AGO Fuel Cells and the parent company A.G.O. Environmental Electronics Ltd are conducting privately-funded experimental research projects into applications for hydrogen fuel cells. Many of the projects are simply feasibility studies while others may lead to commercial development.
We are always looking for partners and interested parties regarding these development projects and welcome contacts and questions regarding these projects and others you may have.
July 20/2010- First successful test of the 2 KW Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Sailboat
First test run of the Horizon H2000 2 Kw hydrogen fuel cell in the 6 meter (20 ft.) hybrid drive sailboat. The electric motor (Minn Kota RT202/EM 2HP) is mounted on the cavitation plate of the old Evinrude gas outboard. The H2000 is ideally suited to power a 36 VDC battery bank power system. The system is easily installed with a few off the shelf parts and is very quite during operation. This is the third fuel cell system that we have used in the boat and I am very pleased and impressed. I have the best of both worlds, a totally environmental friendly unit and when needed the use of a gas based system at the flick of a switch.
For more information, see the accompanying video: YouTube Video of Outboard Motor System
June 20/2010- First successful test of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Heat Pump Home Heating System
The hydrogen fuel cell heat pump home heating system uses a Horizon 2kW fuel cell to power an air-circuit heat pump, with a specially built Kipoint inverter serving as the power conditioning subsystem.
For more information, see the accompanying video: YouTube Video of Home Heating Test
Powered via a hydrogen fuel cell. Electro-mechanical integration by A.G.O. and control systems by Microsec R & D Inc.
Jim Harrington - 2008 Ontario Premiers Award for technology - awarded in February 2009
Loyalist College Article - November 2008
Sail-World.com Article - November 2008
Pacific Yachting Magazine Article - June 2008
A simple conversion of 9.9 gas Honda to 8 to 15 hp electric. parts drawings manual for $150 US
As all testing is now completed, The experimental unit is available for $ 1,500 US, (email AGO Fuel Cells.
For the year 2010 A.G.O. will be working on fuel cell Research & Development projects covering two areas: the commercial recovery of methane hydride deposits and the development of an auxiliary home heating/hydrogen fuel generation system. See the PDF documents on the right for further information.
The auxiliary home heating/hydrogen fuel generation system will be set up in prototype form over the course of 2010. Initial testing into ventilation aspects of the system are being started and prototype construction should start in the spring.
A video of an early test is available.
New! Video of the Home Heating system test run:
Youtube Video of Home Heating Test
The proof-of-concept power system for the home heating project (and for our hydrogen refueling station proof-of-concept) in the image to the right combines a Horizon 2 kW fuel cell, Palcan metal hydride hydrogen storage bottles, a custom Kipoint inverter-charger and a Zahn DC-DC converter. The 2 kW fuel cell generates 36 VDC of electricity, which is matched to the inputs of the custom Kipoint inverter that produces 1800W at 110/220 VAC. The Zahn DC-DC converter is used to power the control electronics.
The methane hydride recovery system will be an initial study into the technology requirements and feasibility of seabed recovery of hydrogen and simultaneous sequestration of CO2 using electrolyzer and fuel cell technology. This project will require extensive industry and university partnerships which A.G.O. is currently soliciting.
There are a number of systems improvements that we plan to undertake for next season in the area of high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks, ultra-capacitors in place of batteries and electro-mechanical layout. Since we are now able to supply substantial amounts of power from 12 volts D.C. through to 240 volts 3 phase AC we are evaluating such applications as forced air heating, a heat pump system and a portable emergency water and power module for disaster applications.
This season's efforts have led to the testing of a 10HP electric outboard for small craft. The motor was designed by a University of Victoria Mechatronics course team of students and was built by A.G.O. to their specifications. It was later modified by A.G.O. for the final tests. See the test in the Gas to Electric 10 HP Honda video online.
We sailed to Goldstream in the fall of 2007, in the sloop "Jim D", which was assisted with a Horizon H300 fuel cell. After an evaluation of the trip, we estimated that the electric motor powering the boat needed to be in the range of 2 to 4 horsepower. As off the shelf solutions were not immediately evident, the plan to modify a Yamaha motor from gas to electric was conceived. Gas to Electric Outboard Demo Video. The design was based on available technologies that were easily combined and affordable. The first system was deployed in early June on Ian Soutar's 18-foot cabin cruiser, "Pepper Pot". It was on display with the sloop "Jim D" at the Tall Ship Festival in Victoria. The "Jim D" had been fitted with a Minn Kota, model RT202/EM, a 4 horsepower dual electric motor system capable of producing over 200 pounds of thrust. This was a 36 VDC, 98-amp unit that required an even larger fuel cell system than we had originally planned.
In an attempt to accelerate our development plan, we became involved with the Mechatronics program at the University of Victoria. A group of 5 fourth year mechanical and electrical engineering students undertook the development of a dual 1.2-kilowatt fuel cell system along with finalizing the Yamaha conversion kit. In mid August, a working prototype was ready for deployment. The resulting architecture was even better than we had expected, allowing the operation of up to 4 parallel fuel stacks by one master controller. This would allow for redundancy in the system and permit up to 4.8-kilowatts of power at a much reduced cost.
While the pair of 1.2-kilowatt fuel cells were being worked on at the University and using the B.C government carbon tax refund, the boat was outfitted with 35 watts of Canadian Tire solar panels. They provided sufficient power for local operations of the Jim D on a daily basis. During this period of testing, it was found that only one of the RT202/EM motors was required for the boat to reach a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour, the speed being limited by the 4-inch pitch of the propeller. It was also established that only 550 to 600 watts of power was required to maintain this speed for extended periods of time. As a result, the fuel cell system was trimmed back to a single Palcan PC5, 1.2-kilowatt fuel cell stack.
September and October has seen continued testing of the combination fuel cell/solar power system with very satisfactory results. My appreciation to Palcan for all of their technical assistance and to the Selkirk Station Kayak and Bike for supplying hydrogen this year.
In May of this year, I purchased 40 litres of gasoline for the sailboat and after some 150 miles and 5 months of use, I still have about 30 to 35 litres left. The gasoline is used as ballast to help keep the electric motor portion of the gas/ electric hybrid outboard motor under the surface of the water. The other benefit of using only one of the electric motors is that the weight reduction has made it easer to manually lift the outboard into its normal out of water storage position.
As a result of seeing the news stories about Canada's first fuel cell assisted sailboat, the Alumni Association of Loyalist College, Belleville Ontario has nominated me for this year's Ontario Premiers Award for Technology. I will also receive the "Best Innovation Award" from the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce at the Annual General Meeting, November 19, 2008. I wish to thank those involved for these honours.
Jim Harrington, President
The 2kw unit at work powering a cell tower 24/7.