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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through March 18, 2009 » Marine Fuel Cells « Previous Next »
By "G" (grant_west) on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 7:31 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
A Direct Methanol Fuel Cell is a device that converts the chemical energy of a fuel (methanol) and an oxidant (air or oxygen) into electricity. In principle, a fuel cell operates like a battery. Unlike a battery however, a fuel cell does not run down or require recharging. It will produce electricity and heat as long as fuel and an oxidizer are supplied.

New Marine Fuel Cells supply constant 24-hour electrical power with no moving parts, and can replace noisy and polluting gas or diesel generators to operate all onboard electrical equipment. Methanol is supplied in 5-liter, 9.24lb. cartridges, each containing about 380Ah of DC power. Consumes about 1.1L of methanol per kW/H of electricity generated. Easily installed in any dry, ventilated area, and there is no need for exhausts or cooling water inlets, unlike with fossil fuel powered generators. Capable of running 24 hours per day, a fuel cell continually monitors your battery voltage and supplies power as needed. This "constant power" approach reduces the Charge/Discharge cycles imposed on house batteries, thereby significantly increasing their service life.

* Battery Chemistry: Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
* Volts: 10.8V to 14.2V DC
* Features: Operating temp: –4° to 104°F (–20° C to +40°C). Operation mode: Totally automatic or manual charging for an external 12V battery bank. Noise: 39dB at distance of 1m. Humidity: 20 to 90%.
* Dimensions: 17.4"L x 8"W x 11"H
* Weight: MFC60: 14.74lb., MFC110: 16.28lb., MFC140: 16.94lb.
* Warranty: Three years with registration

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/producte/10001/-1/10001/294365/377%20710/0/fuelcell/Primary%20Search/mode%20matchallpartial/0/0?N=377%20710&Ne=0&Ntt=fuelcell&Ntk=Primary%20Search&Ntx=mode%20matchallpartial&Nao=0&Ns=0&keyword=fuelcell&isLTokenURL=true&storeNum=5002&subdeptNum=9&classNum=14923
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By "G" (grant_west) on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 7:38 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
These things are awesome and the 140 amp one only cost 8 thousand dollars. But seriously these things are pretty cool. Anyone know about them? I think there were made for high dollar sailing ship's that either don't want to use a motor to recharge on board batteries or don't have a motor.
 
By Show (bigshow) on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 8:03 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
No, that's up to 140 Ah/day or 5.8 A continuous output at about 12 V, or 70 W. Thats enough power for one typical light bulb. So to run a light bulb you need to spend $8,000!
 
By John Gardner (roverjohn) on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 8:12 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
This line cracks me up: "and can replace noisy and polluting gas or diesel generators to operate all on board electrical equipment." Yeah, right. If your "on board electrical equipment" consists of a few of LED lights and maybe your nav station. These things won't power even the smallest of propulsion motors. Even funnier is that you have to keep them dry in a marine environment. What a joke.
 
By Art (rallyart) on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 8:32 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
They only weigh 17# Grant. You'd have to add ballast.
 
By Rod McInnis (rodmcinnis) on Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 11:49 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
140 amp-hours per day is a fair amount. You wouldn't use one of these alone, you would connect it up in parallel with a battery. Battery provides the surge, the fuel cell keeps the battery charged.

140 amp-hours a day wouldn't quite keep up with the demand on my houseboat but it would extend my battery enough so I wouldn't need to run the generator for a three day weekend unless I needed air conditioning.

What concerns me is that the "fuel" comes in a cartridge, and none of the places I found that were selling the fuel cell mentioned what the cost of the cartridge is.

I am also unsure of what the byproducts are and how you dispose of them. The fuel cells NASA uses are fed pure hydrogen and oxygen so the by product is water, which the astronauts would drink. Feeding the cell air and methanol will leave a lot of nitrogen and carbon left over.

I can see them being great in a situation where you need a moderate amount of power and want to preserve peace and quiet. Not exactly your wakeboard boat situation.

 
By Show (bigshow) on Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 4:37 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
140 AHr/day is nothing. Saying its a fair amount is incorrect. The add says that the maximum current is 5.8 A. Divide 140 by 24 and you get 5.833. Now multiply 12 V by 5.8 to get power thats 70 W. How many amps is the stereo in your boat, 500 W, 1,000 W, more?

Fuel cells are very sensitive to contamination. That's why they want the provide fuel in a cartridge. Your right, the cartridge is not going to be that cheap.

 
By Rod McInnis (rodmcinnis) on Friday, February 20, 2009 - 3:47 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Like I said, fuel cell is not a viable choice for a wakeboard boat. But to address your point:

Your stereo draws power in peaks. While it may be capable of 2000 watts it usually won't be driving anywhere near that much, and when it does it will only be for a very short instant. At the beat of the drum, for example. A 50 amp alternator(700 watts) will usually keep up with a 2000 watt stereo system, no problem.

 
By Show (bigshow) on Friday, February 20, 2009 - 3:52 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
And so, the marine fuel cell is therefore OK for running you iPod but not your stereo at relatively high volume.

An expensive useless widget.

 

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