The SFC Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Technology

How the SFC Direct Methanol Fuel Cell works


EFOY Fuel Cartridge

Waste heat + Water vapour + CO2


Eco-friendly technology

EFOY Fuel Cells are based on DMFC (direct methanol fuel cell) technology. They produce electricity from the fuel in the fuel cartridge (methanol), supplemented by oxygen from the air. Methanol is converted directly into electricity. In addition to electricity, only waste heat and water vapor with some carbon dioxide are produced.

The EFOY Fuel Cell charges the batteries fully automatically. The integrated charge controller permanently monitors the battery charge level. If necessary, the EFOY Fuel Cell is started automatically and switched off again when the battery is charged. As a result, you not only always have full energy reserves - your batteries also last considerably longer, as continuous charging protects them from harmful deep discharge. 230 V devices can also be operated via an inverter.

The direct methanol fuel cell

The Swiss pocket knife among sustainable energy generators

As early as 1839, Sir William Grove set the course for an environmentally friendly energy supply. He was light years ahead of his time. Unfortunately, it took another 180 years for this groundbreaking idea to be realized. His invention? A prototype of the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). Obviously, the world was not yet ready for a new form of energy source. No wonder, because the first direct methanol fuel cell did not stand a chance against the dynamo and combustion engine.

Today we know: Fuel Cell Technology plays a key role on the road to a greener future. SFC Energy has been accompanying and shaping the development of fuel cell technology since its foundation in 2000. With EFOY and EFOY Pro Fuel Cells, SFC Energy is one of the essential drivers of innovation in the industry. But how does the direct methanol fuel cell actually work?

In principle, its structure is similar to that of a battery. It also has an anode and cathode. They are separated by a membrane. By means of an electrochemical reaction, the direct methanol fuel cell converts the fuel, i.e. methanol, into electricity in combination with oxygen, producing only waste heat, water vapor and a small amount of carbon dioxide as waste products of the combustion process. The decisive advantages of the direct methanol fuel cell are already evident here. Conventional generation of electricity from chemical energy sources is achieved by combustion and utilization of the resulting hot gases. A heat engine drives a generator and thus makes the electricity usable. The direct methanol fuel cell eliminates this intermediate step. It generates energy without any detours. This makes it interesting for a whole range of applications. For example, in the stationary field of communication, for measuring stations and monitoring systems or for new mobility concepts.

Durability of the direct methanol fuel cell

Direct methanol fuel cells - like all fuel cells - work without moving parts. Compared to combustion engines or gas turbines, they are therefore not only particularly quiet, but also require less maintenance. Due to the lack of moving parts, there is no mechanical friction and therefore hardly any significant wear. This is a strong argument for industrial users who are interested in the technology or want to buy a direct methanol fuel cell. Low maintenance requirements reduce application downtimes and thus operating costs in the long term. Compared to conventional energy generators, it saves money.

Hybrid power supply for maximum efficiency

The fuel cell is a true all-rounder. Thanks to the clever hybrid principle, direct methanol fuel cells from SFC Energy can be easily combined with other power generators. For example with a solar panel. Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important. However, solar modules are dependent on constant sunshine. During periods of darkness, electricity generation is idle. The direct methanol fuel cell fills this gap. If the solar panel does not supply enough electricity due to bad weather, the direct methanol fuel cell switches on and bridges the supply.

Simple replacement of the fuel

Just as easy as the hybridization of the direct methanol fuel cell is, so is the replacement of the fuel. Methanol is a liquid alcohol. It is available in fuel cartridges of various filling sizes - so that users always get the right amount for them. The cartridges are safe and easy to take with you wherever you go. Replacing empty containers is just as smooth and easy. Specialist personnel are not required. Users can replace them themselves. This is different with Hydrogen fuel cells. In this case, only an expert may replace empty fuel tanks. The type of fuel is already the difference between direct methanol fuel cells and hydrogen fuel cells. With the EFOY Hydrogen Fuel Cell, SFC Energy offers all professional users a suitable solution for high performance requirements. EFOY Hydrogen Fuel Cells 2.5 cover power ranges up to 20 kW and can be used as emergency power generators in communication facilities or critical infrastructures. While the EFOY Hydrogen uses hydrogen as fuel, EFOY Pro and EFOY Direct Methanol Fuel Cells work with methanol.

