Fuel cells give power in all-weathers
Although the term fuel cell may conjure up visions of fossil-fuel and so contradict the definition of environmentally-friendly, these electricity producers are one of the most efficient and clean sources of electrical power, reports fuel cell distributor and consultancy, Fuel Cell Systems.
Fuel cells in their simplest form are generators; power is produced using an electro-chemical reaction which splits hydrogen gas molecules to form hydrogen ions and electrons.
When oxygen from the air passes through the cell, it produces electricity and as no combustion takes place, any waste heat and water vapour contains miniscule amounts of carbon dioxide.
CEO Tom Sperrey, explains: “Because electricity is generated by a chemical reaction, the cells don’t have the heat losses and mechanical inefficiencies of conventional power generation equipment. They are quiet, reliable and clean.”
Fuel cells require no maintenance or hole drilling in the hull for cooling water circulation or exhaust and they are compatible with other technologies such as solar, meaning both systems can support each other to charge batteries.
Sailor Andrei Rosu used fuel cells with solar during his 2017 38-day Atlantic Challenge: “The fuel cell gave us extra energy for water production and navigation equipment when there was no sun light and at night. Amazingly simple to use, its efficiency enabled us to focus on rowing. I would never row across any ocean without it.”
Tom concludes: “They’re an environmentally-sustainable solution and are brilliant at what they do. Fuel cells offer an extremely eco-friendly power source for the marine market and with an increasing focus on emissions across the industry, we’re working with customers to help integrate fuel cell technology into a wide range of marine applications.”
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