Toshiba's first fuel cell coming in a few months

Toshiba is close to launching its first commercial device based on a direct methanol fuel cell that promises fast recharging for portable electronics products.

A direct-methanol fuel-cell (DMFC) mobile phone

A direct-methanol fuel-cell (DMFC) mobile phone

Toshiba is close to launching its first commercial direct-methanol fuel-cell device, which promises a faster way to recharge portable electronics products.

The company said Monday that the DMFC will be launched during its current financial year, which ends March 31, 2009. Toshiba won't say yet what the product will be, although it offered a possible clue last week at the Ceatec show in Japan, where it showed a mobile phone based on a fuel cell.

DMFCs produce electricity from a reaction between methanol, water and air. The only byproducts are a small amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide, so DMFCs are often seen as a greener source of energy than traditional batteries. Another advantage is that they can be replenished with a new cartridge of methanol in seconds.

Toshiba and its competitors, including Sharp, NEC, Hitachi, Sanyo, Fujitsu and Canon, have all shown or disclosed prototype fuel-cell work in the past few years, but nothing has yet come to market.

In the product shown at Ceatec, the fuel cell had been integrated into the clamshell phone under the keypad and made the handset a little thicker, though not considerably. While the phone was a prototype, the build quality was close to what you might expect from a commercial product.

In addition to mobile phones, companies have also talked about DMFC rechargers that can top up the battery of a portable device when it's not in range of a power socket. Such devices are seen as stepping stones on the way to products directly powered by fuel cells.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags fuelcellsdmfc

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.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

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

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

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.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?