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Old 11-02-2010, 07:09   #46
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I've got an ideal location if you want to test something. On a hill 60 ft. up overlooking the Caicos Bank, in the trade winds. We have sun all day, and wind day and night. Seawater a plenty.
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:11   #47
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OK...thats some good forecasting technique.
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:27   #48
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I've got an ideal location if you want to test something. On a hill 60 ft. up overlooking the Caicos Bank, in the trade winds. We have sun all day, and wind day and night. Seawater a plenty.
Unfortunately I have to save up to afford the boat that will get me there. Some sailing courses would be prudent as well.



Otherwise I'd be on my way right now....
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:09   #49
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I posted this earlier, but no one has commented on it. So here it is again. Pricepoint is not my concern right now but seeings how we're discussing water creation and the use of electrolysis, let's add propulsion and power generation to the equation as well.

Are fuel cells poised to become a serious option for voyagers?
Technology - HB Marine
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:44   #50
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I'm afraid I don't know enough to answer inteligently...but if what they say in the article is possible...cracking the sea water to harvest the Hydrogen, to power the cell.....of course its exciting....but seems like there is still some other challenges to be "Cracked".
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:51   #51
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It depends on how you produce the hydrogen. You can make hydrogen at home. Take a AA battery and a glass of salt water. Drop the battery into the salt water and hydrogen forms at the cathode.

A fancy version is at Separate Hydrogen and Oxygen from Water Through Electrolysis

(Incidentally, the explanation is wrong. Chlorine is produced at the anode, not oxygen. Oxygen is far more electronegative than chlorine)

Salt water is not an issue and if you have solar panels, neither is electricity. Producing the hydrogen is straightforward enough, but storing it is the problem. To get enough Hydrogen to store it requires enormous pressures and that means a compressor running.

In short you could use up more energy producing and storing the hydrogen than you get back from the fuel cell. It also said (in the article) "Another element of the system is a watermaker. The electrolyzer needs pure, fresh water for making hydrogen." which is incorrect. Totally pure water is a good insulator. Pure water cannot be electrolysed as water is covalenly bonded. The addition of salt (an ionically bonded substance) helps polarise the water molecules and allows conduction of the current.

In a nutshell, the only practicable way might be to buy the hydrogen which would only work as long as it is cheaper than diesel.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:58   #52
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I'm afraid I don't know enough to answer inteligently...but if what they say in the article is possible...cracking the sea water to harvest the Hydrogen, to power the cell.....of course its exciting....but seems like there is still some other challenges to be "Cracked".
Conceptually, kind of cool. In reality...

For what MOST folks use their boats for, this might actually work, to some degree. The biggest issue with solar and wind power is "energy storage". I've said for a while that, to me, the only strong point that hydrogen fuels cells have AT ALL, is that alternative technologies can be used to create fuel (hydrogen), with excess energy. Our boats sit at the dock, with solar cells generating hydrogen (not a lot, by the way, but some). Collecting and storing it (under pressure) could get "interesting". Producing enough, will be the big challenge. As well, in big cities they can/will have hydrogen fueling stations for cars. Not so easy UNLESS your marina has a hydrogen fueling station.

As for MAKING water... Think about it. On most sailboats, the water tank is several times larger than the fuel tank. We fill our fuel tanks a couple of times a year, and our water tanks every other weekend. The water formed when combining hydrogen and oxygen will hardly make a dent in our water needs.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:20   #53
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I think their main gig was to combine the processes of watermaking and electricity production (solar and wind) with the fuel cell concept (additional water being the by-product) to allow for the use of an electric motor to replace the diesel/gasoline engine. You know, the "Green" thing. I thought it was an exceptional idea IF they can get the cost down on the cell.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:38   #54
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I was thinking of making a pig drink seawater and then collecting his sweat....


seriously, how do marine mammals maintain their biological water ratios? they don't drink fresh water, right? What percentage of a whale is fresh water........

and where did it come from?

Thats the kind of questions that come to my mind, if we are looking for a 'new' technology. The ocean is full of mammals, that are, what, 90% water, and yet they have no source of fresh water...
Pigs dont sweat as they have no sweat glands, just like dogs.

Marine critters survive in salt water by somehow filtering out the salt, maybe through kidneys, osmosis and in the case of mammals, via salt glands.

Human kidneys mimic RO membranes and also need flushing to clear the tissue of salts. Its one reason why we dehydrate when we drink coffee and alcohol
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:46   #55
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"As for MAKING water... Think about it. On most sailboats, the water tank is several times larger than the fuel tank. We fill our fuel tanks a couple of times a year, and our water tanks every other weekend. The water formed when combining hydrogen and oxygen will hardly make a dent in our water needs."

For making water, if the solar cells could power a heating element you could distill all the pure water you like. Basically you need a coffee percolator. Pour salt water into the tank and turn it on and you will get pure water in the jug. Of course you should not boil it dry as the salt would crystalise, but you get the idea.

As long as it makes more water than you use each day then you've cracked the water problem. (I wouldn't use a perc, but that is the mechanism needed)
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:50   #56
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A couple of evacuated solar thermal tubes would provide the heat source to evaporate the water. The problem would be finding a place on deck where they wouldnt get broken or damaged
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:07   #57
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I see a set-up that you would deploy when at anchor...then stow when underway.
We are ordering some of these systems for our hotel...I'm looking forward to holding one of the tubes in the sun by its expansion bulb and see how long it takes to get how hot....the specs are very promising.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:17   #58
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A word of caution James
The bulb will get very hot and its not good for the tube to do this for long
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:25   #59
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Thats what I'm hoping and expecting!
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:41   #60
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Fuel cells are expensive because of the catalyst - platinum or similar metal. Much fuel cell research is involved in reducing the cost by finding a cheap catalyst. If you can find that you will be very rich!
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