Duffy Fuel Cell Boat Page 3
Fuel Cell Boat — By Capt. Bill Pike
— January 2004
Believe It or Not!
The source of the sodium borohydride that powered our fuel-cell test boat was borax, a substance commonly found in both the Earth’s crust and oceans. Presently, fossil fuel-powered manufacturing facilities create sodium borohydride from raw borax in small batches for bleaching paper in industrial papermaking operations—using the stuff to power fuel cells is a radically new application. Hence, production is currently low, and the price is high. Reportedly, the mixture of sodium borohydride and water (see photo above) we filled our Herreshoff’s 45-gallon fuel tank with cost approximately $50 per gallon—way more than we pay for gasoline at the pumps these days. However, Millennium Cell and U.S. Borax are working on clean, large-scale production methods they hope will significantly lower the price of sodium borohydride and replace fossil-fuel manufacturing methods with renewable energy resources like solar and hydropower. —B.P.
This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.