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Testing the Efoy Comfort fuel cell, and the value of premium amp hours

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher since 4/12/2005, and now excited to have Ben Stein as a very able colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2018 and beyond.

7 Responses

  1. Leftbrain Stuff says:

    Thanks for the detailed review. I haven’t bothered to look in depth at the EoFY units as no trustworthy reviews were available. I’ve spent time on Methanol race cars (drag and Indy) and have worked with fuel cells in defence so am familiar with the technology.

    We hardly use our generator now since we added 1kW of solar. If I was considering a generator today then the EoFY would probably make much more sense. I certainly wouldn’t bother with a generator today unless I was planning electric propulsion.

    Currently we can meet all our living needs with just one of our 350W panels deployed except on very cloudy days. On sunny days with all three 350W panels deployed we can even heat our hot water. We’ve just moved to Southern California from the Pacific North West so solar is a no brainer.

    We do have provision for two wind generators but I’m going to revisit wind generators or an EoFY unit or update our generator.

    The attractiveness of solar and wind is the zero cost of fuel and no human input required anywhere in the fuel supply chain.

    The big negative for the EoFY units today is the proprietary fuel option. That makes no sense for methanol which can be sourced easily.

  2. Colin A says:

    The proprietary fuel is the big annoyance to me. Plenty of boats that don’t have room for solar could benefit. I noticed the Hydromax also uses a proprietary fuel but at least it’s less expensive and cheaper to ship.
    I have been watching the Watt fuel cell https://www.wattfuelcell.com/ for a while but they still seem a little away from having a consumer product available. Plenty of boats already have Propane on board which might make this a bit more appetizing.

  3. Grant says:

    Ben – nice article on the EFOY…I’m sure it’s the right answer for some folks. I see them heavily promoted at boat shows as an alternative to large house banks, but I’m not quite convinced that’s a good substitute…
    Also – when you “strip the poor boat down and start fresh”, make sure you add an insulating cover to that high-amperage DC positive distribution busbar – or even sooner would be better. Blueseas makes a nice product for that, # 2718:
    https://www.bluesea.com/products/2718/MaxiBus_Insulating_Cover_for_PN_2105_and_2126

    It’s listed as compatible with different busbars than yours (which appears to be a 2104), but it will still work nicely.
    Alternatively, you could remove everything from your toolbag not made of rubber or plastic, I suppose… 😉

    Cheers,

    • I agree, Grant; if you can fit more batteries, especially ones that you can safely drive down to low SOC, like Fireflies or Lithium, it’s probably a better trade. On the other hand, EFOY makes sense in situations that aren’t obvious. For instance, I know that Gemeco has sold some to high-end center consoles that are rack stored, hence no shore power, but have various 12v loads.

      And I appreciate your concern about the photo of my exposed and potentially highly loaded busbars. But not shown in the photo is large neoprene insulated panel that fits over all four batteries and the positive busbar. It would still be good to have specific protection over the latter, for when the panel is off, but that hasn’t made it off the to-do list yet.

      • Grant says:

        Roger that Ben, I didn’t see the cover. My to-do list is usually a one step forward, two steps back affair as well!
        I think you’ll like the B/S 2718 when the time comes – I fitted one recently to a similar exposed DC busbar (on a factory installation!)….roll eyes..

  4. Barb Malden says:

    Great review. We are toying with the efoy purchase concept and rationalizing the cost with its plug-and-play ease to use it in whichever “home” we’re in:: boat or camper.
    I agree the proprietary canister is bothersome. Would be nice if West Marine was a distributor! The distribution map in Europe vs USA /Canada/Mexico is envious!
    And I wish I d known or I would have snatched up your test efoy in a blink! 🙂 thx for your review.

    • Thanks, Barb. I wish I could find more online or elsewhere about folks who have tried using high grade methanol from other sources like this one:

      https://rmreagents.com/index.php/component/spidercatalog/showproduct/250/291/0/M1008

      While I understand the convenience and safety of EFOY’s own canisters, thin distribution originating in Germany necessarily adds a lot of cost to what is apparently a fairly widely available fuel. But how does an intrepid EFOY owner decant the methanol into empty EFOY canisters without introducing impurities or water? Or how does Gemeco get West Marine to carry the canisters efficiently?

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