The claim that these things are emission free is bunk. At best they produce carbon dioxide and water
if they use natural gas as a fuel. The claim is that they produce electricity at twice the efficiency of conventional means. Pretty much any fuel cell
will produce electricity at twice the efficiency of a combustion method, so this is not new. It may get rid of the electrical
power grid, but will require the building of a fuel grid, unless of course you happen to be lucky enough to have a natural gas well in your back yard. I noticed all the fuels mentioned were gaseous so you won't be running these things with diesel
. His response to solar was probably theoretical rather than practical. You would probably have to generate hydrogen from solar to feed the fuel cells, and with the losses associated with the conversion steps you would probably be better off using the electricity directly. Hopefully this guy has really found a way to make cheap
electrodes. That will go a long way towards making fuel cells practical for some uses.
In a boat, it might be possible to fuel one of these things with propane
or CNG. I would suspect these things would easily be twice as efficient as a conventional generator
, mostly because a conventional generator
converts chemical energy to mechanical energy then to electrical
energy, whereas the fuel cell skips directly from chemical to Electrical. The other nice thing about fuel cells is that they typically don't have many moving parts
so they should last along time if the electrodes hold up over time.
LPG has only about 60% of the energy density per gallon as diesel, so you will need to carry almost as much LPG as diesel to go the same distance. This of course will need to be in a relatively heavy pressurized tank. This will be offset somewhat by the loss of heavy filter and pumping systems. It might be interesting getting that much fuel to the boat unless the start putting LPG pumps at the dock
. Currently I usually have to take my tanks
somewhere to get them filled. It's bad enough carrying a 20Lb tank back to the boat, let alone 60 or 70 gallons.
This thing is an interesting development, but not a panacea.