Toshiba prototype media player powered by fuel cell

Toshiba showed off a prototype media player that runs on a direct methanol fuel cell at the Ceatec exhibition in Japan

Toshiba has unveiled a prototype version of its Gigabeat media player that's powered by a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) instead of a battery.

The prototype media player, on display at the Ceatec exhibition in Japan, can run for up to 10 hours on 10 milliliters of methanol, longer than would be possible using a conventional battery that would fit in the same space, said Fumio Ueno, a micro fuel-cell technology executive at Toshiba's Display Devices and Components Control Center.

DMFCs produce electricity from a reaction between methanol, water and air. Under development for several years, the commercialization of DMFCs has been hampered by regulations that prevented them from being carried on airplanes and high costs of the components used to make the fuel cell.

Earlier this year, airline regulations changed, and DMFCs are now permitted onboard airlines provided that the amount of fuel carried is within the allowed limit of 100 ml of liquid per container.

Besides demonstrating the ability to put a DMFC inside a small device, Toshiba's prototype media player solves the problem of spillage when refueling, Ueno said.

A clear plastic methanol cartridge connects to a refueling port in the base of the media player. Once the connection has been made, the user presses a button on the cartridge, releasing methanol into the device's reservoir. When the reservoir has been filled, the user releases the button on the cartridge. Carbon dioxide produced by the fuel cell then pushes any methanol left between the reservoir and cartridge back inside the cartridge, he said.

Toshiba is working on a range of devices powered by DMFC and hopes to start introducing them within one to two years, Ueno said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?