Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-09-2018, 01:35 AM   #1
Platinum Member
 
markopolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 7,850
Default SOFC Fuel Cells

The Watt Imperium topic seems unlikely to get back on track so I figured we could start a new SOFC Fuel Cell topic.

I did a bit of Googling today and came across this PDF from RedHawk Energy Systems: http://www.redhawkenergy.net/pdf/Bro...el%20Cells.pdf

It's 250 watt. The brochure is easy to read and informative.

They clearly list some disadvantages which is helpful when trying to see where something like this fits in:

- Startup is not instantaneous
- Ongoing fuel supply required
- Larger upfront $cost than gas/diesel generators
- Not well suited for 24/7 prime power applications
- Stack life is cycle limited

The fuel cells come from Ultra Electronics I think: https://www.ultra-fuelcells.com/P250i

Another PDF here: https://www.ultra-fuelcells.com/Data...-PDS-P250i.pdf

The RedHawk case study is here: https://www.ultra-fuelcells.com/Data...tudyRRFCBN.pdf

The market for this appears to be large budget operations needing assured power in remote locations where solar charging isn't enough or not an option.

I was unable to find any pricing info.

I don't see these SOFC Fuel Cells as a green technology as they require a non-renewable energy source to run (propane) and emit a greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide).
__________________

__________________
Two bikes on sliding cargo box: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/m...icture206.html & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...vana-5864.html
markopolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2018, 04:46 AM   #2
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Colorado
Posts: 106
Default

Efoy is worth a link since your can purchase it. A link to their benefits page:

https://www.efoy-comfort.com/benefits

You can get pricing at iMarine, although their ratings by amp-hr/day is marketing specmanship

$2999 for the comfort 80i, about 40w
$4299 for the 140i, about 70w
$5899 for the 210i, about 105w

The expensive fuel is a common complaint I see online.
__________________

Mfturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2018, 04:55 AM   #3
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Arizona, Tempe
Posts: 629
Default

Thanks. If this SOFC is cycle limited (250cycles-3000hrs) it is probable that the Imperium is also. No size info, I haven't looked at all the links, but it appears smaller than the Imperium. Those of you that said "Wait and see" seem to be correct. 250 cycles is not enough nor is 3000 hours if you were to run it 10 hours a day.

With respect to the Efoy not only is the fuel expensive, it is unobtanium.

I like the Efoy but the fuel is impossible. You cannot buy it locally and shipping is out of the question with a hazardous material surcharge. Perhaps if we could source our own methanol.
hbn7hj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2018, 05:00 AM   #4
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,380
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbn7hj View Post
Thanks. If this SOFC is cycle limited (250cycles-3000hrs) it is probable that the Imperium is also. No size info, I haven't looked at all the links, but it appears smaller than the Imperium. Those of you that said "Wait and see" seem to be correct. 250 cycles is not enough nor is 3000 hours if you were to run it 10 hours a day.
Well, as I see it, whether or not those numbers are "enough" depends entirely on the cost and difficulty of renewing the cell. We'll see.
__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2018, 01:34 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
markopolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 7,850
Default

For RV use it's more of energy storage problem than an energy production problem.

Those remote, off grid and solar inefficient locations that SOFC's seem to be targeted at are different from typical recreational RV use where we have power from alternators, generators or the grid readily available.

In recreational RV use, power generation is relatively easily achieved. I think Booster's van can likely theoretically produce almost 17 kWh during a 5 hour drive. Periodical connections to the electrical grid provides inexpensive power.

The problem then becomes how to store large amounts of excess or inexpensive energy to use it later.

There doesn't seem to be an easy or inexpensive way to do that so we end up right back at another expensive device to produce power.
__________________
Two bikes on sliding cargo box: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/m...icture206.html & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...vana-5864.html
markopolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2018, 01:56 PM   #6
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,380
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
For RV use it's more of energy storage problem than an energy production problem.

Those remote, off grid and solar inefficient locations that SOFC's seem to be targeted at are different from typical recreational RV use where we have power from alternators, generators or the grid readily available.

In recreational RV use, power generation is relatively easily achieved. I think Booster's van can likely theoretically produce almost 17 kWh during a 5 hour drive. Periodical connections to the electrical grid provides inexpensive power.

The problem then becomes how to store large amounts of excess or inexpensive energy to use it later.

There doesn't seem to be an easy or inexpensive way to do that so we end up right back at another expensive device to produce power.
I don't see the line between production and storage to be quite that bright. To the extent that I have continuous production, my need for storage is correspondingly reduced. Continuous production at night has two difficulties: lack of solar and genset noise. Fuel cells potentially address both of these. We'll see if they work....
__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2018, 02:32 PM   #7
Platinum Member
 
markopolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 7,850
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
.................. To the extent that I have continuous production, my need for storage is correspondingly reduced. ...............

Excellent point.
__________________
Two bikes on sliding cargo box: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/m...icture206.html & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...vana-5864.html
markopolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2018, 03:11 PM   #8
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,791
Default

I agree.