Green energy at it´s best

The EFOY Hydrogen Fuel Cell

More powerful with zero emissions. The EFOY Hydrogen Fuel Cell 2.5 provides scalable, reliable, powerful and uninterrupted climate-neutral energy. With a power output from 2.5 to 50 kW it supplies power for higher power demands e.g. to secure mobile communications infrastructure, smart traffic applications or to provide back-up power for critical infrastructure.

About Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

Overview of our direct methanol fuel cells

EFOY Fuel Cells
and lithium battery for leisure activities

EFOY Fuel Cells have been developed for the leisure sector and ensure a fully automatic recharge of the battery, e.g. in a motorhome, on a boat or in a remote cabin. EFOY Hybrid Power, including fuel cell and lithium battery are a perfectly matched energy package.


EFOY Pro Fuel Cells for industrial applications

EFOY Pro Brennstoffzellen sind die idealen Stromerzeuger für alle Arten von industriellen Anwendungen. Die EFOY Pro wird eingesetzt für die Bordstromversorgung in Fahrzeugen, als netzferne und Notstromversorgung, z.B. für Überwachungssysteme und Messstationen und viele weitere Anwendungen.


SFC Fuel Cells
for tactical and professional applications

For the special requirements of military users and security applications, SFC Energy offers a special fuel cell portfolio as well as a coordinated power management systems.

SFC Public Security

Questions and answers about the direct methanol fuel cell

What are Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC)?

The DMFC fuel cell is a technological marvel that is lightweight, powerful and long-lasting. These fuel cells are based on the liquid fuel DMFC technology, which uses direct methanol as the fuel to create electricity.

Which areas of application are there for SFC Energy’s DMFC technology?

  • Fuel cells for mobile homes, marine applications and leisure

EFOY Fuel Cells are developed for the leisure sector and ensure a fully automatic battery recharge, for example, in a camper, on a boat, or in a cabin.

  • Fuel cells for industrial purposes

The EFOY Pro excels as an on-board power supply in cars and an off-grid power supply in a wide range of applications such as monitoring systems, measurement stations, oil and gas, and many more.

  • Fuel cells for defence and military

SFC fuel cells are incredibly lightweight. As a result, soldiers can reduce the number of batteries they need to carry and lengthen their deployment duration due to the weight and volume savings.

How is energy generated by direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs)?

  • Methanol and water react electrochemically (the methanol is oxidised) at the anode to form carbon dioxide, protons and electrons.
  • Protons are generated at the anode flow through the polymer electrolyte to the cathode, where they react with oxygen to produce water.
  • The electrons created at the anode carry the free energy change of the chemical reaction and travel through the external circuit, where they are used to generate electricity.

How are direct methanol fuel cells used in electric cars?

In electric vehicles, the direct methanol fuel cell functions as a range extender, for example. Thanks to fuel cell technology, electric cars can achieve greater ranges. This makes the direct methanol fuel cell a far more powerful and at the same time more environmentally friendly alternative.

What are the advantages of a direct methanol fuel cell compared to combustion engines or gas turbines?

Direct methanol fuel cells are more durable, more environmentally friendly and work without moving parts. As a result, they are not only particularly quiet compared to combustion engines or gas turbines, but also require less maintenance.

Is it complicated to change the fuel in a direct methanol fuel cell?

Replacing the fuel in direct methanol fuel cells is very simple, as they can simply be refueled with liquid methanol from fuel cartridges. No specialist personnel are required as the process works safely and smoothly.