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Old 05-22-2007, 01:49 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Manor View Post
If you add an electric power plant (link) to the equation we ARE perhaps looking to the future. It would be interesting to work out the cost of having to replace a yacht's engine compared to installing an electric unit and a fuel cell?
Although the technology exists to make this happen today, it would cost somewhere close to $1 million and that is assuming you know how to install the equipment yourself. A 15-20kW PEM stack for marine use is going to cost you $250k - $400k, hydrogen storage, pumps and electrolizers will run $300 - $500k. Now, because a fuel cell doesn't like varied load conditions, you need to know how to hybridize the system. As such, you will need a sophisticated control system, and power management for battery-based load sharing and current limiting conditions to prevent the cell stack from polarizing and becoming and expensive boat anchor.
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Old 05-22-2007, 02:58 AM   #16
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Elsewhere, a common issue raised was the problem of the heat generated by the process - In tropical climates in sailing yachts this would be a problem that does not appear to have been solved - maybe it has: any new information on that subject would be very welcome
Unless a process is 100% efficient, you will always have rejected heat that needs to be dealt with. As with our diesel engines, heat exchangers are used to dispose of heat via a continuous flow of cold raw water. In general, a fuel cell will be more thermodynamically efficient than an internal combustion engine and therefore will have less heat to reject for a given output power level.
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:14 AM   #17
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Although the technology exists to make this happen today, it would cost somewhere close to $1 million and that is assuming you know how to install the equipment yourself. A 15-20kW PEM stack for marine use is going to cost you $250k - $400k, hydrogen storage, pumps and electrolizers will run $300 - $500k. Now, because a fuel cell doesn't like varied load conditions, you need to know how to hybridize the system. As such, you will need a sophisticated control system, and power management for battery-based load sharing and current limiting conditions to prevent the cell stack from polarizing and becoming and expensive boat anchor.
To get back to a yacht's DC needs:

How feasible are the Maxpower Marine Cell claims? There must be something in it.
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:02 PM   #18
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The Maxpower Marine Fuel Cell is a Direct Methanol fuel cell (DMFC) system. In a direct methanol fuel cell system, methanol is pumped directly into the cell stack and onto the anode side of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). Through a wet catalytic reaction requiring the addition of water to complete the reaction, methanol + water are electrooxidized to produce 6H + 6e +CO2. The problem with DMFC is that it requires an enormous amount of expensive catalyst to achieve this reaction. In addition, the water required for the reaction must be recovered and recycled. If ambient conditions get too hot and dry, the water recovery process doesn't work and water must be added to the fuel which further reduces the efficiency of the system.

The Maxpower 100 can certainly provide a net 100W trickle charging capability. However, it will require the user to keep a hefty supply of pure methanol stored on the boat. For an initial investment of $5K-$6K, you will probably get 3000 hours of charging life from the system before it willl require new MEAs of pump replacement. For this kind of investment, I would HIGHLY recommend solar or a new genset.

This is why we haven't even considered the consumer market. The military market can justify $5K for 3000 hours of run time. I don't believe many of us boaters would be real happy with such performance.
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:36 AM   #19
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That would be $ 1,66 per hour.

Trim50,

Can you do a educated guess in how many years this ( or altenately, how far away ) kind of energy can also replace the diesel engine on board?

Say to replace a 70 HP engine?

Thanks,

Jeroen Bender

The Netherlands
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:57 PM   #20
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Can you do a educated guess in how many years this ( or altenately, how far away ) kind of energy can also replace the diesel engine on board?

Say to replace a 70 HP engine?
Well, a 70hp engine can be replaced by a 20kW fuel cell that is fully hybridized with a good battery bank. As such, it can be done today. The real question is when will it be economical and capable of delivering 50,000 hours of life? My educated guess would be at least another 10 years.

The automotive industry is making tremendous headway...especially GM & Toyota. However, the hybrid evolution has put a serious dent in the fuel cell R&D spending. When I was working with GM-FCA in Germany, a single fuel cell test vehicle with 100kW stack cost over $2.5M to build. The 10ksi hydrogen storage tanks alone cost $250k.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:01 AM   #21
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That would be $ 1,66 per hour.
Welcome Jeroen,

I understand your math.

I am not familiar with how electricity is priced and sold around the world. In the US it priced per Kilo Watt Hour, or 1,000 watts, 1 Kwh.

The numbers provided above are per 100 watts or .1 Kwh, which equates to $16.67 per Kwh.

In the US, as of January 2007:

Idaho resident paid the least: $.0475 / Kwh

Hawaii residents paid the highest: $.1905 / Kwh

And the national average was $.0872

All states are listed at:

http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/115.htm

For comparison sake $16.67 is about 191 times more than the recent US National Average price per Kwh.

A better comparison perhaps would be to electricity that can be generated from a portable source, such as a portable generator, or better yet to portable sources of newer and evolving technologies, say solar panels. I read one persons analysis on the cost of electricity produced by solar recently. His conclusion was $.50 / Kwh. The problems with this report were it lacked a date, and the sources of his information.

