CES - Panasonic shows laptop fuel cell

Panasonic is showing a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for laptop computers at CES in Las Vegas this week.

Matsushita Battery Industrial, a division of Japan's Panasonic, is showing a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for laptop computers at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

The fuel cell, a working model of which is on display powering a laptop PC, is the product of about five years of development work, said Tommy Ichinose, chief engineer with one of the company's technology development groups. The fuel cell creates electricity from a reaction between a methanol and water mixture and air.

Using 200 cubic centimeters of fuel and in conjunction with a standard laptop battery it can power a computer for about 20 hours, said Ichinose.

However there are still several hurdles to be overcome before it can be commercialized, he said. The first is that current regulations prohibit the carrying of methanol on board aircraft so DMFC-powered products couldn't be taken on planes. Clearance for that isn't expected until 2007.

Then there is cost. DMFCs use several expensive components including platinum and a membrane, across which the chemical reaction takes place. If any company were to commercialize a DMFC now it would likely cost more than the laptop it would power, said Ichinose.

Many electronics companies have already demonstrated prototypes of DMFCs and all face the same issues regarding regulations and cost. Toshiba and NEC were both bullish on the technology early and had promised commercial fuel cells would be ready by 2004 however they are still not on the market and not expected until at least next year.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?