Ethanol fuel cell?

Submitted: Monday, May 11, 2020 at 07:49
ThreadID: 139996 Views:1474 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
HKB,

In another thread you mentioned using one of these things, something I have not heard of before but suddenly had a desire to learn about them.

Being of the old school I prefer to gather knowledge from people who gathered their knowledge from experience, practice and people with the same, not just google it and hope whatever i find might be reputable, so I hope you dont mind me asking a few questions.

What are these things,
How do they work,
What capacities,
Pro's & con's,
And any other questions you might have asked yourself.
Any valid links you might support?
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Reply By: Member - Racey - Monday, May 11, 2020 at 09:16

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 09:16
Hi qldcamper, this link will give you the basics Efoy Fuel Cell

Cheers
Jon
AnswerID: 631472

Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, May 11, 2020 at 10:09

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 10:09
You will need a fat wallet. They are expensive.
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Monday, May 11, 2020 at 10:59

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 10:59
qldcamper,

The unit is an EFOY as mentioned above. It runs on Ethanol, consumes the Ethanol and produces power, also exhaust gas which is mostly water vapour.

The unit we purchased produces 6A when its running, doesn't sounds a lot but that is 144Ah in 24 hours. We have it set to start automatically if the Lithium batteries get to low.

Pros power anytime any where no noise outside van.

Cons, expensive, fuel cartridges not cheap but you do get 925Ah or thereabouts out of it, we find one cartridge lasts about 3 years for our use. Unit makes some noise when running, louder than a fridge for instance.

We preferred it to a generator.
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Follow Up By: qldcamper - Monday, May 11, 2020 at 11:10

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 11:10
Thanks for that, very interesting.
6 amps is as you say a respectable amount, to get an average of 6 amps for 24 hours out of solar panels represents a very large investment too.

What sort off dollars are you talking?
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Follow Up By: bobsabobsa - Monday, May 11, 2020 at 12:26

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 12:26
Hi
Where do you buy them ?
cheers bob
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Monday, May 11, 2020 at 14:23

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 14:23
Kimberly Kampers were the distributor, powerbox markets the industrial version.

Available here

You maybe able to source one cheaper for Europe
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Follow Up By: qldcamper - Monday, May 11, 2020 at 14:42

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 14:42
Well have to agree with the "expensive" part of your description. Still a little impractically high price for the average punter.
Thanks for the input.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Monday, May 11, 2020 at 15:16

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 15:16
A lot cheaper overseas, take trip and buy one while your thee:)

Like most quality products is repairable, unit will be relocated to next unit we purchase and probably the one after that.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 01:12

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 01:12
We bought a second hand one in Europe while we were touring there in 2014 and owned it for 2 years.
I would have brought it home, but it was difficult (could not be flown) because of the possibility of residual methanol (not ethanol) inside, so we sold it there.
The fuel needs to be pure to avoid contamination.
It was installed under a seat inside the motorhome. The exhaust is a little CO2 and some pure water. Slightly more noise than a compressor fridge, but it starts and stops to check the battery voltage and that makes it noticeable. Would not be hard to install so it was virtually silent.
Great jigger. Saved our bacon when the house batteries failed.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
AnswerID: 631483

Follow Up By: qldcamper - Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 07:11

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 07:11
I could live with losing some bacon but if the beer went warm Id be devistated lol.
Great to hear from you guys with first hand experience.

The fuel is a mix of methanol and water?
What ratio, is it dangerously flamable like petrol or LPG.

A little CO2 in the exhaust. Enough to need an external exhaust vent?

Thanks for the input.

HKB,
Is that the size of the fuel container you mentioned in your post?
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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 07:49

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 07:49
Ethanol or methanol IN, no mixing anything, then CO2 and water OUT the exhaust as a result.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 09:08

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 09:08
As far as I am aware, the fuel is straight methanol, which is highly flammable. The purity required is higher than commercial methanol (according to Efoy) which is why they insist on using theirs. The container in the pic is 10L. It weighs more than the unit itself.

The exhaust is a 6mm diameter clear tube. It can be run into your water tank, but it is just a little dribble. I doubt the CO2 would be sufficient to justify exhausting outside, but we did.
The output of ours was a constant 75W. There were other size units available. Amps reduce as battery voltage increases with battery SOC.

Ours (the one in the pic) had an extra cooling fan (black one on the outside) designed for hot climates like Australia. Ours was actually purchased new in Australia and went to Europe in a vehicle by sea freight.
Efoy were supposedly developing some software that would eliminate the last remnants of methanol from the unit to allow it to be air freighted, but when we left Europe in October 2015 it was not ready.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Reply By: Alex A2 - Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 19:14

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 19:14
Thank you for such useful information, I hope it will be helpful for me in this season.
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