Maybe Trim50's "think tank" has current data for cost comparisons?

Jeff
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:05 PM   #22
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A recent article on subject:

April 2007

Soldier devices create voracious demand for better batteries

By Stew Magnuson

The old battlefield expression, ³praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,² may soon be ³praise the Lord and pass the AA batteries.² That is, if dismounted soldiers wired up with the latest electronic gear donıt see improvements in power technology soon, Army officials are saying.

Night vision goggles, Sure Fire lights, global positioning system receivers and communication gear are a few of the 12 devices creating what some military officials are calling the ³Christmas tree effect.² Gadgets are hanging off infantrymen like ornaments.

³Just since the war started, soldier power requirements have just gone off the chart,² said Jim Stone, deputy director of combat developments at the Army Infantry Center.

Dave Schimmel, a contractor who serves as hardware systems lead engineer at the Army soldier program executive office, said he is desperate to reduce the number, types and weight of batteries that the so-called ³digital soldier² must lug while on patrol.

³Weıre continuously looking for more power sources,² Schimmel said. ³Weıre not tied to any one person, one company, one organization, one lab. Weıll take from the Marine Corps. Weıll take from the Air Force. Weıll take from industry. It doesnıt matter to us. We really donıt care. We just want power sources.²

The Army is signing up for new portable technologies without taking into consideration the battery factor, Stone said at an Institute for Defense and Government Advancement tactical power conference.

Stone is serving as chairman of the newly formed soldier power integrated concept team, which will attempt to get a handle on the problem. Small arms or tactical communications divisions, for example, are not coordinating on the battery issue.

³Vendors come to [us] and say ŒIıve got a flashlight that will send a beam 10 kilometers,ı and my guys will sign up for it. Weıve got to get that under control,² Stone said.

The power integrated concept team will act as a gatekeeper to harness the growing demands for power needed when soldiers are dismounted on brief patrols, or on extended missions that last several days.

Stone tossed out a couple statistics to show how acute the problem has become.

An infantry platoon of 40 soldiers on a 72-hour mission requires about 65 batteries per man. Outfitting a brigade on a five-day mission costs taxpayers $1.5 million in batteries.

For infantrymen loaded down with more than 100 pounds of gear, every ounce counts. Compounding the problem is a soldierıs tendency to take more than he needs ³just in case,² officials said.

The two wars point to the complexity of the issue, said Chris Bolton, chief engineer of the Army power division at the communications-electronics research, development and engineering center (CERDEC).

Iraqi patrols tend to be short, less than a day, or a few hours. In Afghanistan, soldiers can set out for three days or more.

³Which is the more important one?² he asked.

Rechargeable batteries might be fine for short patrols. But soldiers on longer missions lasting several days want the option of shedding disposables to lighten their load.

And while 65 batteries per man is an average, different jobs in a platoon call for different amounts of batteries. A communications specialist, who must keep in touch with a command headquarters, will require more power than a grenadier. Radios need the ability to send short bursts of power.

One major concern is a lack of uniformity, the engineers said. The approximately 12 systems soldiers can carry on their person use nine different types of batteries operating independently from each other. That raises the dangerous scenario of a soldier having to stop in the middle of battle to swap out a set of batteries on his communications systems, then a few minutes later, taking cover to load new batteries in his weapon scope.

They ³canıt expect the enemy to just stop shooting,² Schimmel said.

The obvious solution is having one power source linked to all the electronic systems.

There are many technologies that could serve as the power source, said Schimmel, who added that he was ³agnostic² as to what they might be.

Hydrogen fuel cells are one possibility. They are an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity. The oxygen comes from the air, but the hydrogen must come from a second source ‹ most often common fossil fuels.

Methanol-based fuel cell concepts have received some Army funding. The liquefied fuel can be distributed in cartridges or bladders. Schimmel said systems using bladders are an attractive idea because the solder is shedding weight as the fuel becomes depleted.

At least two companies are working on methanol fuel cells for the military.

Ultracell Corp. of Livermore, Calif., delivered several units to CERDEC last year. They underwent testing at Fort Belvoir, Va., in support of the Land Warrior program and the Armyıs future ground soldier system, according to a CERDEC statement. The Ultracell units weigh less than one kilogram and are designed to provide 20 watts of power throughout a 72-hour mission.

EFOY, a German company, has received funding to develop its methanol-based fuel cell. It uses cartridges to deliver its fuel to a 1.3-kilogram unit.

The company says it can reduce the battery load by 80 percent and provide 24 watts of continuous power.

Protonex, of Southborough, Mass., is offering a dry fuel cell cartridge that requires the soldier to combine water with sodium borohydride to create a chemical reaction to provide power.

Three cartridges weighing 5.1 kilograms will last 72 hours and provide 30 watts of continuous power. The system can operate on saltwater and urine when water is scarce.

³Nobody wants to carry a gas cylinder,² said Protonex vice president Greg Cipriano of his methanol rivals.

An old concept receiving a new look from CERDEC is the Stirling engine.

