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Old 03-07-2014, 00:38   #1
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Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

Anybody familiair with this Hydromax system or similar fuel cell charger systems >

Dynad International BV | Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

HYDROMAX 150
Maximum Power 180 W
Nominal Power 150 W
Loading Current Lead-acid: 13,8 V
GEL: 14.6 V
AGM: 14.8 V
Loading capaciteit / day 3600Wh/day


How many square feet (average) solar panel would equal this power capacity ?
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:04   #2
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Standard procedure for estimating solar panel output for 24 hours is maximum output for 6 hours so that's a 600 watt array. I didn't even click on the website because the fuel costs for fuel cells are ridiculous. you'd be much better off buying solar panels if you have the room. JMHO
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:45   #3
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

While racing and cruising are two very different things, I thought I would add this tidbit to the discussion. A boat, Elise, currently participating in the Singlehanded TransPac is making use of an EFOY fuel cell set up. Apparently the EFOY isn't keeping up with power needs, with the autopilot being the single largest consumer of power.

Elise in Squall Country Earlier than Expected | Singlehanded TransPac

At this point, I don't believe a fuel cell system is ready for prime time as a solar alternative.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:49   #4
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

If you want to compare theoretical capacity then, depending on the efficiency of the solar cells, a 150 Watt panel might be 3' x 5' or +/- 15 sq ft. However as Sparrowhawk points out, that capacity is max and only available for so many hours in a day, fewer in winter and also in northern latitudes.

Theoretically fuel can be cheap. One cell discussed in another thread, the E Foy uses methanol for fuel. Even very pure, reagent grade methanol in small quantities is only a few dollars per gallon. But the E Foy requires you to use some kind of fuel cartridge to fit in their unit that was about 10 times more expensive. Kind of like ink jet printers. The ink is only a few cents but the cartridge to fit your printer might be $20-$30.

The Hydromax fuel, who knows. Their web site is pretty vague and ambiguous. The fuel is listed as: a salty solution and fresh water and apple acid. Does not say what kind of salt so could be regular NaCl (table salt) or some exotic metallic salt. A solution and fresh water? But a solution could be aqueous IE salt in water so you add more water??? Then apple acid? There are a number of acids in various quantities in an apple including citric acid, malic acid, ascorbic acid, linoleic acid, linoleic acid, etc.

Bottom line for me, fuel cells are a very expensive way to add extra DC power to a boat. They may be clean, reliable, convenient, compact and more but not cheap.

If your main criteria is the convenience and cost doesn't matter a fuel cell could be great. Before buying I would check not just the cost but also availability of the fuel. If it is some exotic blend in a special cartridge I would make really certain the company will be around for a long time to supply the fuel or I would make sure I could mix up my own.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:31   #5
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

A little further digging on the Hydromax web site I find that the fuel is a salt solution and malic acid. From the context it does seem to be regular table salt so the fuels are NaCl and C4H6O5, both safe and certainly cheap.

Salt is cheap as dirt and regular food grade malic acid wholesale about $1.30/lb. If the cell takes a very pure grade and buying smaller quantities it could go up to $5-$10/lb. Depending on the quantity required that still is not expensive.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:54   #6
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I just assumed it was either alcohol or propane powered. My bad. So I went to the website and downloaded the manual but I can't open it. the website also doesn't link you to the YouTube videos so I did a search on YouTube and didn't find much
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:53   #7
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

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Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
I just assumed it was either alcohol or propane powered. My bad. So I went to the website and downloaded the manual but I can't open it. the website also doesn't link you to the YouTube videos so I did a search on YouTube and didn't find much
I had assumed the same. Navigating the web site was a bit awkward but finally did find a couple of very vague references to the fuel. I did find the English version of the manual and got it to open. The one I found was an Adobe .pdf file.

It showed the back of the unit with three connections labeled on the unit itself: fuel in, additive in, exhaust out. The text in the manual next to these said: Fuel In: Hydrofuel, Malic Acid Solution In, Exhaust Fluid Out.

About the fuel the manual says

Fill the fuel tanks with drinking water till 5 cm from the top and shake the tanks till all the solid part are dissolved. The tank with the
Hydrofuel in solid state will warm up during the dissolving of the solids.

Since NaCl does not generate heat when dissolving in water the salt must be something a bit more exotic.

The whole fuel cell concept is very interesting and wouldn't mind adding one to the boat but the cost not in my boat budget.
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Old 03-07-2014, 12:01   #8
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Yes the bottom line is how much does the unit cost and how much is the fuel to run it
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Old 03-07-2014, 14:21   #9
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

Exactly, system uses a mixture of water, some salt and apple acid.
I sent a query to one of the dealers about the cost of these.
Retail price is about 3K Euro
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Old 03-07-2014, 14:33   #10
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

Doesn't a fuel cell need a catalyzer and the fuel still has to be hydrogen no? The Saltwater mix is just the electrolyte.

Maybe this from wikipedia:

Like SOFCs, MCFCs are capable of converting fossil fuel to a hydrogen-rich gas in the anode, eliminating the need to produce hydrogen externally. The reforming process creates CO
2 emissions. MCFC-compatible fuels include natural gas, biogas and gas produced from coal.

Here is another:

http://www.horizonfuelcell.com/#!aquigen-180/c5dy
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Old 03-07-2014, 16:52   #11
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

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Originally Posted by Vronsky View Post
Exactly, system uses a mixture of water, some salt and apple acid.
I sent a query to one of the dealers about the cost of these.
Retail price is about 3K Euro
I think it will be very important to know the price of the fuel. It could be cheap or expensive.

For example, what kind of salt. There are many different kinds of chemical salts, not just the kind you eat which is sodium chloride NaCl. The company website says when you mix the salt powder with water it generates heat. Normal edible salt does not generate heat when mixed with water.

Also, what they call apple acid is not really a correct technical name. I think from reading the web site that this is malic acid which is found also in grapes and other fruits.
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Old 03-07-2014, 19:01   #12
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

I was doing the calculations on the Hydromax... if you look at the charger as being a trickle charger (like our wind gen) and assume only 30 amps a day charge, you would go through about 45 gallons of fuel a year. When you look at it that way, its not so bad.

It seems to me that a honda generator is a much better value.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:57   #13
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

Anybody know fuel usage per hour (salt, water, and acid)? I sent an email to them on this. We also need to know the concentration of the acid and salt. I agree their site is vague at best.


Greg S/V Sweet Dreams
Pearson P385 out of Racine Wisconsin
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:19   #14
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Re: Hydromax 150 fuel cell charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I was doing the calculations on the Hydromax... if you look at the charger as being a trickle charger (like our wind gen) and assume only 30 amps a day charge, you would go through about 45 gallons of fuel a year. When you look at it that way, its not so bad.

It seems to me that a honda generator is a much better value.
The Honda is certainly much cheaper in initial cost, roughly 1/4 the cost of the Hydromax, approximately USD$1000 vs $4000.

If you use the Honda to charge batteries through a regular charger, making some very rough assumptions on losses from heat, power factor of the charger, etc but for simplicity looking just at the DC amps produced by the charger the cost in fuel will be very roughly $0.01/amp hour.

The Hydromax produces DC output directly so none of the conversion losses. Would be very interesting to learn the fuel costs.

But the attraction of a fuel cell is not cost (I'm so good at stating the obvious) but the fact that it is small, silent, assuming reliable since there are no moving parts, easy installation (no exhaust, no gasoline). If they weren't so expensive I would buy one in a minute.
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:35   #15
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The YouTube video has it at 54 decibels
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