the topic of his thread, I truly believe that you cannot beat the energy density of dead dinosaurs at the time being. The key is to use this precious resource as efficiently as possible.

So, my recommendation would be to throw-out your genset. Massively increase your DC generation on your main engine, and switch to LiFePO4 battery technology.
+100 on batt and charging changeover
Bruce D I understand current thinking is that for LFP cell longevity maybe better kept at PSOC than sitting for long periods on float. Go over to this thread for good vid of your hero.

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=166404#entry4994290

 
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neosplit

New member
17
0
Interesting and quite relevant topic for me since I am getting to hear first hand reviews on Hydrogen Fuel Cell usage. We are prototyping a different technology which does not store Hydrogen, nor Methanol, nor does electrolysis. By using simple metal like Aluminum, we produce Hydrogen on-demand & consume it immediately thus no safety hazard. Plus the unit runs 24/7, directly powering appliances and few batteries we have are only for backup purpose. Also we are addressing logistics issues of where to buy Aluminum but since it is not flammable (like Methanol), it is very easy & cheap to ship. Moreover, Al has long shelf life so can be bought from Petrol station just like buying lubricants.

We can currently generate 2.2 kW of power using 1kg of Aluminum with our beta prototype. The current cost of Al is approx 0.55 USD (in bulk). So with delivery to point of consumption, Im guessing total cost would add up to be 1.5 USD / kg. Let me know if you have more questions (website).

 

mountsbay

New member
46
3
Would i be right in thinking that you can currently generate 2.2kW using 1 kg of aluminium... indefinitely? Presumably not... so what do you mean? Presumably you are a sales person?

 

mcmurdo

Member
224
43
earth
Interesting and quite relevant topic for me since I am getting to hear first hand reviews on Hydrogen Fuel Cell usage. We are prototyping a different technology which does not store Hydrogen, nor Methanol, nor does electrolysis. By using simple metal like Aluminum, we produce Hydrogen on-demand & consume it immediately thus no safety hazard. Plus the unit runs 24/7, directly powering appliances and few batteries we have are only for backup purpose. Also we are addressing logistics issues of where to buy Aluminum but since it is not flammable (like Methanol), it is very easy & cheap to ship. Moreover, Al has long shelf life so can be bought from Petrol station just like buying lubricants.

We can currently generate 2.2 kW of power using 1kg of Aluminum with our beta prototype. The current cost of Al is approx 0.55 USD (in bulk). So with delivery to point of consumption, Im guessing total cost would add up to be 1.5 USD / kg. Let me know if you have more questions (website).
I'm guessing that this cell is based on this research: http://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2007a/070515WoodallHydrogen.html

As is made very clear by the researchers, this only works if you devise a way to keep the aluminum feedstock from rusting. Aluminum rusts by reacting with oxygen to prduce a layer of aluminum oxide, which prevents further rusting. Otherwise, aluminum boats would disintegrate, after shocking their occupants.

So, to say it runs on only aluminum is not true; it needs a catalyst to keep aluminum oxide from forming. There is no indication on the website of how this is performed in the cell, not what the catalyst is. That is probably proprietary knowledge, but I'm not convinced it works.

And it is also not true to say there is no byproduct or waste. That aluminum replaces the hydrogen in water, but it's not going anywhere. It will collect as aluminum oxide.

If anyone has any practical experience with this product, I'd be keen to heard of it.

 
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