Sunday, September 18, 2005

 

Toshiba To Release Methanol Fueled Fuel Cell For MP3 Market

Posted by ben @ 10:21 PM | Permanent Link

Toshiba says that they will release a direct methanol fuel cell in 2007 that can power an iPod for an additional 2.5 days without requiring a methanol refill. The fuel cell will be shown at the CEATEC Japan 2005 trade show this October. Toshiba's fuel cell will produce 100-milliwatts and is similar in shape and size to a pack of gum, their 300-milliwatt version is the size of a pack of playing cards. Toshiba still doesn't know if they will design the fuel cell to allow methanol refills or if it will be disposable. This will depend on the findings of the International Electrotechnical Commission, which is reviewing a draft of safety standards based on international standardization specifications for micro fuel cells. I doubt that these products will ever be made available if the methanol cannot be refilled.



Refilling the Toshiba DMFC with methanol

Another thing that must be considered with these products: Most companies for portable electronics have their own battery design. I doubt very much that these companies will accommodate a fuel cell made by Toshiba in their electronics. Hopefully market demand will force these electronics companies to license out the best DMFC technology. Either way, I wouldn't expect these fuel cells to be mainstream for a couple of years, they will probably be held back by logistics even though the technology is available.

Toshiba's 100mW fuel cell is in the Guiness book of world records as the world's smallest fuel cell. Also interesting to note, Toshiba has also developed a Li-ion battery that is able to charge to 80% capacity in only 60s.


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