Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-04-2021, 15:05   #1
Registered User
 
Orin's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Anacortes, Washington
Boat: Ta Shing - Baba 35
Posts: 117
Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

Hey All!
I am weighing all of my options here for power.
I will begin to get actual measurements for the purpose of figuring out total battery bank capacity and whatever energy deficit I have.

Being that the boat I am getting is rather small, there is very little space in which a generator can be added.

I have 3 options that look very appealing to make up this deficit and would like thoughts on them.

Option 1: Traditional 2.2kW Honda Genset, gas, 4-stroke.
-Supplies all my energy needs in about an hour a day.

Option 2:Existing 100A alternator on mains
-I personally don't want the engine hours or use type (not loaded) on engine or accompanying maintenance.

Option 3: Methanol Fuel Cell
Sounds great(quiet etc), except it would take 18 hours (and a larger battery bank) to meet my needs. Excess capacity is rather low because I can only run it another 6 hours.

Small generator would be like $3/day to run, mains around $2, and the fuel cell around $15.

Do you think there's any point in considering the fuel cell? I would really like my peace and quiet, at least on some days. I think it would be hazardous if it spilled methanol all over our cabin for any reason?

Has anyone used one of these? I am not sure how new they are, just saw them on fishery supply's website.
__________________
- Hoping for filled sails and an empty calendar.
Cheers to the day I see your sails on the horizon!
Orin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-04-2021, 15:20   #2
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 15,327
Images: 14
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orin View Post
Do you think there's any point in considering the fuel cell? .
Nope.

Just buy the Honda, it will run without a hitch for a decade which is why market traders use them all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orin View Post
I would really like my peace and quiet, at least on some days. I think it would be hazardous if it spilled methanol all over our cabin for any reason?

Has anyone used one of these? I am not sure how new they are, just saw them on fishery supply's website.
Patrick Laine on You Tube has one and has commented on it a few times. Seems to like it but very low power and costly.

Pete
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-04-2021, 19:42   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Wherever we please, GOM
Boat: 46 ft cutter
Posts: 167
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

How many solar panels do you have already? Do you have space to add more? No re-fueling, no moving parts (unless you aim them at the sun) and they are amazingly quiet during operation.
PirateGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2021, 02:46   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
GordMay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 41,880
Images: 241
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

They look pretty expensive for 75Watt maximum [descending] output.
https://www.fisheriessupply.com/mari...ell-generators

EFOY 150 + EFOY Li 105
EFOY fuel cells are based on DMFC (Direct Methanol Fuel Cell) technology. They convert chemical energy into electrical energy without interim stages and without much loss of efficiency. The methanol in the fuel cartridge is supplemented by oxygen from the air, and is used to produce electricity. In addition to power, all this creates is waste heat and water vapour with little carbon dioxide ...
https://www.my-efoy.com/en/efoy-fuel.../how-it-works/
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2021, 10:29   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: BC
Boat: O'Day 40
Posts: 791
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

Special fuel at a "special" price.

Look at the cost per kilowatt first.
__________________
Trying to make new mistakes.
bcboomer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2021, 14:36   #6
Registered User
 
SailingFan's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Florida
Boat: Hunter 27, 1978
Posts: 515
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

At $4,600 (US) for the fuel processing system, PLUS another 60+ dollars per 2.5ish gallons (US) of methanol to run it lightly for a few weeks, PLUS another bit for starter fluid (specifically for this unit) AND additional for piping, hardware, controller, shipping costs, etc., I would save a CRAP TON (relatively speaking) of cash and just get the Honda for 3 grand or better, the Harbor Freight similar unit that may be a hair louder but not by much than the Honda for a load less cash even still.

You get more and faster power with a generator, more universal availability of fuel, and parts and maintenance for the actual fossil-fuel generator will be far lower cost than just feeding the other far more costly unit.

