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Old 11-19-2006, 08:37 PM   #1
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Fuel Cell - Propane to 12V ??

Hi,

I've seen a 2001 article about a firm intending to develop a RV Fuel Cell system for converting propane to electricity for RV use. But, I'm having trouble finding anything further on the subject. Has anyone done it?

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Walt
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:53 PM   #2
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Is this it? (first hit on a Google for rv fuel cell)

Or this?

Also might try a search on the words fuel cell here.
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:54 PM   #3
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"google it"

http://www.atwoodmobile.com/News/fuelcells.cfm

http://www.cleanfuelgeneration.com/components.htm

http://www.skyaid.org/rv/PropaneFuellCell2.html

Here are a few links that might get you started!

JERRY
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:52 AM   #4
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Hi Maurice & Jerry,
Right, I'd seen the http://www.atwoodmobile.com/News/fuelcells.cfm and http://www.idatech.com/media/news.html?article=27 references but not the others. Do any of these mean there's a product on the market I could go out and buy today?
Thanks for your responses.
Best Regards,
Walt
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:45 AM   #5
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Hi all!

These are already available in Europe, but run on Methanol not Propane... Prices between 1800,- and 3200,- Euro each!

Not cheap, a good solution!

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Björn
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:09 AM   #6
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The direct methanol units are available in the U.S..

The $3,635 25 watt Efoy 600 unit, putting out about 2 amps, should give 40-something amp-hours per day, enough for the frugal boondocker. The $130 (with hazmat charge) twin 5 liter fuel cartridges should give somewhere between 2-3 weeks use.

Running a Fantastic Vent continuously or the furnace, we'd probably need one of the $5,000-something units that use twice as much methanol.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:44 PM   #7
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Hi Maurice, Björn & Jerry,
The IdaTech news release did say, "IdaTech’s fuel cell systems include the company’s patented fuel processor technology to produce high purity hydrogen from conventional fuels, such as methanol, propane and diesel", but I've seen no fuel processor/fuel cell combinations available yet using propane. So we probably can't, at this time, get to a quiet, propane only energy source for our RV's. There is a nicety to stripping the hydrogen from the water in the methanol/water mix and hence the use of methanol vs. propane, but it really misses the advantage of a single fuel source and its storage.
Maybe there are furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators, and cooktops that will run on methanol.
Thanks for the leads and your thoughts.
Best Regards,
Walt
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Old 12-09-2006, 11:51 AM   #8
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Thermopiles are available now.

Thermoelectric devices are available now that run on propane, last 30 years without maintenance, have no moving parts, are very reliable, fairly small, and oh, so expensive.
I can not afford one, but it seems like an elegant solution to the problem of electric power in remote locations. Compared to fuel cell technology, though, they seem quite attractive.
Here's a link for more specific information. Global Thermoelectric - Home
My own solution is yet to be achieved, but I think I will build a permanent magnet DC alternator and run it using a bicycle. They are very efficient, produce power at low rpms, and won't wear out if the bearings are heavy duty, since otherwise there is no contact like with brushed generators. With modern niobium magnets they have reached the point of practical utility.
I have considered windmill, waterwheels, human power, solar panels, you name it. Of course, the easiest yet affordable solution is a gas powered generator, but I don't want to use more gas and have the noise.
Presently, I have two 60W solar panels atop my '58 Bubble, but they don't keep up with my power needs unless it is totally sunny and summertime with the sun up high. The array is not aimable yet, but the mounts I made can be upgraded for some additional angle adjustment. Even that won't give me the juice I want, and additional panels would have to be ground mounted since there's not much more roof on my little twinkie. I already have over $500 in the two 60-watters. By the way, I have not seen the official output claimed by the manufacturer, even at noon in June, so get more wattage than you think you'll need. Without direct sunlight, you get hardly any charge amps.
Hope this helps. Sorry for the long post, but I don't get out much.
Tom Hammer
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