You’ve been on your yacht sailing all day and you arrive in lovely bay with only a few other boats. You drop the anchor, switch on the anchor light and settle down for a well deserved drink when you hear the battery alarm go off. The wind has dropped and the sun is setting so your wind generator and solar panel are useless. Your only option now is to run your engine for a few hours, ruining the relaxing atmosphere and disturbing your neighbours. Sound familiar?
Fuel cells offer the perfect solution to the ever growing need for on-board power. Unlike solar and wind they run throughout the day and unlike your engine, they’re near silent.
As well as allowing a cruiser to enjoy a peaceful evening in a quite anchorage, fuel cells for boats can also give the offshore racer an advantage. Installing a fuel cell in your racing yacht can remove the need to regularly monitor battery voltage in order to run the engine or generator to charge the battery. This means you can get on race!
In addition to removing this worry, marine fuel cells also have the potential to save weight:
Our most popular marine marine fuel cell is the EFOY from SFC. They’re small and lightweight and come in ranges from 40W to 105W. Don’t let the small output power put you off though. When sizing a fuel cell for a boat we always work out your daily usage. On a 30-40 foot yacht this can be about 1kWh. The EFOY Comfort 140 (72W) will produce 1.7kWh each day, so in conjunction with your batteries you will always have enough power.
To help you work out your daily usage, and to select a marine fuel cell for your boat we’ve put together a simple Marine Fuel Cell Power Calculator.
Rather than run continuously, the EFOY marine fuel cell acts as a battery charger, monitoring the battery voltage. When the voltage drops below 12.3V the EFOY marine fuel cell will start charging. Once the battery is charged to 14.2V it will enter standby mode. This fully automatic mode means all you need to worry about is replacing the fuel.
Installation of the EFOY fuel cell is also very simple. Find a suitable location on your boat for the mounting plate and secure it down then strap the EFOY fuel cell to it. Run the fused power cable directly to your batteries. Plumb the drainage tube either to the bilge or hull outlet (e.g. tap into sink drain), connect the display screen, fuel canister and power cable from the battery and the fuel cell is ready to go. To show you just how simple this is we’ve put together a short Installation Guide.
For some example fuel cell installations, please have a look at our Installations Gallery.