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Thoughts on this fuel cell.

Thoughts on this fuel cell.

Thoughts on this fuel cell.

I was shown this by a friend/engineer and recognize it as one of those items that seems really 'cool' at first glance but then others can point out pluses and minuses that never crossed one's mind.

This is an apparently quasi popular fuel cell system a lot of vehicle camper types use successfully.

I'm not sure I like the dependance on "packaged fuel". I haven't figured out the efficiency yet either. Looking at the 105W unit it appears it would run for about 4 days(24hr) on 2.6gal of fuel.

My first response is to compare it to solar panels but that's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. Fuel/no-fuel. Then to a generator which is a better comparison, more like an apple(Gravenstein) to apple(Red Delicious), based more around the exhaust chemicals mix and noise/vibration.

I was shown this in light of a camper build-out but thought about specifying it for use in some field instrumentation/control scenarios.

Any thoughts or discussion welcomed.


I believe the smallest one (40W) sells for about $3.5K...

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Thoughts on this fuel cell.

For a camper, some solar panels on the roof and a lead acid deep cycle battery would functionally replace this. Then with the nearly $3000 left over, one could have a nice vacation.

Perhaps it'd be useful for hiking, but it can't be tilted, can't be used up a tall hill, can't be used when it's cold.

It's amazing how little power they're providing. The fuel cells used on Apollo circa 1969 were kilowatt class.

Impressively unimpressive.

RE: Thoughts on this fuel cell.

In northern Canada (ie north of vancouver) it is common to use a thermopile type generator for control power at isolated natural-gas well-heads. These typically backs-up a few solar panels. I I believe these things are about 3% efficient, not great. These things need to run continuously @ 100% output, again not great.
Recently we have been trying out small fuel cells that run on methanol. This kinda look like the units being discussed here. Again these are for back-up power for a solar-panel / battery system.

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

RE: Thoughts on this fuel cell.

I'm noticing 25dB(A) at 22 feet. I'd not call that silent either. Probably a fan.

11%... Not great.

30W, Don't big solar panels come in around 200W? 30W x 24hrs = 720Whr, that's 4 hours in the sun for one panel to harvest the same energy. Use two panels and you only need 2 hours.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Thoughts on this fuel cell.

I like the installation inside the camper - not! - just what you want, a continuous water vapor stream inside the camper when it's idle (can you say mildew?). The fuel is just neat methanol, nothing special about it and I'd not hesitate to use the cheapest source available since the warranty in the US is only 1 year.

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