New Fuel Cell Tech May Help Laptop Batteries Last

from the phew dept

Some researchers in Japan on working on some new fuel cell technology that will allow laptop batteries to last ten times as long as they do now. Imagine the possibilities of being able to use a computer that isn’t plugged in for more than an hour or two.

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Comments on “New Fuel Cell Tech May Help Laptop Batteries Last”

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Ed says:


More than one laptop maker has had a recall due to some cases of laptop batteries catching fire. It seems like if the ingredients to a fuel cell are in there, the potential danger is higher. In fact, no matter what technology is eventually used, more energy-dense power sources will have a larger potential for nasty consequences in the event of a mishap. Imagine if the typical cell phone had the same potential energy as a big car battery. Dropping one into the tub could make a real mess. At some point I’d even be wary of holding a phone up to my head if it had been dropped on the ground. I hope that safety factors into future designs as power capacities go up.

Phillip Temple says:

Re: Seems safe to me

Fuel cells can use pretty much anything as an ‘ingredient’ (or fuel source). From hydrogen to propane, methanol to regular gasoline. Hydrogen, the purest and preferred source (no pesky carbon molecules to deal with) is not energy-dense at all which is why it needs to be stored highly compressed, which unforunately means a heavy metal cylinder to contain it restricting its use. I’m afraid your physics is off though. The fuel cell generates the electricity as it needs it, it’s not present as potential energy, hence dropping it in the tub would do you no harm. If you want to know more about how a fuel cell works, or have any questions about them, please email me directly ptemple[at]


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