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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Fuel Cell
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Thread: Fuel Cell Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-07-2013 10:57 PM
hellosailor
Re: Fuel Cell

jarcher-
I didn't miss where "we" (presumably you?) said "I wait for the day..." since you didn't say that. I went back and see where you mention that you would be looking forward to the day, etc. Sure, and I still look forward to Reddy Kilowatt. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon, you might as well look forward to the day when pigs have wings, which could well come sooner.

The puddlecharger article reads like a piece of bunk. It can extend power by three watts, the article says. Except, you don't measure stored power in watts, you measure it in watt-hours and since they say one of those gadgets, at unknown price, can supply 25% of the power an iphone needs...that makes the gadget about as powerful as one or two AA batteries, which will cost a buck or two.

Right now a lot of fuel cell technology is great if you want to store potential power for long periods--but economically unfeasible. And the stuff that is feasible, needs a natural gas pipeline to feed it, and even then "feasible" is a relative term.

I don't say Wilbur will never get off the ground, I just say I'll believe it when I see it. Remember that before Wilbur took off, there were 500 years of "No really, I can fly!" Or, two thousand if you count Icarus.

David isn't looking for what might be available in five or ten or twenty years, he's looking at power sources to use now. And fuel cells, like chemlights, are a niche product right now.
05-07-2013 10:49 PM
mad_machine
Re: Fuel Cell

it was not long ago that fuelcell technology was real rocket science. As in you only ever heard about them on the Space Shuttle and other mega-million dollar vehicles. The fact that you can buy one for your boat for a few Boat Dollars says a lot
05-07-2013 10:18 PM
jarcher
Re: Fuel Cell

HelloSailor, perhaps you missed the part where we said "I wait for the day where..." You sound like the people who insisted that man would never fly.

As for fuel cells using water to make power:

Gadget uses water puddles to charge batteries | Fox News

Fuel cell technology has been around for a long time, but it has a lot of potential.
05-07-2013 04:10 PM
guitarguy56
Re: Fuel Cell

Agreed... we've spent years and billions of dollars looking for that magic power source we all want in our basements... of course we spent trillions of dollars on 'fusion energy' research since the early sixties without anything to show for it... makes me think the government just 'funds' nuclear research to keep scientists working full time... Back in the 1970's I worked at Pratt & Whitney and with DOE funds (millions) we were working on a small turbine engine that would actually fit into a car as the power source to generate electricity to run the motors of the car... where did it go... you guessed it... shelved along with all the other inventions/ideas of the time... many projects like cold fusion are still actively researched and from major universities as well as NASA and some of the other major national labs... we don't hear about them but they're there...

I hope one day to see these ideas come into fruition and we know many aren't going anywhere as long as the patents are brought out by major companies and shelved... happens all the time.

Nick
05-07-2013 03:56 PM
hellosailor
Re: Fuel Cell

Hi Nick. I know there's research under way, but research into that philosopher's stone was under way for a long time too. Doesn't mean they'll find a solution. Bulk aluminum? Lots of electricity to refine aluminum. Every year I see companies looking for investors in miracle energy research. Sometimes it takes them as long as five years to go broke, but the vast majority don't pan out.

More than five years ago the financial mags were all atwitter about a new process that uses heat and pressure to turn turkey offal and other garbage into "petroleum" and was reaedy to go commercial. Never did get past the pilot plant though, somehow that one just didn't make it. South African company with super-efficient solar panels, double the output? Took less than two years to wither up. And do you remember all the ruckus about cold fusion, which was PROVED in labs? Where'd that go? Then there are electric car companies, been at it for 125? years, and they're still going bankrupt.

Which is not to say there won't be some amazing new technology, just to say the folks from Missouri have a point: "Show me."

I'm still waiting for Reddy Kilowatt (cartoon mascot of the US nuclear industry around 1960) who promised me a hot-water-heater sized personal nuclear pile in the basement would get me off the grid and give me limitless cheap clean electric power. Still waiting. Real Soon Now.
05-07-2013 03:36 PM
guitarguy56
Re: Fuel Cell

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
j, you sound like an alchemist looking for the Philosopher's Stone.

The oceans are not full of hydrogen. The hydrogen in the oceans, like everyplace else, is very tightly bonded to other things already and ripping hydrogen out of water is fairly well known to require way more energy than you get ever get back from the hydrogen.

So far the only potential for recovering hydrogen from water is by an artificial "plant" that basically uses sunlight and photosynthesis to liberate it. That's called solar energy, and what you can get back from the hydrogen is still no more than you put into it from the sun.

Unless you're Captain Nemo...it might still be easier to harvest methanol. Of course, you'll still ruin the fuel cell unless you've got that purification equipment on board as well.

Solar? Works now. No philosopher's stone needed.
Actually this research is on its way... not too far fetched hellosailor...

"Scientists have been exploring how to best produce hydrogen from water for use as a fuel, without using electricity to do so. At Purdue University, they are looking to the sea. The chemical engineers have discovered a way to take the hydrogen from seawater using bulk aluminum and a metal alloy."

The biggest challenge for metallurgists and materials scientists is finding the proper catalyst that will do this conversion without the use of electrical input to extract the hydrogen directly from seawater...

Generating hydrogen from seawater to power boats | SmartPlanet

Nick
05-07-2013 03:10 PM
hellosailor
Re: Fuel Cell

j, you sound like an alchemist looking for the Philosopher's Stone.

The oceans are not full of hydrogen. The hydrogen in the oceans, like everyplace else, is very tightly bonded to other things already and ripping hydrogen out of water is fairly well known to require way more energy than you get ever get back from the hydrogen.

So far the only potential for recovering hydrogen from water is by an artificial "plant" that basically uses sunlight and photosynthesis to liberate it. That's called solar energy, and what you can get back from the hydrogen is still no more than you put into it from the sun.

Unless you're Captain Nemo...it might still be easier to harvest methanol. Of course, you'll still ruin the fuel cell unless you've got that purification equipment on board as well.

Solar? Works now. No philosopher's stone needed.
05-07-2013 02:34 PM
jarcher
Re: Fuel Cell

LOL, the ocean may not be full of methanol, but it is full of hydrogen...
05-07-2013 02:11 PM
hellosailor
Re: Fuel Cell

"I look forward to the day when fuel cells extract their fuel from seawater. "
I'd be very afraid to sail on an ocean that had that much methanol in it.

"Solar? Don't know much about solar on a boat. Can you use it while under way? I guess ..."
Why knoick it when you don't know anything about it?.

"This thing, on the other hand, works any time of day or night in any weather."
Aren't you forgetting something there? "This thing" requires an extensive logistics and supply network to get that special purified fuel to it. Won't work at all unless you can get the fuel. Solar? Well, you coiuld say the same thing, except the fuel deliveyr system is deployed world-wide and has a fairly high reliability rate. Only comes from one source, they have that in common, but the sun is less likely to go bankrupt or raise it's rates anytimes soon. :-)
05-07-2013 01:37 PM
SlowButSteady
Re: Fuel Cell

US Marine EFOY Methanol Fuel Cell

Quite a scam/mark-up. They sell 10 liters of methanol (about 2.5 gal) for $60. That's about $24/gal, before shipping. While a 55 gal drum of methanol goes for less than $200, or somewhere between $3.50 to $4.00/gal. Even in 5 gal containers, methanol is only $40 (or about $8/gal).
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