You could instead use solar as well, or in addition to the generator, even a smaller generator, and have far more power and with more ease than those methanol units. The solar is lower cost by far, even if you add the generator to it, and then use the solar passively for whatever you get (likely more than that methanol unit on solar alone), and use the small generator when solar is falling a bit short due to weather, time of day, etc.. I think the unit you are describing (and that I checked their website about) is more a solution looking for a problem than anything else due to the current cost issue. Now, if they can somehow mass produce to a higher extent and lower cost via scaled economy of manufacture and delivery, we can revisit this discussion with space occupied, etc. The cost difference for me is just too great to consider such a device at this price point, however. Space savings is a powerful motivator for we little-boat drivers, but not THAT powerful. I did not pay that for my boat, sails and hardware included. Maybe it is a "rich people" solution, but then they already have better options due to larger deckprint and even then more affordable solutions per kilowatt in the here and now, let alone over time. Solution in search of a problem...

My two cents (US)...
__________________
SailingFan
1978 Hunter 27
Learning by the day!
SailingFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2021, 16:32   #7
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Minnesota
Boat: Hunter 26
Posts: 2,262
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

The efoy system is fantastic in many respects except its overall cost (supplies plus capital costs which are high due to short operating life).


It makes sense if you're going to use it rarely. I'll leave the very straightforward arithmetic up to you.
__________________
Never ascribe to wisdom that which is adequately explained by good luck.
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-04-2021, 16:34   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Temporarily in Colorado, Annapolis to Maine this summer, points south for winter
Boat: Antares 44i
Posts: 535
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

Solar. Clean, quiet, lots of options and can be quite inexpensive if DIY. Unless you are at high latitude solar should probably be #1 on your list for electric power production.
dougweibel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2021, 04:01   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Annapolis, MD
Boat: Gozzard, 44CC, 50'
Posts: 417
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

Have you thought about adding a wind generator? Zero carbon foot print and some are really quiet. Just a thought.
Scrimshaw4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2021, 05:18   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 126
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

I have been looking into this in detail on my current boat and it totally depends upon how you intend to use the boat.

Unless you are going to live aboard full-time with lots of power-hungry devices, or intend on going diesel electric on propulsion in the near future, a built in diesel generator is not worth the money. Bare in mind that in Europe and similar places they are literally banning the sale of new ICE personal vehicles from 2025-35 depending on country. This severely bites into the payback potential on any investment in new diesel onboard in Europe.

Portable gasoline generators are noisy, difficult to use underway, a PITA to store, and require active management. They might be worth it as a budget solution for a limited duration sabbatical trip, but only if you love the noise of gasoline engines.

The new 150i EFOY can deliver 1.8kWh a day, if running 24/7 which is more than most sailors need. But if you do that then you will eat through the units working life expectancy at the rate of 1% every 2 days! As they cost 5000+ euros to start with it is an expensive solution even for a sabbatical trip (I worked out that the unit would be nearly dead after my planed sabbatical atlantic circuit), and totally outrageous for a live aboard.

Solar is great and works well on catamarans, but is difficult to do well on monohulls without adding an arch at the back of your boat. Doing that significantly adds to the cost of doing solar. I looked into it and in Sweden the cost of getting an arch made and fitted was going to make the diesel generator look cheap in comparison (10-15000 euros). Even doing something off the peg and cheap like sun bar was going to be around 4-5000 euro fitted. That might be worth the investment if your home berth has no shore power, or if you are living aboard and don't mind the extra windage and aesthetic hit, but for a sabbatical cruise or normal holiday cruising its simply not worth it IMHO. Add to this that present cell tech is going to be obsolete in about 5 years once multilayered cells hit the market (toward 50% efficiency) and it makes investing in substantial solar questionable for all except those who really are heading off into the blue for a very long time in the very near future.

I also looking into hydropower but there one has the problem that you only sail 5-10% of the time you are aboard when living aboard and the things tend to have all sorts of issues with weed and deployment, particularly in the sarragosa sea, which is where I will be sailing.