In a perfect world, having a silent, efficient, power source that would cover all the van use in real time would be wonderful and would require very little battery capacity, if any. Until we get there generate and store are about the only other option, unfortunately.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 01:33 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 425
Default Case closed!

Just got an answer from EHGNA after writing to WATT.

The system will only available for Hymer or Roadtrek vehicles. It is not the impression you get on the WATT web site.

" Thank you for your interest in the Watt Fuel cell technology.
These units are exclusive to Erwin Hymer Group North America products.
A portable system will be available in the near future, and must be used with Erwin Hymer Group North America (EHGNA), products.

It will be available on selected Roadtrek and Hymer branded models only.
The coach will need to have propane a system, to have this added as an option. Stay tuned for more info on availability.
Pricing to be announced soon.
Please refer to our website for any further updates: erwinhymergroupna.com
..."

Notice that the test residential system they installed needs a filter for the natural gas. As it has been said, the vulnerable part of the system is the contamination of the ceramic tubes.





GeorgeB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 02:18 PM   #10
Platinum Member
 
GeorgeRa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,479
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
……………………………..
“…………..A portable system will be available in the near future, and must be used with Erwin Hymer Group North America (EHGNA), products……………....."
It will be interesting to see how a portable system “must be used with Hymer product” will work.
GeorgeRa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 02:36 PM   #11
Platinum Member
 
markopolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 7,850
Default

Class B's make up approximately 1% of total RV shipments - https://www.rvia.org/news-insights/r...ts-august-2018

EHGNA had around 30% of the already tiny Class B market last time I checked.

Seems like the Watt product would be available to 00.30% or so of the potential market if those numbers are correct ............

If 1 in 40 EHGNA customers get one would that equate to 00.0075% of the RV market getting the Watt product?

------------------------------------

There's a portable SOFC here: https://www.ultra-fuelcells.com/D350

It seems to be intended for expeditions. The design intent looks to be for portability and not longevity of the part(s).

PDF: https://www.ultra-fuelcells.com/Data...A-PDS-D350.pdf
__________________
Two bikes on sliding cargo box: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/m...icture206.html & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...vana-5864.html
markopolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 02:43 PM   #12
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,791
Default

When you combine the information we have seen about the Watt and Hymer with the information GeorgeB just got, and then throw in the video from a couple of years ago about the Watt being the ultimate solution for boats, the whole thing gets eerily familiar to a thing we went through at a place I worked. The product was different, as it was a "revolutionary" IC engine or pump design called the XXXXXX Engine (not mentioned because they still exist).


That product was first going to be greatest thing in aviation engines, and was prototyped and testing be some aviation companies, then it was going to take over the commercial air compressor business was tested there, then it was going to take over the high pressure (car wash type) pump world and was tested there. At each step, they had "exclusive" contracts with the interested companies, which may have been the only way they could get in the door. They were very good at promoting the product, but the product just didn't live up to their hype once it was put to real testing.


When you go after long established applications like those above, or the ones that Watt is going after, even if the existing products have some worts you need to have a very good product to overcome the "momentum" or the marketplace. The fact that the Watt had already been touted as a great marine product, and is now "exclusive" to a single RV manufacture does raise a few flags flags for me that there could be something that is not as great as touted.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 03:05 PM   #13
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,380
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
When you combine the information we have seen about the Watt and Hymer with the information GeorgeB just got, and then throw in the video from a couple of years ago about the Watt being the ultimate solution for boats, the whole thing gets eerily familiar to a thing we went through at a place I worked. The product was different, as it was a "revolutionary" IC engine or pump design called the XXXXXX Engine (not mentioned because they still exist).


That product was first going to be greatest thing in aviation engines, and was prototyped and testing be some aviation companies, then it was going to take over the commercial air compressor business was tested there, then it was going to take over the high pressure (car wash type) pump world and was tested there. At each step, they had "exclusive" contracts with the interested companies, which may have been the only way they could get in the door. They were very good at promoting the product, but the product just didn't live up to their hype once it was put to real testing.


When you go after long established applications like those above, or the ones that Watt is going after, even if the existing products have some worts you need to have a very good product to overcome the "momentum" or the marketplace. The fact that the Watt had already been touted as a great marine product, and is now "exclusive" to a single RV manufacture does raise a few flags flags for me that there could be something that is not as great as touted.
Well, a lot of truth here, but perhaps a bit harsh. Funding is always the problem with any new technology, and funding is impossible without hype. Things also always take much longer than promised, both due to the inherent overoptimism of the entrepreneurs and also due to the aforementioned hype. It is also true that revolutionary technologies fail more often than the succeed.

However, all these things are also true of disruptive technologies that are ultimately successful. Succeed or fail, introducing new stuff is always messy. So, I don't think that the messiness tells us anything one way or the other about whether this product will succeed.

I don't put much credence in that Hymer communication. Unless there is an acquisition involved (which is not impossible), it makes no sense for Watt to sell only to Hymer. They MIGHT have some kind of exclusivity agreement, but surely it would be for a limited time only. I also agree that the “must be used with Hymer product” statement is bonkers, not to mention illegal.
__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 03:48 PM   #14
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,791
Default

The caveats that Avanti lists are all very possible, as every new product, technology, rollout, etc is different. From what we saw when evaluating new product or technology submissions (we got quite a few) a couple of things were pretty consistent, but of course, had exceptions.


