Laptop fuel cell

07 Feb 2010
Posted by Laptop Junction

Fuel cell for laptop, notebook and netbook

Recently commercial fuel cells have reached the European consumer market for installation in Mobile homes, RV's, boats and holiday homes. First generation fuel cells for the European consumer market are battery chargers. A perfect solution to run a laptop on through a laptop power inverter or laptop car charger.  Here’s an impression of a Methanol powered fuel cell – The EFOY 2200 – manufactured by SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG in Germany.
 

EFOY 2200 fuel cell overview

First generation European consumer market fuel cells generate electricity in the lower power range. For example, the EFOY 2200 generates 2160 Watt  (2.16 kWh) per day or 90 Watt per hour. That’s more than enough to power a mobile office on a daily basis, using a laptop, printer and 3G modem.
 


SFC EFOY 2200 Fuel Cell 90W 12V powered by Methanol
The EFOY 2200 - 90 Watt fuel cell manufactured by SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG in Germany.


A fuel cell is a silent source of electrical power – noise is less than a normal conversation without mechanical vibrations. It fits situations where a conventional petrol generator is considered unacceptable.

SFC EFOY 1600 Fuel Cell 90W 12V powered by Methanol
The EFOY 1600 Automatic Charge Control - a fuel cell manufactured by SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG in Germany.

The 90 Watt EFOY uses a maximum  0.51 Gallon (US) or 1.94 Liter Methanol per day. Actual Methanol usage is less when the fuel cell is moderately used.

Control Panel SFC EFOY 1600 Fuel Cell 90W 12V powered by Methanol
Control Panel EFOY Fuel Cell

Waste products are water vapor, CO2 and heat. CO2 footprint for fuel cells is claimed to be 60% lower than a petrol generator on a CO2/KWhr basis and almost zero Hydrocarbons / CO / SOX / NOX emissions.

The EFOY 2200 uses external Methanol canisters of 1.3 Gallon / 5 liter or 2.6 Gallon / 10 liter .
 

Powering a laptop with a Fuel cell

The EFOY uses about 0.24 Gallon or 0.9 liter Methanol to generate 1 kWh. Based on the daily 1 Kwh laptop power reference, the EFOY 90W version can power a laptop for 11 days on a 2.6 Gallon or 10 liter Methanol canister.

  A fuel cell laptop power system based on the EFOY 2200
A fuel cell laptop power system based on the EFOY 2200

On the scale of a motor home, mobile home or RV the EFOY is a low power source comparable with a medium sized solar power system. For powering a laptop the EFOY 2200 -  90 Watt is a sensible alternative – however there are a few remaining issue’s, like Methanol fuel availability on long distance journeys.
 

Methanol fuel

Fuel cells released for the European consumer market are powered by Methanol. The liquid resembles alcohol in many ways. However it’s a specially produced fuel cell liquid and can not be replaced by any other liquid.

 
SFC EFOY 10 liter Methanol fuel cansister
10 liter SFC Methanol canister for the EFOY fuel cell

Methanol, like alcohol, is a highly inflammable liquid and necessary handling precautions should be taken. Methanol is only sold at licensed outlets in Europe not at petrol stations. SFC distributes an European point of sales list where SFC Methanol canisters can be obtained.
 

Methanol alternative - Hydrogen

An alternative would be hydrogen based fuel cells – based on the assumption hydrogen fuel can be produced using AC mains electricity through electrolysis of water.

Home based hydrogen production is rather uncommon. Though an example of small scale consumer market production unit is the HydroFILL made by Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies.

Read about Swiss made portable solar power based on army technology.




Back to the Alternative laptop power overview.

 Visit the website of SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG in Germany.
 

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