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Old 03-21-2019, 05:04 PM   #1
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Fuel Cells

Went to Fisherie's this morning...after Voula's, of course and found a brochure for this thing. Anyone familiar?


Over time I've seen a couple threads about backup electricity other than the traditional dedicated diesel generator. "Can I use my Honda?," etc.


I have two large battery banks and a fairly low demand setup, have spent as much as three nights on the hook without issue, but I find this intriguing nonetheless.
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Old 03-21-2019, 05:08 PM   #2
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I've looked at them before a couple of years ago, and even played around with one on another boat. It is an interesting concept, but a bit more expensive than some of the other sources we have on trawlers. For smaller engined boats (sailboats in particular) I think it might make more sense.

Ben at Panbo did a deeper dive on the technology.
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Old 03-22-2019, 12:14 AM   #3
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I am about to install the Efoy 210 after just purchasing Fire Fly Oasis 12 volt 116 amp batteries (6 of them) for my power source. Combine Efoy with my engines 70 amp alternator (I know I can get larger ones but I have a brand new Merc 6.2 stern drive gas engine going in, can't add a larger alternator or it affects the warranty) and shore plug in charging and I know I have enough juice (560 usable amps at 80% discharge) to include hair blower, convection oven, refrigerator and separate upright freezer. If you have high usage items like dishwasher, clothes washing machine, etc the Efoy won't cut it, but for my use it will do just fine. With 560 amps, running a 100 amp defict after the Efoy 210 has done its charging for 24 hours, I can go 5 1/2 days on the hook without running my engine to help bring the batteries up faster.
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Old 03-22-2019, 12:26 AM   #4
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My situation is similar. With led lighting, diesel cook stove and passive diesel heat, my fridge is really the big draw...well, a microwave might be nice...it would mostly serve in a standby peace-of-mind role. But I don't feel the need for $3000 worth of peace. Fun gadget though.
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:58 AM   #5
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My concern with this type of device is the fuel for it. You can get diesel pretty much anywhere in the world. Gallons of pure methanol, though? Probably not so much. And that's only if you're willing to use methanol, rather than their "official" fuel cartridges.
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Old 03-22-2019, 12:03 PM   #6
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I can't speak for the rest of the world but for AlaskaProf and I, located in the Pacific North West, Coastal BC, and Alaska, getting the fuel isn't an issue. Many Efoy dealers up and down Vancouver Island and if they are here, I can guarantee you they will be in the Puget Sound area, and probably Oregon. Not sure about Alaska however.

The fuel containers aren't that big, so I plan to carry two at all times. I do plan to go to the Alaskan panhandle at some point, then I might carry three or four.

The microwave is much less a draw than the convection oven as the microwave is probably only used for 10 minutes a day max whereas the convection oven is on for 50 minutes when cooking a whole chicken.

I have a Force 10 two burner stove/oven and a Weber Q1200 BBQ as well as the convection oven, but like most here I like redundancy. Should I run out of propane, I will still have an oven. And instead of cooking a whole chicken in the BBQ when tied up with shore power, I can use the oven to preserve propane.

My refit guy talked me out of a microwave (29 foot boat with limited space) saying he never installed one on his boat and never really missed it, its just one of those fast conveniences you don't really need when one of the purposes of boating is to slow life down. When I thought about how I use my microwave at home I agreed with him.

The way I looked at the cost was to compare installing a genset (the boat never had one) versus adding Efoy. I have a genset in my Winnebago and I don't like the noise, smells and fumes one can create.

I have the Dickinson propane heater installed and am having a diesel heater added with a small 2 gallon dedicated tank for the heater, my boat runs gas.
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:40 PM   #7
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I've been looking at them for my sailboat, which I'm gearing up for solo races that run for several days. A few competitors have them and it seems like an excellent solution for that use. But they're too expensive for me.

Any guesses on what they'll cost in two years?
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:58 PM   #8
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Any guesses on what they'll cost in two years?

More. They aren't as new as you think they might be, been around for quite a while now. I have never seen one but you could make it your life's passion to discover a decent used one.
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Old 03-23-2019, 06:09 AM   #9
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I have the Dickinson propane heater installed and am having a diesel heater added with a small 2 gallon dedicated tank for the heater,


While there are more BTU in diesel than propane , it might be easier to carry( 3 ) propane tanks than (2) 5gal diesel tanks.
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:25 AM   #10
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I hate to say it, but I think these things are pretty inappropriate for boats. Or at least a lot of careful attention needs to be paid to installation, etc. Here are a few things to keep in mind, reading the manuals and reading about methanol.


- The biggest danger is that methanol fumes sink in air, like propane fumes. As such they will collect in bilges and not dissipate. As a result I think all the same precautions should be taken as are taken for propane, namely fuel storage outside in a closed container with bottom venting overboard, and no unattended appliances. All that says the only safe installation location is inside something like a properly installed propane locker, and that fuel storage should only be in a propane locker. I have no idea whether propane sniffers and alarms will work with methanol fumes, but such a device would be a good idea too.


