Toshiba claims smallest fuel cell yet

Toshiba has made further progress developing a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for use in portable electronic devices, it said Thursday.

The Tokyo company has produced a prototype DMFC that can fit inside gadgets such as digital music players and power them for 20 hours on 2 cubic centimeters of methanol, said Junichi Nagaki a spokesman for Toshiba in Tokyo. It expects the DMFC to be ready for sale sometime in 2005, though the company did not indicate in which markets.

Many companies are researching fuel cell technology as a possible replacement for rechargeable or disposable batteries currently used to power almost all portable electronic devices. DMFCs typically work by mixing methanol with air and water to produce electrical power. The only fuel that is required is methanol and the only by-products are heat and water.

Fuel cells being developed for use in notebook computers will be able to power a machine for up to 10 hours on around 100 cubic centimeters of methanol, using a small pump to aid in the mixing of the methanol and water, and a fan to help dissipate heat. Because the use of a pump and fan can make the fuel cell too large to be practical in small devices such as digital music players, Toshiba developed a DMFC that doesn't require these two components, said Nagaki.

The result is the passive-type DMFC announced Thursday. It uses almost pure methanol and, according to Toshiba, outperforms previous fuel cells in terms of power output by a factor of five.

It measures 22 millimeters by 56 millimeters and is 4.5 millimeters thick except for the fuel tank area, which deepens to 9.1 millimeters and weighs 8.5 grams. The total output power is 100 milliwatts.

Before it puts the new fuel cell on sale, Toshiba said it expects to produce a larger device for notebook computers. The larger fuel cell should go on sale at the end of this year, said Nagaki.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

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.

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?