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Toshiba develops tiny fuel cell
BBC News ^ | Thursday, 24 June, 2004

Posted on 06/25/2004 5:53:36 AM PDT by avg_freeper

A tiny prototype fuel cell the size of a thumb has been developed by Toshiba.

The Japanese electronics giant said the methanol fuel cell could power a gadgets such as a digital music player for 20 hours.

Fuel cells generate electrical power by catalysing substances such as hydrogen and methanol.

Toshiba hopes that by 2005, the fuel cells could be used in handheld electronic devices instead of lithium-ion batteries.

Size matters

Fuel cells have been touted as a green power source for the future as they produce electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water. Many companies are working on developing the technology that could replace conventional batteries.

The main obstacle has been making the cells small and inexpensive.

The prototype developed by Toshiba measures 22 millimetres by 45 millimetres (0.88 inches by 1.80 inches) and weighs 8.5 grams (0.29 ounces).

It works by mixing methanol with air and water to produce 100 milliwatts of electricity, which the company says is enough to power a MP3 player for about 20 hours on a single charge of methanol fuel.

Last year Toshiba unveiled a prototype fuel cell designed for future laptops, while rival NEC produced a notebook powered by a built-in fuel cell.

Toshiba expects its tiny fuel cell will go on sale in 2005.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Japan; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: battery; computer; digital; electronics; energy; fuelcell; techindex
There's a picture of the little doohicky at the linked source. Check it out.
1 posted on 06/25/2004 5:53:36 AM PDT by avg_freeper
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To: avg_freeper
...produce electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water....

Where does the water go? Will I have to wring out my laptop? New joke possibility: Are you happy to see me, or did you just use you laptop?.......

2 posted on 06/25/2004 6:02:40 AM PDT by Red Badger (Semper Fidelis.......To God, Corps and Country..........................)
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To: Red Badger
If this thing is fueled by methanol I wonder if it would take much to convert it to being alcohol powered? We could have a fully stocked bar in our break room at work.

For the computers of course,... wink, wink... nudge, nudge...

3 posted on 06/25/2004 6:07:45 AM PDT by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: avg_freeper

4 posted on 06/25/2004 6:08:18 AM PDT by bikepacker67
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To: Red Badger
Where does the water go?

Better question where does the Carbon go since Methanol is used?

Global warming alert.

5 posted on 06/25/2004 6:10:40 AM PDT by Mike Darancette (Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.)
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To: Red Badger

Does it have a tiny tailpipe too ?


6 posted on 06/25/2004 6:13:38 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (STAGMIRE !)
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To: Mike Darancette

Carbon is collected in tiny cartridges to be used by you xerox machine or laser printer......


7 posted on 06/25/2004 6:16:11 AM PDT by Red Badger (Semper Fidelis.......To God, Corps and Country..........................)
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To: avg_freeper

What's all that gunga din?


8 posted on 06/25/2004 6:17:31 AM PDT by Red Badger (Semper Fidelis.......To God, Corps and Country..........................)
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To: Red Badger
What's all that gunga din?

Sitting right next to Emperor Chin.

(I heard that song a long time ago, too)

9 posted on 06/25/2004 6:19:18 AM PDT by Lazamataz ("Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown" -- harpseal)
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To: avg_freeper

"Fuel cells have been touted as a green power source "

Touted green by politicians and journalists alike, who basically have zero technical education!

Although fuels cells are compact and have a high energy storage capacity, they are not " a green power source" when the whole picture is included for the extraction of the fuel itself. True the waist from the cell is not pollutant yet, often overlooked by the hype is the fact that hydrogen or what ever fuel is used must be prepared with another energy source, which for all particle purpose would be fossil fuel.

Hydrogen can be taken from water, but it would require more energy to do it , than what would be returned when used in the fuel cell, therefore it would be more green to just burn the fossil fuel directly, since less would be used for example comparing an automobile combustion engine to a fuel cell engine. However for small devices combustion engines are not practical, so this report has some merits, very exciting!

