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Home Forums Technical Discussion Low power commercial off-grid solutions

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  richardpitt 7 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #36579

    richardpitt
    Member

    I’ve been looking for something to use for a couple of projects at the Hancock Wildlife Foundation where we do things like putting video cameras in eagle nests and around other wildlife.

    The “Chehalis” project I’ve been working on for the past 3 years was to use solar but it turns out that the amount of panels we’d need for the late Fall/Winter time period would be literally $10,000 or more – plus batteries for the long nights (we’re above the 49th parallel but not by much – but the nights in Winter are 16+ hours long)

    I recently got an email from a new company that is bringing a German made fuel cell into Canada (and the US) and they’re donating one to the foundation.

    Has anyone else looked at the EFOY fuel cell? This unit puts out 5 amps at 12 volts and runs on methanol – about 1KwH per liter which in my case means we get about 2 months on two 28 litre jugs of methanol.

    And it can deal with the solar cells too – so acts as a charge controller to allow them to donate power if/when the sun shines.

    #40586

    Nick Rosen
    Keymaster

    Yes, I did talk to them a year or two ago. I was going to get one for my RV, but for some reason I didnt in the end – I think maybe there was a problem getting them into the country. The problem is it is basically unproven technology so its hard to get the authorities to co-operate.

    #40587

    richardpitt
    Member

    There’s at least one company – Fourstones Ltd – in Canada that’s bringing them in. I understand there is also someone in the US but the Fourstones people say they can also sell into the US market.

    In Europe the manufacturer has about 10,000 units in the field – many of them in RVs as well as a number in military (they have a “wearable” unit as well as some larger units)

    I’m impressed – the unit I have is sitting in my downstairs rec-room quietly keeping the battery charged (gives off a bit of CO2, heat and water which currently is going into a glass sitting on the floor) as I get it wired up to install with the cameras etc. (just picked up RAM and CF for the PC-104 computer that will control it all – a little Intel Atom based machine that draws max 8Watts – cute)

    As long as I can keep the overall draw for this application below the 5Amps average – which in my case is 2 cameras, a wireless radio and the above noted CPU – I’m fine. We’ll have some LED infrared lights I can control with the CPU that might bring the draw above the 5Amps for a bit but overall it should average about 3-4 Amps. The cameras draw more when we move their Pan/Tilt/Zoom – but that’s not often so again, I’m not worried – that’s what the battery is for (this one has a 75AH gel-cell)

    I’ll let you know how things go – or you can watch my posts to the HWF site.

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