Almost all needed money to be able to either refine or complete the project, but generally within two reasons. One was that they were using personal funds on a shoestring and had no knowledge of how to get investors, and the other was that their investor pool had run dry and wouldn't put in any more. We liked the former, over the latter, as if investors have lost faith there is often a reason.


If they had multiple companies or investor firms looking at the product at the same time, soon after contacting them, it was more likely to be viable. (submitters very often lie about this one, exaggerating the interest and trying to get an exclusive)



If the product had been presented and rejected by other companies, as in the above scenario, the odds of it being viable drop sharply, and even more if it had been exclusively contracted, as above, to test.


A big one that is often overlooked is how the presenter has been handling it all. Are there videos they put out to either brag or fish for interest, articles in the trade magazines about it (they love those kind of stories so it is very easy to get an article into them), has any part of academia been evolved (especially if the tech is beyond the expertise of those that evaluating the product)? Along with this stuff, the patent status is critical, including all the timing issues. If the patent pending isn't done before release of important information, things can get very dicey and make people afraid to spend a lot on something that might not be able to be protected.



I liked the submissions that were raw ideas, maybe with a patent pending, but no other publicity. Most can be evaluated by working directly with submitter on applying the idea to real applications to look at more closely, and you can do it, most of the time, on a legally binding non disclosure/timed exclusive contract.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 04:01 PM   #15
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 425
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
It will be interesting to see how a portable system “must be used with Hymer product” will work.
I believe they are refering to their previous product for marine use (see photo) that they might adapt for RV "portable" use "with exclusive rights for Hymer products" !



Time will tell if it is a reliable product and if it will Work All The Time! The (im)possible dream might succeed or be a failure. I admire Roadtrek's courage to implement and offer new products. Unfortunately RT/Hymer customers are sometimes (often?) paying the price of being the involuntary lab rats of this live R&D. Apart from the desire to innovate, what seem to drive this constant search for new solutions is the fragile situation Roadtrek was in the last few years, being constantly offered "on the market" to new investors. Judging by their press archives WATT seems to be in a similar situation regarding finding new funding

One thing that will work is that this new venture will surely "fuel" many discussions on this forum for years to come!

.
GeorgeB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 04:22 PM   #16
Platinum Member
 
GeorgeRa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,479
Default

I was involved in running some complex projects in my past, we gauged the potential for progress by “intensity of the color red” on red flags. Having red flags was an instant warning but any red flag which required invention often turned discussion to complete halt until the invention was invented, so, how do you schedule an invention. Usually it meant a change of the direction or permanent reshuffling of resources.

Fuel cell technology is reliable, historically proven but only on hydrogen fuel. In my view using LPG fuel with in situ reforming is a big, bright red and juicy flag.
GeorgeRa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 04:27 PM   #17
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Arizona, Tempe
Posts: 629
Default

Note the 30 cycle limit on the D350 fuel cell!
hbn7hj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 04:49 PM   #18
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 425
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
....Along with this stuff, the patent status is critical, including all the timing issues. ...
The approval process to get all the certifications is also very critical before launching a new product with important safety issues. Methanol used in the Efoy SOFC systems is a lot less problematic regarding fuel leaks and potential gas explosion. (see warning in the photo at the RVIA)

GeorgeB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 10:01 PM   #19
Platinum Member
 
Boxster1971's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Maryland
Posts: 907
Default

Several folks on AirForums have been using the EFOY fuel cells for years.

Here is one of the longest threads that I'm reading now.
The fuel cell experiment - Airstream Forums

Fuel cells are starting to make headway in the automotive world, but with hydrogen fuel as mentioned earlier. I was just reading the October issue of SAE publication "Truck & Off-Highway Engineering" and discovered the attached article on a Mercedes-Benz Vans project to develop a Concept Sprinter F-Cell model. They are looking at it as a range extender to the soon to be released eSprinter.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Sprinter F-cell.pdf (1.14 MB, 3 views)
__________________
2013 Airstream Interstate Lounge EXT on 2012 Sprinter 3500 170Ext
Formerly: 1973 Dodge B300 DIY pop-top conversion
Boxster1971 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2018, 10:39 PM   #20
Bud
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: LA
Posts: 871
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Several folks on AirForums have been using the EFOY fuel cells for years.

Here is one of the longest threads that I'm reading now.
The fuel cell experiment - Airstream Forums

Fuel cells are starting to make headway in the automotive world, but with hydrogen fuel as mentioned earlier. I was just reading the October issue of SAE publication "Truck & Off-Highway Engineering" and discovered the attached article on a Mercedes-Benz Vans project to develop a Concept Sprinter F-Cell model. They are looking at it as a range extender to the soon to be released eSprinter.

Is anyone using a fuel cell in any way to run a/c? Even to just charge batteries with or without solar to run the a/c?

Bud
__________________

Bud is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 08:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×