The sea trials of the world’s first sailing yacht equipped with a 1 kW fuel cell have begun. Prior to the fuel cell system’s official launch at METS in November 2007, Voller Energy has been testing a prototype of their innovative environmentally friendly fuel cell generator on-board the company’s Beneteau Oceanis 411, Emerald. The remote diagnostic capability of the Emerald fuel cell generator allows the team of designers and engineers to constantly monitor every aspect of the product’s on-board performance from the Voller HQ in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The sea trials are also being used to demonstrate Voller’s innovative technology to journalists.
Voller Energy claims that their fuel cell will revolutionise the way you sail. You can use as many gadgets as you like on board and you will never run out of power. Emerald has been fitted with an array of electronic systems to highlight the full capabilities of the generator. Voller’s 1 kW fuel cell generator works by automatically monitoring the battery voltage. When the battery voltage falls, it switches itself on and recharges the batteries. Once the batteries are fully charged the fuel cell switches itself off to conserve fuel.
Voller also claims that their fuel cell generator is safe and economical. Vibration, noise and practically maintenance free (you only need to change a filter once every 1000 hours), it also provides hot water and space heating. The Emerald Fuel Cell System emits only the same amount of carbon dioxide as a person breathes out in a day. It would need to run for 2000 years to emit the same amount of emissions as a typical diesel generator produces in one day. Easy to install, it fits into to the existing wiring in the boat and operates from readily available liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The Emerald Fuel Cell System, which will be roughly the same size as a conventional generator, fits comfortably in an aft locker.