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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 06-25-2010
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Fuel Cell

I could not find any discussion on this here and thought it would be a topic in its own right.

Has anyone had any experience or opinion on fuel cell technology to charge batteries?

Here is a link to what I'm talking about:

Fuel Cells

From what I've read:
1. it makes no noise (generators do)
2. it requires methanol (a lot harder to get on the boat than diesel
3. it is designed to generate charge for batteries (not high voltage AC)
4. Its expensive to buy A$5500.

I see 20L of methanol costs about AUD$5 per litre to produce around 1600 amps (I'm guessing at 12v). How does this compare to a generator with a battery charger?
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Old 06-25-2010
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I don't think fuel cells are ready for prime time yet. They also have some serious disadvantages when compared to solar. Requiring yet another consumable fuel to be kept aboard means that you're limited in your charging capacity, unlike solar, which requires very little maintenance and no consumable fuel.
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Old 06-25-2010
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having used a lot of methanol in drag racing...it is very flammable, and burns almost invisibly, easily contaminated by water, and generally is hard to source. Many places will not sell it to "regular" people as it can be used to make other things.

The fuel cells require highly refined methanol which is quite pricey, if available at all from non fuel cell dealers. I don't think you can simply pour some locally derived methanol in to the "gas tank"...

The current delivery capacity is quite limited at this time...so you would likely be better off with solar/wind chargers at this time.

Future??? I would hope that development continues, but I really hate to see food products used for these purposes...as if we can simply farm our way to energy needs being met...
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