Frequently Asked Questions – Siqens Fuel Cell and Methanol

Siqens Fuel Cell

What is a fuel cell?

Fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction in which oxygen and hydrogen combine to form water. In the fuel cell reaction, the chemical energy of the fuel is directly converted into electrical energy and heat. This leads to a significantly higher efficiency of energy conversion than with combustion engines without producing harmful exhaust gases.

How does the Siqens Ecoport 800 fuel cell work?

The Ecoport fuel cell is based on an innovative concept of four internal cycles. The system first converts a methanol-water mixture into hydrogen. The fuel cell then converts the hydrogen into electricity. The resulting water is fed back into the conversion process from methanol to hydrogen. The additional heat cycle reduces fuel consumption and increases efficiency. The principle, called FourCycleTec, improves the efficiency and service life as well as reducing purchasing and operating costs.

The Siqens fuel cell serves as a battery charger. The electricity generated flows into a connected battery. From here, the actual applications are supplied.

Where can I use the system? Where is it already in operation?

Siqen’s products are particularly suitable for off-grid applications – as a stand-alone power source, emergency power supply and in combination with solar and wind power. Anywhere with no access to the power grid.

Currently, Ecoport/EcoCabinet are in use:

  • With surveillance cameras at a motorway access in Bavaria.
  • With measurement technology for overhead power lines in Norway.
  • As a backup battery chargers in combination with solar for a Tiny House in Bavaria.

Siqen’s products are used in industry, mobility, off-grid house energy and rural electrification. Wherever there is no power supply available, the Ecoport can supply low-cost, low-maintenance and silent energy. For electric mobility, we are aiming for a hybrid solution as a range extender for commercial vehicles.

The EcoCabinet is a complete energy solution. Once installed onsite, the device can be used to power devices and applications immediately. It is particularly suitable for systems up to a peak load of 5 kW and 500 W continuous output.

What do I need to operate an Ecoport?

The Ecoport 800 refers to the fuel cell system. In addition, a battery and methanol are required. All the other components are included in the delivery. The Ecoport 800 draws methanol for the electrochemical process from a canister, generates electricity and charges the connected battery. The applications, for example measurement technology or video cameras, then access the energy stored in the battery. Specialist knowledge is required to set up the system.

What is the efficiency of the Ecoport 800?

The efficiency is more than 35%.

Under which environmental conditions can I operate the Ecoport?

The Ecoport works perfectly at ambient temperatures from -20°C to +50°C. Our products can operate in almost all climate zones.

How much methanol does the Ecoport 800 consume?

Depending on the application and ambient conditions, we assume a consumption of approx. 0.5 – 0.7 l/kWh.

Which batteries can I charge?

These battery types can be connected and charged: Lithium, lead acid, lead gel and AGM.

What are the options for remote monitoring?

Web-based remote monitoring with the help of a modem provides current data on methanol level, battery status, system performance, start-stop cycles and the history of all important measurement data.

The control panel with touch screen is available on site to quickly and conveniently view the status of the fuel cell. Battery type, switch-on threshold, QE charge methanol canister and other parameters can be defined here.

What are the technical specifications of the Ecoport/EcoCabinet?

The technical data can be found in the product data sheets.

Siqens EcoCabinet Product Sheet

Siqens Ecoport 800 Product Sheet

What is the difference between Ecoport 800 and EcoCabinet?

The Ecoport 800 refers to the fuel cell system. A battery and methanol are also required.

The EcoCabinet connects all upper elements (fuel cell, battery, methanol, electrical connections) in a robust, weatherproof switch cabinet. PlugAndPlay is the motto here. The EcoCabinet is delivered to the construction site fully assembled and can be put into operation very easily.

When does the system need to be serviced?

The Ecoport is very low-maintenance. The standard maintenance intervals are 3,000 hours. In dusty environments an occasional filter change is necessary.

Are there any operational dangers from the fuel cell?

No. The system is very safe. The methanol is not under pressure when used in  the Ecoport. The quantities of hydrogen in the system are very low.

I have further questions or would like to purchase a fuel cell from Siqens. What do I do now?

Call us (++49 89 452 44 63-0). Send us an email: sales@siqens.de. Our Customer Solutions Team is there for you and provides advice.

Methanol – Fuel for the Future

Why did Siqens choose methanol as its hydrogen carrier?

The energy density. Methanol has an energy density of 4.4 kWh/l. As a liquid fuel, methanol can be easily transported to the place of use. Methanol is available worldwide and can also be produced from renewable sources such as CO2 or biogas.

Which methanol can I use for the Ecoport 800?

The Ecoport uses technical standard methanol – 100% methanol, no pre-mix. A high degree of purity, as with other fuel cells, is not needed. This not only reduces costs per litre, but also simplifies procurement.

How do I store the methanol?

Methanol is stored in plastic cartridges/canisters. If handled properly, methanol does not require any special installations such as leak protection. It is sufficient that the containers are closed.

How do I replace the methanol?

Siqens has put together its own extraction system from low-cost components and delivers them with the fuel cell. Manual filling of the cartridges is therefore not necessary. Only the removal system has to be plugged from one cartridge into the other. This means that you as the user do not come into contact with the fuel. The empty cartridge is closed and disposed of properly.

How do I transport the methanol?

As a liquid fuel, methanol is easy to transport. Industrial standard containers such as cartridges, canisters and barrels are used for transport and storage. The ADR must be observed. Up to 1,000 litres of QE Charge Methanol cartridges can be transported without major problems.

Where do I get the methanol from?

In Germany you can only buy methanol from the chemicals trade or directly from the manufacturer. DIY stores do not sell methanol. Methanol in the 25 l QE Charge can be purchased from Siqens. You can find more information in the QE Charge product sheet.

Is methanol toxic?

Methanol is a dangerous good. Just like petrol and diesel. In contrast to these, methanol is neither water nor soil hazardous. Vapours should be inhaled, liquids swallowed and eye and skin contact should be avoided at all costs. In these cases, medical assistance and observance of the safety instructions are important. More information can be found in the QE CHARGE safety sheet.