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

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

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.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?