But getting past the hype, fuel cells are just part of the solution, what is still needed is a clean low cost energy source free from the dependency of terrorist nations, such as nuclear power!


10 posted on 06/25/2004 6:20:50 AM PDT by seastay
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Does it have a tiny tailpipe too ?

No, but it has a diaper

11 posted on 06/25/2004 6:22:33 AM PDT by khenrich
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

ping


12 posted on 06/25/2004 6:23:12 AM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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When those fuel cells become commonplace, many of you will still say it can't be done.


13 posted on 06/25/2004 6:23:58 AM PDT by Consort
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To: Red Badger
So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking.

So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one---big hitter, the Lama---long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga.

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consiousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

14 posted on 06/25/2004 6:25:47 AM PDT by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: Consort

Shopping for someone to knock that chip off your shoulder?

In this case it can and should be done. High energy density and rapid recharge trump all in portable power sources.

IHMO the only thing wrong with it is the fuel selection. It should be Methane rather than Methanol - fart powered cell phones, PDAs and MP3 players.


15 posted on 06/25/2004 6:42:25 AM PDT by Jack of all Trades (Nuke Global Warming!)
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To: Jack of all Trades
Shopping for someone to knock that chip off your shoulder?

What's your problem? Are you agreeing or disagreeing with me? Are you one of those I mentioned?

16 posted on 06/25/2004 6:48:50 AM PDT by Consort
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To: avg_freeper

I hope is controls the hydrogen leaks. The Libertains could get burnt listening to toons and smokin weed.


17 posted on 06/25/2004 6:50:57 AM PDT by bmwcyle (<a href="http://www.johnkerry.com/" target="_blank">miserable failure)
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To: avg_freeper

Reminds me of the days when I had a coal fired calculator. You had to shovel loads of coal in the back to get it to add 2+2.


18 posted on 06/25/2004 7:16:46 AM PDT by Conan the Librarian (I am a Librarian. I don't know anything....I just know where to look it up.)
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To: Consort

Guess I was right. You would probably lump me in with "one of those", but you'd be off the mark.

With that said, I think micro fuel cells have a lot of potential. I hope they pan out.


19 posted on 06/25/2004 7:40:18 AM PDT by Jack of all Trades (Nuke Global Warming!)
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To: seastay
...often overlooked by the hype is the fact that hydrogen or what ever fuel is used must be prepared with another energy source...

I felt the same way with the old technology that needed hydrogen. This new technology, "direct methanol fuel cell", uses methanol directly, there's no need to separate the hydrogen first using some other energy source. Apparently it uses platinum as a catalyst to achieve the same thing!! That's the part that is exciting.

I'm curious though what it's goint to cost (not mentioned in the article) since platinum ain't cheap - it's roughly twice the price of gold... and rising.

20 posted on 06/25/2004 7:51:51 AM PDT by aquila48
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To: Mike Darancette
Better question where does the Carbon go since Methanol is used?

It comes out as CO2 - something that gets downplayed of course. The greenies just can't seem to win - their beloved fuel cells produce "global warming" gases, windmills are an eyesore and kill birds, hydro dams up rivers... There just isn't any free lunch.

Here's a great reference on the direct methanol fuel cell chemical reaction.

21 posted on 06/25/2004 8:13:25 AM PDT by aquila48
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To: aquila48; Libertarianize the GOP; *tech_index

That Link is a great reference.

I didn't know there were so many different types of Fuel Cells.


22 posted on 06/25/2004 9:48:17 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: Jack of all Trades
Guess I was right.

You were wrong.

You would probably lump me in with "one of those", but you'd be off the mark.

Then what are you arguing about?

With that said, I think micro fuel cells have a lot of potential. I hope they pan out.

Good. That's all you had to say in the first place.

23 posted on 06/25/2004 9:52:50 AM PDT by Consort
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To: Consort

Glad to be of service.


24 posted on 06/25/2004 9:55:51 AM PDT by Jack of all Trades (Nuke Global Warming!)
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