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Old 20-10-2014, 15:22   #106
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I agree. We own a honda generator, it was $1K and it takes up deck space because we do not have room for a below-deck generator.

We have room to install the efoy in a locker so it frees up deck space and improves safety. I could get rid of the wind generator because it really never produces as many amps per day as the smallest of the efoy, opening up more space and improving the looks of the boat.

However, in the real world, cost is a consideration. $3900 is lot of money.
exactly, plus the efoy comes on automatically. I wouldnt want my gasoline generator starting when I wasn't there!

Yes it is quite a chunk of change for the unit.
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Old 20-10-2014, 15:27   #107
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

Hi - I used an eFoy 80 on an Express 27 while sailing from sf to hawaii. because the connectors to my solar panel failed, for a few days it became my primary source of power and did a great job.
I don't have an inboard.

- The methanol is super concentrated fuel, so you don't need much to get power for days on end. I still have some left over. And when it does finish off a jug it really is completely empty. The fuel itself is super cheap on a per Ah basis.
- pushed 3-4 Amp max (there are different sizes) which wouldn't keep up with an AP in heavier winds but great in the lighter stuff
- what I LOVE about the eFoy is that a) it is quiet and most importantly b) you don't have to do anything. It just starts when it needs to start and stops when it needs to stop. You just monitor methanol level by one look at the control panel maybe once a day or once every couple of days given that it doesn't really consume it really fast. and c) it is extraordinarily light (compared to say a generator of equal power) and d) you have it set up below so you can use it in any kind of weather, whereas a portable generator takes some special set up in wet unstable weather.

I'd certainly recommend it as a strong consideration for a source of power, be it a primary or a secondary (like in my case)

It is expensive though, (the fuel costs nothing afterwards) so cost/benefit worth thinking over.
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Old 20-10-2014, 15:33   #108
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

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Nimble,

The question I have (and seriously I have no idea) is what's the power density of the EFoy versus the lithium bank? My guess is that for most purposes the lithium would work ok, but if you are going to be away from the dock for long periods of time the fuel cell starts to look better and better.

I don't see these as a replacement for batteries, but as a replacement for, or in addition to a solar array. You will still need batteries to load balance so charging works most efficiently.
According to efoys literature ( http://www.usmarineproducts.com/pdf/efoy_catalog_en.pdf )

the fuel weighs 8.4kg = 268 kg of batteries "a pallet" of batteries.

Again, so far, this year it cost me 60 bucks for fuel. even if it doubled or tripled, I would be fine with it. The cost of not having to lug ice to the boat is priceless!!

It is not a battery replacement. It can replace solar, or augment it, if you have it already.

If you are at a dock, and will be at docks regularly, and use your boats engine daily and can charge the batteries by other means, then go for it. we spend a lot of time with the sails up, and are always at a mooring or anchor. Have only been to a dock twice in 6 years with our boat, so shore charging is not an option.

In my mind, the fuel cartridge is potential energy of like 50 fully charged batteries (unsure of the math, but you get the idea)

Even if I had solar on the boat, I would still consider the efoy, as a good addition to the system. Not a lot of weight, a lot of stored energy, out of the weather.. No downsides besides cost.
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Old 20-10-2014, 17:06   #109
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

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Originally Posted by nimblemotors View Post
The main advantage of the fuel cell is that it is QUIET.
And its smaller, lighter, cheaper (when you include installation costs), and requires no through hulls, no service parts... am I missing something? Its a great alternative to a generator for a small boat that can't fit a generator, doesn't want to carry a honda on the deck, and doesn't have room for large solar arrays, but still has a large fridge.

For example, my neighbor right now is a westsail 32. Pretty much any boat under 40 feet, this becomes a viable technology.

I wonder... can you use this device to equalize your batteries? Run it overnight on 5 to 8 amps with a high voltage... certainly better than running my honda all day.
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Old 21-10-2014, 02:35   #110
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

Hi Paul,

I have been following your post with great interest. This summer I spent ten weeks aboard my boat and looked at all sorts of ways of keeping our power, fridge, plotters and lights working.

Like most modern boats we are power hungry. Even just under sail we are using around three to four amps - Sea Talk navigation systems are a great concept except everything has to be swithced on... In my case turn off the auto pilot and you lose GPS. No GPS, no plotter, etc, etc.

I looked at installing a Genset but was quoted over €10k and then there is the noise. I looked at solar, which for me would require a stainless steel arch... Quote €2.5k and not very pretty.

Hook up to the electric in harbours I visit will set you back around €10 a day... If they have electric on the quay and if you can find a spare outlet to plug into that is.

Keeping the fridge topped up with 6 x 1ltr bottles of frozen water (to help reduce the load) €6 a time.

Twice in those ten weeks our ice ran out and the batteries were more than a bit low so we had to dump suspect perishable food!

There is no easy (cheap) solution other than to do without.

Next year I will be adding around 100 watts of solar panels (in the only deck space I can use) which might just about keep up with the navigation system and I think you have made up my mind - An EFOY too.

