Fuel cells now for mobile phones, too
Sony has revealed their new tiny fuel cell prototype at the Small Fuel Cells 2008 conference earlier this week. This baby is small enough to be used in mobile handsets, which is exactly what Sony was trying to achieve, and they plan to commercialize the system.
It could be a while before you can use your phone for months with just occasional refill of methanol though; there was talk about fuel cells taking over the laptop market for a while now, and we all know how that’s going so far. What’s more, this product is fresh out of the labs.
The specs do look impressive though: with just 10 mL of methanol, this fuel cell can keep a generic mobile phone showing a 1seg (Japan’s video broadcasting service) movie for 14 hours straight. Did I mention how tiny it actually is?
Here you can see what’s inside that little box (photos from TechOn):
For those who like to get technical, the fuel cell is coupled with an ordinary Li-polymer battery, and can squeeze out a 3 Watt output. It’s a direct methanol type cell (DMFC), meaning liquid methanol comes in, and water and carbon dioxide is produced in the reaction that generates electricity. The excess energy could be used to recharge the battery; everything controlled by the smart chip.