- It's a small package, that's for sure, but it also generates very little power. the largest model, the 210, produces 105W output. It does so 24x7 which is good, but it's still only 1200wh per day.


- Since the only way to get any practical amount of power out of it is to run 24x7, you need to assume that operation.



- As an alternate/comparison, 250W of solar will product the same power, but only on sunny days


- A 5kw generator will product that in 15min.


- A 70A alternator will produce that in about 1:40 hrs.


- A 10 liter jug of fuel will last for about 4.5 days, so calculate fuel carry accordingly.


- Diesel boat owners complain about having to keep gasoline on board for a tender, citing the hassle, hazard, and space consumption. The Efoy introduces a third fuel that is more dangerous than gasoline, and about the same danger as propane.


- The Efoy consumes .25 gal of methanol per kwh of power produced. A diesel generator consumes about 0.1 gal of diesel per kwh produced. This should be considered when looking at overall space consumption, especially on a smaller boat.


- Any battery bank has a minimum charge rate to get it back to full charge. Lifeline (as an example) calls for .2C (20A for every 100ah of capacity). And if you can't do that, they describe an alternate charge protocol that will work with only .02C (2A for every 100ah of capacity). At the recommended charge rate, the largest Efoy can't charge event he smallest battery, let along a battery bank. And with the alternate charge protocol, it is limited to a 400Ah battery bank.


- The device can't be stored in temps below freezing. They can be operated down to -20C, but not stored. So if your boat will be subject to freezing weather while not in use, you will need to remove the Efoy and take it home with you. Or you can leave it in a Freeze Protect mode where it will cycle on and off itself to keep it above freezing.
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Old 03-23-2019, 10:36 AM   #11
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Thanks for the definitive response. A shiny object of very limited utility, I think.
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Old 03-23-2019, 12:20 PM   #12
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I say the Efoy 210 generates 9 amps per hour when talking to friends but the reality is something 8.6 or something like that. When they say their solar can do that I say what system do you have that will generate power at 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 during the night and early morning hours. What solar system do you have that generates power during our Pacific North West, Coastal BC and coastal Alaskan grey days that can last for a week?

Here is a decent article that discusses Efoy and talks about warranty issues that have been discussed in the past: https://www.panbo.com/testing-the-ef...ort-fuel-cell/
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Old 03-23-2019, 03:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rsn48 View Post
I say the Efoy 210 generates 9 amps per hour when talking to friends but the reality is something 8.6 or something like that. When they say their solar can do that I say what system do you have that will generate power at 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 during the night and early morning hours. What solar system do you have that generates power during our Pacific North West, Coastal BC and coastal Alaskan grey days that can last for a week?

Here is a decent article that discusses Efoy and talks about warranty issues that have been discussed in the past: https://www.panbo.com/testing-the-ef...ort-fuel-cell/



You are absolutely right about the Efoy running 24x7 and solar not. Plus solar is unpredictable.


For solar, I would size it as big as will fit. Then make up the difference running my main engine for an hour or two. But that's just me.
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Old 03-23-2019, 06:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post

- Any battery bank has a minimum charge rate to get it back to full charge. Lifeline (as an example) calls for .2C (20A for every 100ah of capacity). And if you can't do that, they describe an alternate charge protocol that will work with only .02C (2A for every 100ah of capacity). At the recommended charge rate, the largest Efoy can't charge event he smallest battery, let along a battery bank. And with the alternate charge protocol, it is limited to a 400Ah battery bank.
Thanks, all good points. I went digging for validation on this point, as I had always believed that slow charges were preferred for LA batteries. Here's what I found in lifeline tech document:

"For repetitive deep cycling applications (deeper than 50% DOD), chargers should have an
output current of at least 0.2C (20 Amps for a 100 Ah battery). If the output current is less than
this value, the cycle life of the battery may be negatively affected."

That makes my 30 amp charger seem really small for my 500 amp hr battery bank. Thanks, I'm often learning from your posts.

In argument for the fuel cell though, I don't think anyone would be planning to use it for bulk charging. The attractive use case is when your 24 hr base load is under the fuel cell capacity. Then your battery bank is just buffering at high SoC. If it was half the price and double the capacity I'd order one now.
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Old 03-23-2019, 11:35 PM   #15
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For me, using Efoy is one arrow in my quiver. If this were the sailboat forum, then Efoy by itself may not be optimal but I have Efoy, 70 amp alternator, show power and a large Fire Fly 700 amp battery bank.