Apart from the initial outlay the running costs are not prohibitive. If I use three canisters of fuel that wold equate to buying three extra mextas (Greek brandy) a week!

Thanks for your very informative posts.

Now if only someone would have a cannister of EFOY methanol tested to see if there is any difference between that and the cheap stuff!!!
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Old 21-10-2014, 04:46   #111
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

I am glad some forum members are interested in the fuel cell install and get the purpose of it.

I went through all the logic previously mentioned. With what the efoy puts out, i would need to cover every square inch of deck with panels which would, cosmetically, look horrific, and work poorly at night when I need the power the most.

went through the idea of getting a small honda generator..then got to carry fuel.. deal with it in the rain..the noise.. the exhaust..even the mounting of the generator (can't be below deck) and its (very unsafe) fuel. I already have to deal with hearing other boater's generators at anchor.. cant imagine running one on our boat!! Plus i would never want it starting unattended.

all roads led to a logical, albeit expensive, solution. But the money you spend on the unit would normally go to fabrication of expensive stainless brackets, possibly professional installation, etc. Not saying its wash.. just that the efoy is a stupid easy installation - few screws, 2 power wires and 2 sense wires. done. If you can fit a small carry-on on your boat, you can fit a efoy and have virtually unlimited, safe, quiet power.

Wish it would take off and be more popular here in the US.. bring down the price as technology improves, more outlets for fuel, etc.
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Old 21-10-2014, 06:33   #112
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

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Originally Posted by Alenka View Post
Now if only someone would have a cannister of EFOY methanol tested to see if there is any difference between that and the cheap stuff!!!
Probably nothing special at all about the methanol in the EFOY containers. For several years I worked for a company that produced ultra high purity laboratory chemicals, including methanol. We found that the bulk product direct from the big producers usually met lab standards right out of the tank. The lots that did not meet our standards the differences were very small, in the ppm range and generally only of interest in lab testing, biotech applications and similar.

My only concern would be the possible sensitivity to water of the EFOY. Methanol is pretty hygroscopic (absorbs water easily, even from humidity in the air) and the commercial stuff, if not packaged and handled carefully could be a lot higher in moisture than EFOY containers. Might be worthwhile to contact EFOY to ask about moisture sensitivity.

FYI methanol is currently about $1.50/gallon, if you buy 7000 gallons in tank truck.

I found a 5 gallon container of commercial methanol online for about $100 delivered in the US. Considering the small quantity of methanol the EFOY uses I would probably just buy their ready to attach container.
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Old 21-10-2014, 07:05   #113
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

The biggest stumbling block for the cruisers I've quoted with an eFoy was the 5000 hour service life (fuel cost per Ah too). It is the minimal current output that is the deal killer. With only 4A - 7.5A this drives how many hours it needs to run.

Based on output per day my cruising customers would be running these any where from 10/7/365 to 24/7/365. With large solar arrays or wind some days it might be less than 10 hours of eFoy but everyone so far looking for a quote had a deficit that would result in 10-24 hours per day use.

When I lay out the math for them:

24/7/365 = 208 days use
18/7/365 = 277 days use
10/7/365 =500 days use

I really like and want to install one of these devices but I have to lay out all the economics when I quote these units as I try to be as honest as I can with my customers. I don't like surprises and neither do my customers. Even at 10 hours per day that is just 500 days of use or just 1.4 years....

For a coastal cruiser, with minimal deficit, they can make more sense, if you can absorb the initial sticker shock, but I would always try and install one as a secondary or tertiary source just as I do with wind. This would minimize run time hours and maximize the service life.

I have many customers with solar systems exceeding 15 years use (panels that have been gone for 10+ years such as Siemans etc.) with 44K plus charging hours. That is 8.8 eFoy service lives so it becomes pretty critical that these are not intended as a primary charge source for a full time cruiser....

P.S. Paul/Phantom it was great chatting with you at the Newport show to get a real world perspective. As I mentioned I have quoted a number of eFoy's but not found that perfect fit, yet....
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Old 21-10-2014, 07:14   #114
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

Was not aware of the 5000 hour service life. So what happens at 5000 hours? Is the unit a throw away or do you have to send it back to Germany for an overhaul? If so, at what cost?

For a product that's already pretty expensive this could be the final deal breaker.
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Old 21-10-2014, 07:30   #115
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

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Was not aware of the 5000 hour service life. So what happens at 5000 hours? Is the unit a throw away or do you have to send it back to Germany for an overhaul? If so, at what cost?

