Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Zero-emission fuel cell back-up power now available for RVs
Miami Herald, "with hundreds of thousands (you read that right) planned for production as early as 2015."
Right now, the numbers are very small, since the infrastructure does not support hydrogen yet. But fuel cells have proven themselves running forklifts at Walmart and Firestone, for example, because they are cost-effective, require no heavy battery packs, and have zero emissions--making them ideal for operating indoors.
But a German company, Smart Fuel Cells' EFOY, has been successful selling $4,000 to $6,000 portable fuel cell back-up power--they have sold 20,000 of the units, and the units have already logged a collective 8 million operating hours.They are ideal for large RVs, avoiding having to run the vehicle's engine--a huge waste of fuel--or a noisy, smelly generator to produce power when boondocking. And, since the fuel cells are quiet, there is no problem with having to go without 120-volt electricity during quiet hours.
The U.S. is the next market at the end of 2011, and you know we have a lot of RVs. The price seems high, but for expensive RVs, back-up power will just be one more available option.
The EFOY is also standard equipment as back-up power for federal troops in Germany, because it reduces on-the-move weight compared to diesel generators. And nearly all of them are eyeing the pending deployment of fuel-cell cars from major manufacturers as the next big market to get into.
These fuel cells could re-define boondocking for large rigs, and even for smaller rigs, if their continued success in other operations ramps up production and they are able to reduce manufacturing costs and drop the end price. With low operating cost and zero emissions it would make an ideal power source for RVers.
Check out Bob Difley's Boondocking and Snowbird Guide eBooks at RVbookstore.com