Invented in the 1800s, the engine moves by heating gas sealed in a compartment. The change in pressure causes the gas to expand and a piston to move up and down, thus creating power.

As long as such concepts are mature and ruggedized for the harsh military environment, Schimmel said the Army is interested in hearing what industry has to offer.

³If you can carry it, wear it, and bring it with you to the mission, weıre interested in it,² he said.

However, such units must be as small as possible in order to mitigate the Christmas tree effect. Soldiers donıt want another big box hanging off their uniform. ³Real estate on a soldier is precious,² he added.

The ability to operate under all conditions is essential. Some industry representatives have come to him with ideas for fuel cell systems, but with caveats. For example, donıt let the unit get wet. Thatıs not going to work, he said.

They have to work from the Artic to the hot deserts of Iraq, and when crossing rivers. As any consumer who has tried to use a lithium ion battery in extreme cold knows, it can go dead. Other batteries degrade in extreme heat.

Meanwhile, there are other concepts that donıt require fuels, all in various stages of development at CERDEC.

Photovoltaic solar cell rechargers can be used as long as they can be exposed to the sun for six to eight hours. Soldiers have complained that these systems take too long, though.

Special Forces have field tested a hand-cranked generator that can recharge batteries used to operate satellite phones and personal digital assistants.

There has also been research into using the bodyıs natural movements to generate power. For example, the piezoelectric heel-strike method generates power through a system installed in a boot heel. Each step creates a rotary motion within the device that generates power.

In the near future, itıs a AA world, CERDEC officials said.

Current plans call for the use of military and commercial standard batteries through 2010, Stone said. Hybrid power systems, using sources including fuel cells and standard batteries, are to be introduced in the 2010 to 2014 timeframe. At that point, the Army hopes to have one common battery on the soldier powering all his systems.

Beyond 2014, CERDEC is hoping to have one fuel source, fuel cells or portable Stirling engines, for example, powering all portable systems.

Meanwhile, cutting edge technologies will continue to create headaches.

Devices that can see through walls or counter-sniper systems will only tax battery consumption further, Stone said.

³We know that our power requirements are going in the wrong direction,² he said.
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Old 06-23-2007, 10:06 AM   #23
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The sea trials of the world's first sailing yacht equipped with a 1kW fuel cell have begun in the UK.

Prior to the fuel cell system's official launch at METS in November 2007, Voller Energy is testing a prototype of its environmentally friendly fuel cell generator onboard the company's Solent-based Bénéteau Oceanis 411 Emerald.

Voller's 1kW fuel cell generator works by automatically monitoring battery voltage. When the battery voltage falls, it switches itself on and recharges the batteries. Once the batteries are fully charged the fuel cell switches itself off to conserve fuel.

The remote diagnostic capability of the Emerald fuel cell generator allows the team of designers and engineers to constantly monitor every aspect of the product's onboard performance from the Voller HQ in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

From: IBI NEWS

(22 June 2007)
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Old 06-25-2007, 03:58 AM   #24
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Well, a 70hp engine can be replaced by a 20kW fuel cell that is fully hybridized with a good battery bank. As such, it can be done today. The real question is when will it be economical and capable of delivering 50,000 hours of life? My educated guess would be at least another 10 years.

The automotive industry is making tremendous headway...especially GM & Toyota. However, the hybrid evolution has put a serious dent in the fuel cell R&D spending. When I was working with GM-FCA in Germany, a single fuel cell test vehicle with 100kW stack cost over $2.5M to build. The 10ksi hydrogen storage tanks alone cost $250k.
I think the hybrid stuff is an intermediary step to better cell and battery technology being used widely.
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Old 06-25-2007, 04:03 AM   #25
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The real advances in fuel cell technology will come from micro fuel cell development where we can build 1000s of stacks and systems for the price of a single automotive cell stack.

In just two years, we have made mind blowing progress. As soon as you get the electronics industry interested and the silicon valley investors involved, almost anything can happen fast.
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:46 AM   #26
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Hi just putting this back up again. As I am thinking about using an EFOY DMFC

Has there been any improvement in the last year or so on these systems?

Do you still have to replace the cells after 5000hrs or have they got them to last longer?

Thanks
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:50 PM   #27
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I'm no longer working in the fuel cell industry...which should tell you how I feel about the progress of the technology.

Let's just say that I have installed wind and solar on my boat...not a fuel cell to be found. Solar and wind compliment each other perfectly on a sailboat. I can't see any situation that would justify the expense of a fuel cell.

Even so, the Direct Methanol Fuel Cell is a nice technology...however, there are many issues with the life of the MEAs, pumps, compressors that are common to all fuels cells. The beauty of solar is that there are no moving parts...and that in a nutshell sets the technology far and away above all other power generating techologies for sailors.
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:38 AM   #28
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Thank you very much for the reply.

The more research I do on this subject the more I realise that there is a lot more to be done to improve the technology.

I'll heed your advice and stick to the tried and trusted Solar Panels and wind generator.

Cheers
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