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Old 05-20-2007, 07:15 PM   #1
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Maxpower Marine Fuel Cell.

Anyone using this?

This marine fuel cell looks like a real step forward for the DC needs of a cruising yacht. Seems like an initial Euro 5,000 outlay and the cartidges will be available worldwide. Tell me more someone!

http://www.max-power.com/fuelcell/index.html

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Old 05-20-2007, 07:42 PM   #2
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A description of Marine Fuel Cells HERE.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:40 AM   #3
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A very good article appears Power & Motor Yacht - Jan 2004 :-

http://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/boattests/0104duffy/

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
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:31 AM   #4
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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?
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:41 AM   #5
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Throw this one in as well:

http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:EEStor

Looks like a diesel engine's days are numbered.

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Old 05-21-2007, 09:03 AM   #6
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I think that we've been around here before. Previous threads have noted that Lagoon is already deploying electric drive supplemented, I guess, by sailing motion, diesel, wind, solar generation. We've also discussed the viability of using electricity as an option for cooking.

The world does move on, of course, and the guy in Australasia who has been sailing around with a tent of solar panels covering his yacht may well find his dream of an "electric boat" fulfilled by others using more effective technologies including fuel cells, electric motors, heat exchangers, insulators, battery storage

I wonder if there's anyone else actually addressing the whole thing from a professional perspective - Lagoon might not be a bad place to start!
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
A very good article appears Power & Motor Yacht - Jan 2004 :-

http://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/boattests/0104duffy/

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
The "unwanted" heat could be used either thermoelectrically or evaporatively to cool the vessel,drive refrigeration and even power an icemaker.
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by seastalkercat View Post
The "unwanted" heat could be used either thermoelectrically or evaporatively to cool the vessel,drive refrigeration and even power an icemaker.
What system that exists today could provide that solution, at the same as bringing down the temperature in the saloon - would there be enough heat to provide refridgeration ?
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Old 05-21-2007, 03:48 PM   #9
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The FAQ's on this device say that the fuel cell needs its inards replacing every 1500 - 5000 hrs of use. This doesn't sound very long!!
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Old 05-21-2007, 07:04 PM   #10
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The FAQ's on this device say that the fuel cell needs its inards replacing every 1500 - 5000 hrs of use. This doesn't sound very long!!
Watsons,

Welcome to the board!

You make a good point, a thought provoking question, something to consider in the overall cost of power and energy sources.

As a DC power pack may be in some degree of service every hour of every day here is a perspective:

365 days in a long year X 24 hours per day = 8760 hours per year

1500 hour useable life / 8760 hrs = minimum .17 years of use - time to replace (about 2 months)

(1500 + 5000) = 6500 / 2 = 3250 hrs average life

3250 / 8760 = average .37 years of use - time to replace (about 4.5 months)

5000 / 8760 = maximum .57 years of use - time to replace (about 6.9 months)

Or consider using the fuel cell at maximum capacity only 8 hours a day:

8 x 365 = 2920 hours

2920 / 8760 = .33 years of use - time to replace (about 4 months)

NOTE: I am not certain if my math fully applies to the technology, as currently I do not understand what consumes or wears out the innards, and why the large variation of 1500 - 5000 hours; or why one fuel cell could last 3.33 times longer than another in a differant application.

In making a comparison of the best method of how to provide power and the related expense, each cruiser must also consider how often they need to replace the innards of their fuel tanks.

I am interested in this technology, and will study it much more. I suspect it will be refined in time, as often technology is.

Jeff
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Old 05-21-2007, 07:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
innards of their fuel tanks
A replacement cartridge.

The way I understand it is that the "charge" automatically switches off if batteries are "full" - also switches off if an alternator is delivering a charge.

It appears then that if you also have a couple of solar panels the "cartridges" will last a loooooooong time.

More homework needs to be done.
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:39 PM   #12
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Well guys, I just happen to be the VP of Engineering for a company called UltraCell. We make micro fuel cells for the military at this time, but we will eventually find our way into the consumer markets once MEA technologies improve and balance of plant components are cheaper to produce.

For all practical purposes, there are only two companies making MEAs which are at the heart and sole of the fuel cell. Dupont produces an MEA using Nafion while BASF just got into the game by buying PEMEAS who makes our MEAs based on a PBI/Phosphoric acid technology originally used on the Apollo fuel cells.

From these two types of MEAs, there are a large assortment of fuel cell technologies being developed which differ by the means of delivering hydrogen to the MEA. Our technology relies on reformed methanol to produce hydrogen on demand, while many others use compressed hydrogen gas.

The two greatest challenges for the fuel cell technology at this time are MEA life and durability, and safe/cost effective production and delivery of hydrogen to the cell stack. Knowing the true nature of these challenges, I can assure you that the diesel engine is safe for at least another decade.

My personal dream and technical goal is to produce a fuel cell that can reform heavy fuel like diesel within a system that can also extract hydrogen from sea water. Such a system would ultimately give the sailor true autonomy from land.

If you have any questions regarding Fuel Cell technology, Iíll gladly provide whatever answers I can.

FYI, Maxpower Marine Fuel Cell is produced by the German company Smart Fuel Cells. Smart is our #1 Competition in micro fuel cells. They are partly owned by Dupont and we are partly owned by BASF.
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:43 PM   #13
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What luck to have the right person onboard to field all the questions about this interesting topic.
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:58 PM   #14
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You may want to take a look at my friend's website...HaveBlue

http://www.haveblue.com/

A very interesting system-based solution to the bigger picture of sailing autonomy. Unfortunately, Graig was a bit ahead of the techology curve.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
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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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
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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Quote:
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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