For a product that's already pretty expensive this could be the final deal breaker.
I have been told, direct from eFoy, that the cost to re-build makes it better to just replace the unit. The unit does not just die at 5000 hours but the likelihood of a failure increases pretty dramatically around the 5000 hour mark.. You could get 7k but who is to know....? All I can base it on is the companies own recommendations.
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Old 21-10-2014, 07:37   #116
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
I have been told, direct from eFoy, that the cost to re-build makes it better to just replace the unit. The unit does not just die at 5000 hours but the likelihood of a failure increases pretty dramatically around the 5000 hour mark.. You could get 7k but who is to know....? All I can base it on is the companies own recommendations.
Thats interesting... is there an internal catalyst like platinum?
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Old 21-10-2014, 08:01   #117
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
The biggest stumbling block for the cruisers I've quoted with an eFoy was the 5000 hour service life (fuel cost per Ah too). It is the minimal current output that is the deal killer. With only 4A - 7.5A this drives how many hours it needs to run.

Based on output per day my cruising customers would be running these any where from 10/7/365 to 24/7/365. With large solar arrays or wind some days it might be less than 10 hours of eFoy but everyone so far looking for a quote had a deficit that would result in 10-24 hours per day use.

When I lay out the math for them:

24/7/365 = 208 days use
18/7/365 = 277 days use
10/7/365 =500 days use

I really like and want to install one of these devices but I have to lay out all the economics when I quote these units as I try to be as honest as I can with my customers. I don't like surprises and neither do my customers. Even at 10 hours per day that is just 500 days of use or just 1.4 years....

For a coastal cruiser, with minimal deficit, they can make more sense, if you can absorb the initial sticker shock, but I would always try and install one as a secondary or tertiary source just as I do with wind. This would minimize run time hours and maximize the service life.

I have many customers with solar systems exceeding 15 years use (panels that have been gone for 10+ years such as Siemans etc.) with 44K plus charging hours. That is 8.8 eFoy service lives so it becomes pretty critical that these are not intended as a primary charge source for a full time cruiser....

P.S. Paul/Phantom it was great chatting with you at the Newport show to get a real world perspective. As I mentioned I have quoted a number of eFoy's but not found that perfect fit, yet....
with anything, it has to fit the boaters needs. So far it fits mine. Last I looked mine ran 150 or so hours this season, even if it doubles next year, The life of the product should be reasonable. It seems when it comes on, it doesn't stay on for long.

That is the cost to me for having cold drinks and not have to lug a metric ton of ice to the boat!

For larger banks, you can always install more than 1 efoy with their controller as well, in addition to solar and other technologies.

My SWAG in amp hour usage is very low compared to what the efoy can put out.

Power isn't free! got to weigh cost/weight/flexibility/risk/noise/service with every install. working for me, but YMMV. To me cosmetics was #1, but from the look of other boats, that is way down the list! I thought we were power hogs, but I guess if you had a lot more crap on your boat, and far larger battery banks to charge, then the efoy would be next to useless. Isn't a one-size-fits all device for sure. if you are live-aboards or fulltime cruisers, then, no doubt it will be taxed more than I am doing it.

But so far, for my one season (march - October) test, used less than one container of methanol, it seems to be a good fit in my application. I am thrilled!

No doubt in time the technology will improve and get more energy out and lower the cost.. but for now, it is working for me.

See you at the next boat show!
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Old 21-10-2014, 08:15   #118
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

Well if I had unlimited boat bucks the EFOY would be cool.

No solar panels hanging off the boat, no wind charger to make noise or worry about when a gale blows through, small footprint so can fit in a small locker somewhere, almost totally silent. Except for the cost, what's not too like?

The 210 would supply most if not all of my 12V power requirements, even the AP on passages. Just have to shell out $7000 every 12-18 months for a new unit.
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Old 21-10-2014, 08:35   #119
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

For me the whole thing is about convenience.

These units cost about 3,500 here in the uk, less than half the price I have been quoted for having a genset fitted. Equally, I am not convinced that a genset would last much above 5,000 hours of use.

Don't get me wrong I still think they are expensive and my next task is to find some camper or boat show where they are on offer for 2,999... That price has a much better ring to it!
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Old 21-10-2014, 08:57   #120
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Re: E FOY Fuel Cell Generator

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Well if I had unlimited boat bucks the EFOY would be cool.

No solar panels hanging off the boat, no wind charger to make noise or worry about when a gale blows through, small footprint so can fit in a small locker somewhere, almost totally silent. Except for the cost, what's not too like?

The 210 would supply most if not all of my 12V power requirements, even the AP on passages. Just have to shell out $7000 every 12-18 months for a new unit.
What is the power solution in this case? I can't imagine consuming that much power to force the efoy 15-24 hours a day. Boggles my mind! For the amount of power the 210 puts out, you would need a lot of panels, especially up north, and hope for sunny weather! gasoline generator? diesel generator? run the motor? I don't know, we don't consume even 10% of that kind of power draw running the AP, plotter, vhf, WSDT sensors, radar, lights and computer. Probably using 10% of the capacity of the 1600 model (or 140 - current similar model).

I guess we are not such power hogs as I first thought!! I mean its a sailboat, not the space shuttle!

If someone is going to outrun (or close to it) the efoy, then, obviously other technology needs to be used. That would be out of scope for what it was designed for.
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