Lets say I decide to anchor for one week without moving and I am burning 300 Amps per day, this is quite a lot for my needs, probably excessive, but lets go with 300. Now the Efoy only renews roughly 200 amps a day, so every day I am down 100 amps. With my 700 amp battery bank, I can go 5 1/2 days depleting 100 amp that doesn't get replaced. On day seven, I wouldn't use 300 amps, but just use 200. On day eight when I motored for lets say 5 hours, 350 amps would be replaced and another 200 amps from the Efoy. Enough to give me another 3 or 4 days on the hook without worry.

At some point I would motor and stay at a marina to replenish the batteries over a 24 hour period and I would be good to go for another week or week and a half away from a marina.

For my personality, I don't think I'd stay in the same location for a week on the hook, but even motoring for an hour and dropping anchor adds 70 amps along with the 200 Efoy amps in that 24 hour period.

I would be using a convection oven up to 50 minutes, often less. Uses would include toaster for 15 minutes a day, hair blower for 5 minutes a day. In the off season, whatever amps to run my diesel heater. But I also have a Dickinson propane heater which I can have on to reduce the amount of diesel fuel and time running the fan. Also my fridge and seperate stand up freezer run about 7 1/2 amps but run approximately half time, so 7 1/2 over 24 hours running half time (12 hours) would yield 90 amps. All my lighting is LED's.

I can't imagine always using 300 amps a day, the usage will often be lower. I don't have solar and I'm not even sure I want it.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:16 AM   #16
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Once you have used it for a season, please report back. It will be real interesting and useful for others to hear where and how it worked, and where/when supplemental power was needed.


What are your installation and venting plans, and how do you envision storing the fuel jugs?
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:46 AM   #17
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I am about to install the Efoy 210 after just purchasing Fire Fly Oasis 12 volt 116 amp batteries (6 of them) for my power source. Combine Efoy with my engines 70 amp alternator (I know I can get larger ones but I have a brand new Merc 6.2 stern drive gas engine going in, can't add a larger alternator or it affects the warranty) and shore plug in charging and I know I have enough juice (560 usable amps at 80% discharge) to include hair blower, convection oven, refrigerator and separate upright freezer. If you have high usage items like dishwasher, clothes washing machine, etc the Efoy won't cut it, but for my use it will do just fine. With 560 amps, running a 100 amp defict after the Efoy 210 has done its charging for 24 hours, I can go 5 1/2 days on the hook without running my engine to help bring the batteries up faster.
I have used a efoy 140 which puts out 6 amps feeding my 500ampere battery bank on my sailboat which Iím going to remove and install in our new adventure a Monk 36 . Ive had this model for 6 years and its 100% worth every nickel , no noise no nothing as it only has a small hum and it looked after 7 days at anchor with 2 couples on board using all the power needed with invertor . Their not cheap in Canada but thatís boating . By product is water and the small amount runs into bilge .
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:10 PM   #18
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What are your installation and venting plans, and how do you envision storing the fuel jugs?

My installation and venting plans are as follows: drive to refit guy who is working on my boat (large refit), write a cheque, have a social talk with him, have confidence in him as he is an Efoy dealer and has installed a number of them. Drive home, take the dog for a walk.

Where am I going to store it? I haven't talked to the refit guy but I am assuming the bilge. What we did talk about was a bulkhead seperating the engine area from the rest of the bilge. Currently the bilge, which is amazingly large for a 29 foot boat - not a 65 Fleming, if you know what I mean - is one long open area. I know he was feeling the engine room because of possible fumes should be isolated from the rest of the bilge. In this 29 foot boat, I can jump down into the bilge and while bending over stand up in it. I just googled "fires started because of Efoy" and variations on that theme and came up with all kind of stuff about car items leaking, diesel leaking on boats, etc. but nothing about fires created by Efoys. Realize that in Europe Efoy's are much more popular but used mostly in the RV industry over there, so ample opportunity for an idiot to install it wrong and create a fire, but nothing, nada, zippo.

I have used a efoy 140 which puts out 6 amps feeding my 500ampere battery bank on my sailboat which I’m going to remove and install in our new adventure a Monk 36 .

I have decided to dedicate my life to purchasing a used Efoy 140 or larger and adding it. Just think combining the 210 with the 140, I'd have an energy source of roughly 15 amps an hour. And so I search and search for a used second one.

On a seperate note, I think you should sell your crummy measily 140 and get a 210 like real men have. And by the way, what would you be selling your 140 for?
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Old 03-24-2019, 01:21 PM   #19
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I will admit I should of went to the 210 model but I decreased my battery pack and Iím good now . I question using a full jug in 4.5 days . As I said we used for 7days straight and the rest of my 3 week holidays and still had some left . But I guess if you re demand is highl and it never shuts off itís possible and in that case Iíd be thinking conserving power .
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:12 PM   #20
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On a seperate note, I think you should sell your crummy measily 140 and get a 210 like real men have. And by the way, what would you be selling your 140 for?

Hope you realize I was joking here. But what I have noticed is that you can get almost anything used, but try and find a used Efoy, people keep em.
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