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Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

Jeff Cote

Pacific Yacht Systems
May 26th, 2015

You can never have too many options for alternative energy charging choices for the DC system on a boat. Direct Methanol Fuel Cells are an interesting alternative that is worth considering.

A methanol fuel cell combines methanol and oxygen in a reaction chamber that has a membrane that allows larger positively charged hydrogen ions to migrate across, while forcing the associated electrons to form a current flow that can be used or stored by the DC system. It sounds complicated, but the operation of the device is simple, clean, and virtually silent. The by-products, other than electricity, are water vapour, a small amount of heat, and trace amounts of CO2.

The device is commercially available from European electrical distributor, MasterVolt as eFOY; they produce a modest amount of energy (the most productive unit is rated at 210Ah per day), but would be a great complement to solar panels that could produce power during the day and the fuel cell could produce power over the darker hours.

-Lyle

PYS Electrical Technician

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  1. Adam McKenzie says:

    very interesting and amazing the new technologies coming available. I know that Nigel Calder was mentioning new better batteries due to get released next year and he said if you can hold back from buying now it would be worth it. I am not sure if this is what he was referring to?

    1. Ronald Roe says:

      No, eFOY is not what Nigel meant. He did say that eFOY is one of the more costly ways to make electricity. I like its silence! And there are improved batteries on the horizon.

  2. Hans Verbeek says:

    It would be nice if the cost of the various units could have been included in this article.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. Posting prices is always a tricky issue, and prices change 🙂 I am sure that if you contact Jeff at Pacific Yacht Systems, he will be happy to let you know what the prices are.