GOT FUEL CELL FUEL?

Passage Maker - - Crosstalk -

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

COR­REC­TIONS:

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

The EFOY fuel cell runs on a pro­pri­etary methanol fuel mix­ture.

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