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  #1  
Old 01-25-2013
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Fuel Cell

Anyone use this, looks interesting.
Fuel Cell Systems | Marine Fuel Cells
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

A friend installed one of these on his Bene 361 last year and now has a full season and a bit on it - he's very satisfied. Quiet, works whenever needed rain or shine, night or day, clean tidy installation and it uses less fuel than he expected. Ideal setup, it would seem, for our area where in certain areas sunshine is less than reliable, negating much of solar's effectiveness.

There's a fairly hefty buy-in (at the present time), but after you factor in a full solar system, arches/supports/etc the difference may not be so great. I suspect his setup ran pretty close to $8K installed..
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

These are a very cool idea. Particularly for boaters that don't want the windmill, solar panel look for don't have the room. Not sure they are ideal for the long term cruiser, but for a week or two, they seem ideal.
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
These are a very cool idea. Particularly for boaters that don't want the windmill, solar panel look for don't have the room. Not sure they are ideal for the long term cruiser, but for a week or two, they seem ideal.
The methanol fuel cannisters (about $60) are a little smaller than a jerry can, and can last up to a couple of weeks depending on demand, of course. The worry of availability once you get away from established major centers would be key.

Long term solar is obviously less expensive given you're stuck with supplying fuel to the cell forever, but in areas where the sun isn't reliable, and over winter short daylight seasons I can see the attraction of this setup.

But I doubt there's a fuel dealer in the Galapagos, for example....
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

Interesting. So you have to use their methanol? Purity issue?
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Old 01-26-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

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Originally Posted by arf145 View Post
Interesting. So you have to use their methanol? Purity issue?
Not sure about that, but I'd assume there were fuel specs that would need to be met by whomever was the supplier...
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

arf, I'd bet they follow the example of Eveready and Gillette. Give away the razor (flashlight) then sell the batteries (blades).

If you make the warranty on the fuel cell (five year life?) dependent on using only the certified methanol, you get a five year revenue stream for selling fuel. And a captive audience.

I look at fuel cells and all I see is "electrochemical battery". Nice if the energy density works out, but to me it is still just a battery that is getting recharged without all the noise or wires. Using a flammable fuel instead.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

This is a nice looking product but uses methanol and it's availability is restricted... they are working on the ethanol version which is promising and of course ethanol is more widely available even at your local hardware store!

Nick
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

I think that looks like a promising device for the near future. Imagine not having a big genny downstairs, or as pointed out, a whirring windmill, or a bunch of awkward solar panels. Or maybe the ideal installation will be a combination. I get the feeling these will be commonplace in the next few years as production ramps up and costs go down.

I don't agree with the razor marketing theory. Their fuel is terribly expensive, but the machinery is in no way cheap at this time either. Most people wouldn't use enough fuel to make the Razor marketing theory work.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Fuel Cell

Acually, Ritchard, razor blade marketing has changed. They no longer give away razors, or flashlights. Discount coupons and special bundles, yes, but no more freebies. They've found out that you can SELL the product (like the fuel cells) and still have a captive market for the refills. The Black Art of Marketing. Companies that master it in any one of many ways, make good profits. I'm sure the purity of the fuel source DOES count for something. I just get an allergic response to proprietary special solutions and bundles.
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