Fuel Cells May Power Laptops Of The Future

Several electronics companies are investigating fuel cells as an alternative to existing nickel cadmium batteries and lithium ion batteries, which will inevitably hit a barrier when portable devices become more power-hungry. Fuel cells, just one of the alternative techniques under investigation, could create a long-lasting and cheap power source in a small package.

Fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen and a fuel such as hydrogen or methanol. The cells continue to produce electricity as long there is fuel. Hitachi, Toshiba, NEC and NTT DoCoMo have all announced plans to sell methanol-powered devices.

Hitachi and Tokai said they have created a prototype cartridge about the size of an AA battery that holds 50 cubic centimeters of methanol at a 20 percent concentration. It could power a PDA for six to eight hours, the companies said. They are planning to raise the concentration to 30 percent by the time mass production begins, which would increase cell life.

Read the rest at CNET.