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Old 08-24-2007, 08:17 PM   #1
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US rule to open new path for methanol

24 August 2007

Author: ICIS News

Provider: Fuel Cell Today

It has been reported that within weeks US officials will rule that laptop computers powered by fuel cells may be carried on board airliners. This marks the first step toward a major new methanol market that ultimately could include transportation fuels.

The US Department of Transportation (DoT) said it will issue a proposed rule by the end of September allowing airline passengers to carry fuel cell cartridges on board. The rule will likely be finalised before the end of this year and take effect early in 2008.

That regulatory move will bring the US in step with most other industrialised countries that have already authorised the use of methanol-powered fuel cells in consumer electronics in airliner passenger compartments.

The US action is important because until the DoT approves methanol-powered fuel cell electronics for airline passenger cabins, major manufacturers seem reluctant to ramp up full production of laptops, cellphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) that run on methanol.

For those that don't know, when I'm not sailing or on CL...I'm building these little boxes.

This system will run your laptop for weeks on just a couple cartridges of fuel.

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The general public won't see them for a few more years.

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Old 08-27-2007, 09:05 PM   #2
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Hi Trim

Ive just picked up the September issue of Sailing Today UK Mag and there is an article in it about these fuel cells

They seem a bit bulky and prices are around £2-3,0000.00p for a system the size of an inverter (These are for running most of the instuments on the boat)

Also the methanol was not cheap I think about £15.00 per litre (Dont quote me on figures as I left the magazine at work)

I will get it home tomorrow and sort it out for you.

Im sure now that the US has relaxed its rules it will and can only get cheaper!!

I am sure that you probably know more about it than I or the mag,!!



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Old 08-29-2007, 11:30 AM   #3
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What is good about this topic is the possible use of Ethanol as opposed to Methanol. Methanol can blind, whilst even a cheap whisky could get you home - Vodka has the potential to speed up the process.

Cane Spirit still around a dollar a litre.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:04 PM   #4
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There is a lot of work going on with direct ethanol fuel cells. For the near term, methanol will be the forerunner. Pricing right now for methanol refills is based on $/watt-hr of best alternative portable power i.e., Lithium Ion. This is where we will make our money in the near term.

The greatest challange associated with fuel cells isn't the fuel cell itself, but rather the balance of plant items like pumps and compressors. When someone tells you that a fuel cell has no moving parts, they've never built a fuel cell. We presently pay over $120 for a micro air compressor and $50 for a micro pump. Gold plated bi-polar plates cost $50/ea and we need 13 of them in each unit. BOM costs to deliver a 25W system are around $2500...the military finds this to be a very attractive alternative to their primary Li-Ion. I don't see the general public finding this attractive until we can build a system for $200 and sell it for $500. Once the Chinese get their hands on our designs...which they have...I'd expect cheap versions in 3 or 4 years coming on the market at around $800.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:36 PM   #5
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DOD dangles $1M prize for wearable power system

Editor's note: This story was updated at 9:20 a.m. July 9, 2007. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

If someone can come up with a wearable system that provides a warfighter who is on foot with four days’ worth of electrical power in a package that weighs not much more than 8 pounds, the Defense Department has $1 million it wants to give for it.

That’s the top prize in a competition DOD announced July 5 for a new generation of portable power systems that will drive all of the essential electronic equipment that warfighters on foot carry today – radios, night-vision devices and global positioning systems– but with much less fatigue-causing impact.

The standard battery pack the warfighter now carries weighs more than twice the competition’s goal of 8.8 pounds or less. That target includes the power generator and all of the storage, control electronics, connectors, fuel and attachments that are needed to complete the power system.

The system should be capable of producing an average of 20 watts of electrical power for at least 96 hours.

Power generation has been undergoing a revolution as new technologies such as fuel cells, which combine oxygen and hydrogen in an electrochemical process, are being developed to supplement or replace bulkier and heavier technologies.

The challenge is to get those newer technologies to the level of durability and dependability of the older technologies.

A final “wear-off” competition, which will take place in fall 2008, will test wearable prototype systems that meet DOD’s targets. The department will award three prizes: $1 million for first place, $500,000 for second place and $250,000 for third place.

A public information forum to provide potential competitors with technical details and information on the competition will be held in September in the Washington area. All competition participants must register by Nov. 30.

I'm thinking seriously about leaving my job and going after this one for the cruising kitty.
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