GOT FUEL CELL FUEL?
In your May/ June 2017 issue (on page 40) there was an interesting report on the EFOY Fuel Cell. While there was much discussion of the cell’s output capabilities, there was zero discussion of what input (i.e. fuel) the fuel cell requires? Dave Calvert
Dave, Our apologies for overlooking this important detail. To explain: Fuel cells, in general, derive energy through a chemical reaction, using an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte. The EFOY fuel cell is called a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell, which uses a mixture of methanol and water to create the necessary chemical reaction. The fuel is introduced on the anode side of the cell, with ambient oxygen from the air being introduced on the cathode side of the cell; a chemical reaction is then created. The reaction leads to positively charged hydrogen atoms being transferred across the cell and harvested as energy. The by-product of the fuel cell is water and carbon dioxide, making it an environmentally friendly method of producing power.
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells are rather inefficient, though, at producing power, which is why we don’t see them in larger-scale applications. However, they produce enough power to keep a small onboard battery bank charged, so they work well in this “generator” style application. The methanol is diluted with water, making the fuel very stable while being energy dense. EFOY estimates that their 10L fuel cartridge will last the average user roughly 30 days. -BKL
EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL AND THE TROUBLE WITH POLITICS:
Politics today is quite the hot button issue. Generally, when politics grace the pages of PassageMaker we stick to relatively bipartisan issues that pertain to boating, boat use, and conservation; topics upon which we generally can agree, or if not, at least we can civilly disagree.
In late June, Peter Swanson, former Editor-in- Chief of PassageMaker and current seminar lead for TrawlerFest, published a piece on how the Trump administration has changed the rules that the Obama administration had passed making it easier for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. This became a bit of a hornet’s nest online, with some less than civil interactions, and we believe the topic deserves some say here.
Opening up to Cuba is a hotly contested issue and there are many who have passionate beliefs on either side of the issue.
Peter Swanson has a love for Cuba and has also a deep appreciation for life in Cuba and the opportunities that arose when the restrictions on visiting and doing business in Cuba were lifted. Peter, via PassageMaker and the larger Active Interest Media Marine Group, has led several trips to Cuba since the restrictions were eased. He has established local contacts, has seen the blossoming of entrepreneurship and has also seen how visiting tourists can support the local Cuban people. Active Interest Media and PassageMaker have taken the approach of supporting the Cuban people by hosting travel to Cuba and engaging with Cuban people directly.
PassageMaker stands by its decision to publish Peter’s piece online and its decision to cover a variety of stories on Cuba as we have in the past year, as we do in this issue, and as we will in issues to come. We also welcome disagreement; we hope that readers will continue to voice opinions, both positive and negative, in the letters we publish here as well as via our Facebook comments. We do, however, implore you to engage in debate and disagreement in a civilized manner, with consideration of our differing opinions and life experiences. PassageMaker seeks to make connections between people and stories, not to divide us into pockets of like-mindedness. –BKL
A gracious reader, Rob Crawford, brought to our attention that we had cut short a caption in our May/ June column of Steve Zimmerman’s excellent Troubleshooter article on choosing the right grade of marine stainless steel. The caption on page 28 should have read: “The core around this windlass foot switch has never been sealed and water has found its way into the deck structure, creating elevated readings over a wide area. Since the core is balsa, the ongoing presence of water has started to deteriorate the core material.” We apologize for this oversight and thank Rob for bringing it to our attention. - BKL