Wind generators also have limitations. They require care in handling and maintenance and they produce surprising little power. I need about 1,5kWh a day when sailing and about half that when just sitting. To keep me charged a wind generator needs to supply 60W on average which the silent wind 12V unit requires 14kns apparent to do. For western Europe and Caribbean cruising, and with a sufficiently large battery bank to buffer for the occasional lull, this is just about workable, but if you are in climes without something like the gulf stream or trade winds then you are going to be disappointed with a wind generator.

So again, it all depends on where you are and what you are doing.

If I were going to travel all over the world with a traditional diesel auxiliary monohull without too many toys, then I would fit an arch and put lots of solar on it and perhaps also a wind generator. I would do the same on a catamaran though now you can also have lots of toys.

If I were living aboard with lots of toys on a monohull or going diesel electric on propulsion and the galley, then I would fit a diesel generator and maybe a few panels for backup.

If I were cruising for a fixed period of time (say a year), then it would be toss up between fitting pole mounted wind and solar, or a fuel cell. Which would depend on multiple factors but mainly on what you will need once you return. If you just going to use the boat for normal holiday cruising and the odd weekend after the big trip and have shore power at your home mooring and in the environs, then a fuel cell is probably the easiest thing to live with albeit at about twice the price of the wind generator and panels over the years. Over the sabbatical you will have run through much of the cell's working life, but enough will be left in it to give you some boosts on the rare occasions where you haven't been able to charge your batteries by shore power or engine and it won't be cluttering the lines of your dock queen, or bothering the neighbours. If you ever decide to up and go again for another sabbatical, you just replace the unit. If, on the other hand, you don't have ready access to shore power where you cruise or at the home mooring, then the wind and solar option on a pole is a better bet on a cost benefit analysis. Both systems will get the average cruiser around the pond so long as you are reasonable in what you ask of them, but they meet different needs once you return.

If you are just holiday cruising with the occasional weekend tossed in over the year and have shore power on the home mooring and in the environs, then you don't really need anything over and above a good battery bank and reasonable alternator on the engine. A 300Ah lithium bank will last you a good few days between charges, and you will recharge at around 60-120A per hour off the engine, or better off shore power.

If you are just holiday cruising with the occasional weekend tossed in over the year and you don't have shore power on the home mooring, and in a region where there isn't much shore power available, then you will need some combination of wind and solar to keep your batteries charged, but you won't need much.

Under no circumstances would I ever do a portable petrol generator. There are just better options out there.

That's my two cents
Na Mara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2021, 12:43   #11
Registered User

Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 3
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

I just purchased a Bluetti 2000P solar Generator. It weighs about 60 pounds and uses LifePo4 Batteries. I charged it and then tested it on my truck camper first. It ran everything. A 13,500 air conditioner, a 5 cubic foot refer, a microwave, water pump, heater, etc. I studied the matter on U tube first. I wanted a generator no bigger than my gas powered Westinghouse 2000i. It had to run everything on my boat, a MacGregor 26x, my Palamino 5901 camper, and a cabin, interchangeably. It accepts 700 watts of solar but I only need 400 to keep things going. Best portable solar power station out there with a built in pure sine wave inverter delivering 4k of surge, 2.5 k timed, and 2 k constant. Fits anywhere!
Attitude1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2021, 12:52   #12
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Victoria B.C.
Boat: CS27
Posts: 2,632
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingFan View Post
.....PLUS another bit for starter fluid (specifically for this unit) AND additional for piping, hardware, controller, shipping costs, etc.,

You could instead use solar as well.....
They do not need starter fluid. The controller and all else needed is included.

They are expensive but can be a good choice for some. Each jug of methanol supplies just under 1000 AH. They only run when needed, do not continue to float the battery bank.

I agree that solar is a good choice, and my first choice in most cases. Hard to argue with solar's lifespan, lack of maintenance as there are no moving parts, and of course quietness.

