Toshiba's Fuel Cell Phone Charger Uses Liquid As Power

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News Posted: Fri, Oct 23 2009 11:45 PM
Standard batteries? That's old hat? The Touchstone charger? Even that'sso yesterday. Solar powered? Been there, done that. Toshiba's lookingto one-up everyone else in the cellphone energy game by introducing aDirect Methanol Fuel Source (DMFS) for mobile devices. You heard thatright--it's a fuel cell, for your cellphone. No, it's not the future,it's right now.

The product, which is being called the Dynario, is a clip-on chargingsolution that attaches to the back of a phone in place of the standardbattery. It promises to bring "almost instant refueling" and it keepsyour mobile charged even when an AC outlet is nowhere in sight. Thedevice requires a mix of methanol and ambient oxygen, and the chemicalreaction between the two in the fuel cell produces electricity.



Users simply open the cap, squirt in some of the liquid and re-cap it.Just like that, the fuel cell begins to power the phone. No extrabutton pressing is needed on the user's end. It takes around 20 secondsto fill the cell container completely, though there's no word on justhow long it'll keep the phone ringing. At least at first, it will onlybe released as a limited edition unit in Japan, with 3000 beingproduced in the near future for an undisclosed price.
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Shot not carrying fuel of any sort on me. The idea is interesting, but again this is not practical.

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AjayD replied on Sat, Oct 24 2009 9:01 PM

The practicality lies in the energy density of the fuel. If the fuel (methanol in this case) can provide more energy than batteries of a comparable size and weight, then it becomes a more practical alternative. The real advantage that I foresee would be if, for example, your laptop had a refillable fuel cell. The time to refill a fuel cell is a matter of seconds, opposed to the many minutes required to recharge a battery. Not to mention the fact that fuel can be brought along with you to places without electricity. I expect we will see future devices equipped with hybrid battery/fuel cell energy storage systems.

 

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ClemSnide replied on Sun, Oct 25 2009 5:23 AM

If the picture is accurate, I'm afraid that this will be too large for most users. But the idea of the fuel cell is an important one, and goes great with laptop power, where the cell can fit right in to the battery compartment. Pity that they'll likely only be produced for current and future devices; I'll not be using my TiBook off one any time soon.

Fortunately methanol (in appropriate quantities and containers) has been approved for air travel for a couple years now.


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3vi1 replied on Sun, Oct 25 2009 12:29 PM

From what I recall, you can take the fuel cells on the airplane, but you can't take any additional fuel with you.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Lev_Astov replied on Mon, Oct 26 2009 1:25 PM

This is so awesome! I've been wanting fuel cell tech to reach mainstream for years now. Casio was supposed to have battery replacement cells available in 2004, with functioning prototypes shown off in 2003. Someone must have greased some palms, though, since they never showed up. Let's hope Toshiba can get away with this one without attracting the major battery maker's evil gaze.

><((((">Lev Astov

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