The problem with a generator, or using the engine to charge is you will never get the batteries fully charged unless you run for about 6 hours. Batteries will have a short life if not fully charged regularly.
mitiempo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2021, 13:30   #13
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 15,327
Images: 14
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Na Mara View Post
I looked into it and in Sweden the cost of getting an arch made and fitted was going to make the diesel generator look cheap in comparison (10-15000 euros). Even doing something off the peg and cheap like sun bar was going to be around 4-5000 euro fitted. That might be worth the investment if your home berth has no shore power, or if you are living aboard and don't mind the extra windage and aesthetic hit, but for a sabbatical cruise or normal holiday cruising its simply not worth it IMHO. Add to this that present cell tech is going to be obsolete in about 5 years once multilayered cells hit the market (toward 50% efficiency) and it makes investing in substantial solar questionable for all except those who really are heading off into the blue for a very long time in the very near future.
Wow, Sweden looks expensive, but it needn't be. A custom arch in the UK is about £1000 for a basic set up. It would almost pay to sail across to the UK to have it made and fitted. Equally even if current solar panels are obsolete large ordinary Chinese panels are now so cheap it makes sense to fit and benefit from the power generated. For example an ordinary 300w solar panel is now £100 in the UK. a panel with 50% efficiency sounds great, but like the existing panels, they aren't going to be cheap for some years after they become available.

I am not suggesting you buy these, but £45 for a used 310w solar panel and there are 74 if you want to import them. Almost worth sending a van at that price.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...1-124d24438b75

We did sell our Honda after fitting solar, but miss out on the ability to have mains power for heating water and mains gadgets, until now. However they do provide a single easy to use solution and at £1000 cheap too.

Pete
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2021, 13:44   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 126
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

It's the only running when needed thing, and the minimal impact on the lines and functioning of the boat on deck that attract me to a fuel cell over solar and/or wind. Cost wise though I don't think they are actually as expensive as people think when everything is accounted for.

For instance, a solar rig capable of delivering the same kind of daily power (1.8kWh) would need to be about 600W and you will only get that kind of rig on a monohull with an arch. Add in the cost of that arch, the controllers and so forth and you are a couple of times the cost of the EFOY150 unit (I recently found one for sale at 3000 euro). The 5000 hr lifespan of the fuel cell and the fuel cost is a problem only if you are heavily using the unit in a longterm live aboard scenario. Otherwise, if you have regular access to shore power, and only need the cell infrequently on the move or at anchor, it is great as a backup power source that will work under any circumstances. Better yet, if the entire unit fails, its plug and play so you just buy a new one and drop it in. Hell, if you are really worried about securing power, you could just carry a spare unit with you onboard.

As I said, I am going to have to put my money where my mouth is shortly, and at the moment I am edging toward an EFOY 150 with three EFOY 105 batteries that will also charge off the alternator. Its just a very simple an elegant system that wont be stupid over kill once my year sabbatical is over.
Na Mara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2021, 15:30   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: BC
Boat: O'Day 40
Posts: 791
Re: Thought on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Generation?

For the price of the fuel cell alone you could have 600 watts of solar and not have to spend $10 a day on fuel. (assuming 1800 watts per day consumption)
At the end of your sabbatical you would still have a valuable asset for future use.
I haven't looked into it for a few years because the whole thing seems like too much money for too little return, but where in the Sargasso Sea will you replenish your special fuel?
__________________
Trying to make new mistakes.
bcboomer is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
fuel, fuel cell

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Efoy video (methanol fuel cell) rsn48 Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 31 31-07-2019 07:42
International Cell Phone Hack - no cell phone minutes or texts bill, just data... skipgundlach Our Community 14 21-03-2016 16:33
Diesel Fuel Tank vs Portable Diesel Fuel Cell GaryMayo Engines and Propulsion Systems 11 13-11-2012 16:47
Max Power Marine Fuel Cell CaptainK Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 6 20-05-2006 16:06

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:35.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.